Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Copain's Eaglepoint Ranch Syrah Does it Again

Nine months ago, I wrote a blog post titled “Another Reason I Love Mendocino Syrah,” the reason being a 2003 Eaglepoint Ranch syrah from Copain. Well, I just finished off a bottle of the 2004 Copain syrah Eaglepoint Ranch, and I guess I have yet another reason (as if I needed one) to love Mendocino syrah.

Copain no longer bottles a Eaglepoint Ranch-designated syrah; it appears the last vintage was 2007. The vineyard sits on nearly three square miles in the Ukiah Valley. About 1,800 feet in elevation, the soils are a mix of decomposed sandstone and loam.

The elevation, the soil, the vineyard management and the winemaking combine to make Copain’s Eaglepoint Ranch syrahs a bold, age-worthy wine that pays serious homage to syrahs of the Northern Rhone Valley.

Here are my notes on the 2004 Copain Syrah Eaglepoint Ranch (California, North Coast, Mendocino County). 

Deep purple color with a bit of ruby and auburn around the edges. The first thing I notice when I start swirling and sniffing is the savory and meaty aromas. They’re just wonderful, and they combine with notes of broth and bay leaf. But there’s also dried berry, cassis and lavender aromas. After a few hours it starts to show some roasted plum and coffee aromas. Basically, we’re dealing with seriously complex and nuanced aromas.

Silky tannins pave the way, and the dried berry, red plum and dusty cherry flavors are perfectly intertwined with beef broth, white pepper and a briny, olive oil flavor. For me, this wine combines the complex earthy flavors and the freshness of a Northern Rhone syrah, but there’s enough of that rich, dark Mendocino berry fruit that I love. Hints of soy and olive linger on the finish. With time, more bacon fat and meat drippings came out, along with dark roasted coffee. A ridiculously complex syrah that could please a lot of (open-minded) Old World palates. It’s in a very nice spot right now, and it has the stuffing to go for another few years.

93 points IJB


  1. Fascinating to read your notes, and we applaud your letting the open bottle air a bit. Our EPR Syrah 2011 is in barrel now,and so too, the 2012. We hope this offers something to look forward to. The site, as you described, is seriously awesome.

    1. Thanks for the comments. I think Copain stopped bottling a single-vineyard Eaglepoint Ranch syrah. I haven't heard of Carica, but if you're doing an ERP syrah, I'll have to investigate. Cheers!