TN: 2011 Copain Hawks Butte [and 2011 Copain Halcon]

My first of the 2011 Copains. I think this is my first 2011 California syrah. I’ve consumed quite a bit of the 2011 Northern Rhones, tasting as a I buy, and must say, 2011 syrah in Northern Rhone shows quite nicely.

Not too sure about this Copain SVD. Pretty translucent red in color. Nose is a bit medicinal, green, hints of peppermint and menthol. Lean, pure fruit, but as expected, exceedingly young. My issue is that it is not showing any hints of other old world syrah characteristics from a quality vintage. No meat, iodine, olives, saline, game. Just clean, crisp fruit. A nice wine, not a profound wine or even deep wine. I’ve been drinking Copain SVDs since the 2004 vintage. This may be the simplest SVD syrah that I have had from Copain.

In all fairness, this is a brand spanking new release and I am trying on pop and pour.

On glass three. Not much change.

(86 pts)

It was a very difficult, cold year, which may be what you’re tasting.

I can understand your reaction. Tasted it at the Copain pickup party last weekend, my notes read “cool, very pretty, elegant, medium dark fruit, dried cherry, attractive tartness, moderate tannins, quite nice, though definitely a lighter year.” Yes, a difficult year, but I can appreciate the effort put in by grower and winemaker, and think they did some pretty nice work given the season. This is definitely a wine for someone looking for a more elegant style :slight_smile:

I need to get on board and get a note into CT, too. Alf, thanks for getting things started.

Now I’m pretty intrigued to try the Copain Halcon. Love the higher elevation and rocky soils, but in a cold vintage, sounds like that could be problematic. I heard positive words about the Halcon Alturas, so perhaps the Copain version will shine.

Oops! I mis-read and responded for Halcon, not Hawks. Too much wine over a long birthday weekend for my wife :wink: Having followed Hawks from the first vintage, the 2011 Hawks is definitely an outlier. Has the weight of a medium body Pinot (if that), though I did like the deep dried cherry flavors and the good acidity. In a way, this is what wine is all about: take what the vintage delivers, and find a way to make something good. Otherwise we would all be drinking some mass blend that is concocted every year to taste the same [cheers.gif]

I take an entirely consumer-oriented view of this, and yes, have to admit that it is rather selfish, but it is my money. Vagaries in vintages is precisely why I rarely buy every year from my favorite wineries or even join any lists. Ridge is about as close as I get to buying every year, but I cannot even recall a mediocre vintage for Ridge. Copain is my only list, so clearly this is one grower that I am committed to sustaining. Their hits are so good that I guess I am wiling to accept some misses every now and then. For most wineries, I am only willing to plunk down hard-earned cash when the product is very good to excellent. I like distinctions between vintages, but not when the quality falls below “very good” or there isn’t a decent QPR involved.

Robert, wasn’t suggesting we have to just buy everything in every vintage, blindly :wink: I certainly tailor my buying, even from producers I buy from regularly, based on vintage, how I perceive different wines in different years, etc. There is way more wine available to me than I can buy, so it only makes sense to do that.

Alf, I have to differ with you on this wine. I opened my bottle y/day and am enjoying it again tonight. Your note above talks about the wine missing some of the qualities that make for the syrah you like to drink, and I too seek the same kinds of wines.

This vintage of Hawks Butte is not going to throw the color and depth of say the 2007, but my bottle shows plenty of black pepper, some shadings of olive and meat. Overall, a bit softer and more middle weight, to Alan’s remark above, but still very good in what was a hard vintage.

I need to get the cork out of the 2011 Halcon this week and see how that wine shows. We’ll have to wait on the Baker and Brosseau, as those are not released yet. Anyway, I do appreciate you starting this thread and posting your perspective, as it got me to open one of these. Thanks for the discussion, buddy.

  • 2011 Copain Syrah Hawks Butte Vineyard - USA, California, North Coast, Yorkville Highlands (4/20/2014)
    With the wild card of the 2011 vintage, not sure what would be under the cork and having not visited the winery in 2013 to taste the 2011s, no real backdrop for what to expect from the syrahs. I took 3 of these in my recent order, as I buy HB every year, regardless of vintage. Support in my view is not vintage dependent and if you believe in a winery, in what they do, you go along with them, as a partnership. As to this wine, of all the 2011 CA syrahs I have tasted so far, this one strikes me with the amount of black pepper in the aromatic. It’s as if the winery freshly ground the peppercorns right into the wine, it’s that striking. The fruit? It’s on the softer side, with a good mix of juicy black raspberry and blackberry. Inside of the fruit, there are dollops of cooked meat, black licorice and pepper, light olive and bright acidity. I recently had the 2012 Wind Gap Nellesen syrah, and it too had some similar features. These wines show savory qualities, no wood and no sweet fruit. Drink window? This wine drinks fine now and there is acidity so I don’t see a rush but it won’t live like the 2007, for example, so I’d say now through 2017.

Posted from CellarTracker

I will put the Halcon forward in the line-up as well. I’m a huge fan of this vineyard, and Copain typically turns out a zinger.

Drinking a 2011 Clape Vin de Amis right now, which for all of $20-$25, slaughters about 98% of stuff in its price range and makes the Copain HB 2011 drink like a light Pinot! Amazing how good this stuff is, and just last year, I thought it was below the quality of 09 and 10. I’m really digging the 2011 Northern Rhones right now, which perhaps because of the less ripeness to the fruit and heft to the palate, are actually showing (at least at this young stage) more archetype characteristics of French syrah.

I’ll drink a 2011 Halcon this week if you want to tee one up.

Done! Looking forward to it!

And I’ll drink a 2011 Halcon Alturas to contribute :slight_smile:

We ought to rename this thread “drink a Yorkville Highlands and report back”.

2011 is a kookie year but there are some cool wines to taste and study.

I’ll get the '11 Copain Halcon tomorrow, to go with Duck, I mean watching the Ducks play the Stars.

2011 Halcon Vineyards Syrah Alturas - USA, California, North Coast, Yorkville Highlands (4/22/2014)
Dark, not quite opaque garnet, medium-full body, shows the cool vintage, with more red fruit than black, dark plum, even raspberry, reserved and brooding, almost a floral and iron note that I’d expect more in a Barolo, with strong acidity, some moderately grippy tannins, and a bit of tartness on the finish. This note after a couple hours of hour, will be interesting to check back after 24 hours.

Next evening: if anything seems a little darker, still brooding and reticent, but has also rounded out a little, more full bodied and clearly syrah-like. Beautiful deep, dark flavors, a streak of violet and granite minerality, finishing with mouthwatering acidity. A fabulous syrah from a difficult place in a difficult vintage, what a success. This is a traditional Rhone lover’s wine, give it several hours at least in the decanter. (92 pts.)

Frankie, Alan . . . Just popped the 2011 Copain Halcon.

Me likey!

You popping tonight?

Mea culpa. The other night, Mr Nordhoff came over and showed up with his new 2012 Riverain syrah so I left the Copain Halcon in the cellar. Won’t be able to drink wine tonight but I will tomorrow and will open up the Halcon this weekend. Se prometo!

Go ahead an write your note and let’s see what you gots!

Gorgeous Florida Spring day, cool outside, watching the kids wake-boarding on the lake. Just about every blossom is out, very floral evening. Pretty mountain fruit nose on the wine, cold wet stones, smoke, camphor, creosote. Palate is a bit raw, jagged, with dry fruits struggling with chewy tannins and a streak of green. Clearly needs some aeration and maturing, but exhibiting far greater depth of materials, and more masculinity, than the Hawks Butte. Good stuff, not great, but more promise.

Blind I would have called this Cosme’s St. Joseph, which always throw a notable amount of creosote.

Will post again later on second glass.

Alf, how was the second glass?

I’ll open mine tonight. I was treated to Ducks playoff tickets last night so no wine allowed in the stadium.