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Flavor Differences At Copper Cane Vineyards

Image Source: Zoom Team / Shutterstock

A few years back, our fascination with wine mostly revolved around personal preference – whether we liked white or rosé wine, we simply enjoyed it, as we did with red wine. It was straightforward and we never needed to explain our choice – it mainly came down to taste and appearance. There were no deep philosophical connections – we did not associate taste with anything beyond personal flavor and aftertaste. But now? We have made significant progress in a short span of time.

Recently, we were presented with three bottles of wine that were remarkably distinct. We decided to share them with our weekend group of neighbors – all of whom were scholars. We anticipated that the neighbors would have unique perceptions, and possibly different taste experiences, with regards to the nuanced flavors of these three wines, all originating from the Copper Cane Vineyards, spanning from central California to the northern regions of Oregon.

The initial bottle was the Elouan Chardonnay, a light-yellow wine, whose flavors were notably distinct from other premium Chardonnays. Instead of the usual clover honey, pineapple/Asian Pear taste, a subtle mineral undertone was the first sensation on our palates, stimulating our senses and perhaps even our memory. We were immediately reminded of another wine from the Alto Douro region in Portugal, known as Schist. Unlike the Vinho Verde Portuguese Wine Estate varietals, these wines originated from higher elevations in the Tarouca area. Similar to those wines, this Elouan 2021 had a slightly tangy yet light wildness, evocative of freshly picked Winesap apples with a hint of ripe Bosc Pear.

It possessed a unique quality. When we inquired about its terroir, assuming it differed from others, we discovered it indeed did —hailing from the western coastal regions of Oregon, not from Napa, Sonoma, or the central coastal areas in California, often located beyond the initial set of hills. With Elouan, we could almost discern the essence of the Oregon coast, where the vibrant Chard grapes flourished. There was a poetic element to this Chard that distinguished it from the others we had sampled. This was further accentuated by a remark from one of our neighbors, a Ph.D. Entomologist, who perceived a subtle acidity and compared it to the slightly acidic taste of insect wings. It was an unexpected yet intriguing observation!

The subsequent offering was a meticulously packaged Pinot Noir named Belle Glos, adorned with a red wax seal. The grapes were cultivated in the Clark & Telephone Vineyard, located near the intersection of Clark Avenue and Telephone Road in the Santa Maria Valley. Situated in a unique area cooled by oceanic winds and fog from the nearby Santa Maria River channel, the terroir of the Santa Maria Valley in central California fostered the growth of these grapes. Interestingly, the vineyard was previously a dairy farm, likely well-fertilized yet in moderation, making it an ideal location for Pinot Noir grapes. Our encounter with Pinot Noirs in New Zealand, along the Otago Wine Road, resonated with the exquisite quality of this Belle Glos. The wine embodied the classic characteristics of Pinots: red and black currant, chokecherry, and blueberry notes, with a touch of cold cranberry. We were informed that these Pinot grapes underwent de-stemming, without crushing, and the skins were cold-soaked for a fortnight before extraction.

Our group unanimously appreciated this wine, particularly admiring the red wax seal on the bottle. They detected nuances that eluded us. The Ph.D. Virologist claimed to discern the tangy oakiness from the barrel and the distinguishable flavors of black currant and black raspberry. The group even believed they could savor the essence of the fruity skins, a notion we found somewhat implausible, albeit poetic.

To conclude the evening, we savored a red varietal from Threadcount originating from the Napa Valley Quilt Vineyard. Over a brief span, this wine had gained renown and prestige, evolving into a luxury wine. This particular varietal was exceptional. Uniquely different from a Pinot or a Cabernet, it possessed its own identity – a deep crimson hue with a distinct dark fruit undertone including flavors of Mission Fig, boysenberry, and ripe elderberry. Despite its tangy finish, this red wine left a lasting memory due to its harmonious blend of flavors. Its terroirs were either in Sonoma County or Lodi, situated in the northern precinct of California’s Central Valley region. Lodi’s wine-producing areas thrive in warm days, cool breezes, and low humidity. The vineyards blend sandy loam and granite-based soils, defining a unique terroir for cultivating more than a hundred grape varietals in the region.

Our neighborhood gathering delved into the dominant flavor profiles of the Threadcount wine. The Environmental Arborist insisted on detecting a ripe elderberry essence, while the Entomologist was adamant about a dominant purple raspberry note. The one point of consensus among them was the remarkable balance exhibited by each wine. Despite originating from distinct terroirs – Elouan Chard from the Oregon coast, Belle Glos Pinot from the Santa Maria River valley in central California, and Threadcount from Lodi and Sonoma – each wine bore unique soil characteristics influenced by varying moisture levels, agricultural practices, and fertilization methods. The previous cultivation or fallowing of the land also wielded a substantial influence over what flourishes, blossoms, and eventually finds its way into the bottle.

As we delved into the wines produced at Copper Cane Vineyards, our appreciation deepened as we unveiled the diverse terroirs of these regions – understanding how the soil and climate nuances shape the distinctive identities of the wines from Copper Cane Vineyard.

Image Source: Zoom Team / Shutterstock

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