Copain’s Daybreak White Wine: It’s All in the Blend

I am always impressed when a 100% varietal wine shines, but I am equally impressed by the art of blending grape varieties. Skilled winemakers know just how to combine grape varieties to fill in missing spaces, round out flavors and add complexity to a wine without losing the identity of each grape variety. Copain’s winemaker, Ryan Zepaltas, demonstrates that skill with Daybreak. We received this wine as a tasting sample.

Photo of a bottle of 2023 Copain Daybreak White Wine, Sonoma County on a table with garden in the background
2023 Copain Daybreak White Wine, Sonoma County

2023 Copain Daybreak White Wine, Sonoma Countypale yellow with generous aromas of honeysuckle, ripe melons and citrus zest. Complex flavors include pineapple, guava, ripe melons, orange blossoms and honeysuckle with good acidity and a bit of roundness. The finish is clean and very long. 12.7% abv. SRP $38

This wine brilliantly makes the case for blending. 37% Malvasia Bianca, 29% White Riesling, 13% Gewürztraminer, 9% Chenin Blanc, 8% Viognier and 4% Chardonnay combine harmoniously to create complex aromas and flavors. The first grape variety I smelled and tasted in this wine was the Gewürztraminer and then the Malvasia Bianca. I’m notoriously unskilled at identifying grape varieties blinded, so my being able to identify two of the six grape varieties in this blend speaks to skilled winemaking by Ryan Zepaltas — the flavors in this wine are not muddled, they are bright and defined. Just delicious.

Copain was established by winemaker Wells Guthrie and Kevin McQuown in 1999 and became know for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah. Copain Wines was purchased by Jackson Family Wines in 2016, but the emphasis remains on varietal wines. Whenever a small winery is purchased be a bigger entity I can’t help but wonder if the charm of that small winery will be lost. But in the case of Jackson Family Wines (JFW), they bring a whole lot of commitment to sustainability and climate action. Their Rooted For Good initiative includes five facets: social responsibility, climate action, land conservation and farming, water management and global leadership through action. And Jackson Family Wines is a founding member of International Wineries for Climate Action.

Another thing I appreciate is the ingredient label on the back of the wine bottle. Ingredients: Grapes, SO2, Tartaric Acid. Nothing to hide here.

Thanks to Jackson Family Wines for organizing our tasting.

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