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Not too many years ago, our interests in wine dealt usually with preference – if we liked white or rose wine, we just liked it, the same with red.  It was not difficult, and we never had to justify preference – it was mostly associated with taste and look. We do not remember any philosophical associations – we did not relate taste to anything other than mouth preference and finish.  But now? We have come a long way in a short time. 

Recently, we received three bottles of wine that were quite unique. We decided to share them with our Saturday neighborhood group – all of whom were academic professionals. We thought the neighbors would have a very different take, maybe taste also, as to the nuanced tastes of these three wines, all from the Copper Cane Vineyards, came from central California to the upper western coasts of Oregon.


The first was Elouan Chardonnay, a pale light-yellow wine, whose tastes were, to us, very different from other high-end Chards. Instead of a clover honey, pineapple/Asian Pear taste, a moderately strong mineral-y sub-taste was the first to attack our tongues, then our frontal lobes, and probably our hippocampus also. Our taste memory was immediately re-focused on where we tasted this before and what it was called — we remembered: it was called Schist, and it was from wines in the Alto Douro in Portugal. These wines were not of the Vinho Verde Portuguese Wine Estate varietals, but of wines from a higher altitude, in the Tarouca area. Like those, this Elouan 2021 was slightly tart, but had a lightness and a wildness, reminiscent of newly picked Winesap apples, with some slight hint of ripe Bosc Pear. It was unique. When we asked about its terroir, assuming it was different from others, it was —from the upper western coastal areas of Oregon, not from Napa or Sonoma, or the central semi-coastal areas in California, often over the first set of hills.  In a sense as regards Elouan, we could almost taste the Oregon coast, from which the lively Chard grapes were born and raised. There was also a degree of poetry to this Chard that made it different from others we had tried. It was enhanced by a comment made by one of our neighbors, a Ph.D Entomologist, who tasted it and said it had a certain acidity, very slight, and all he could think of was the sweet, though slightly acid taste of insect wings. We looked at him in surprise, where he then commented, “They taste good!”  

Susan Kime

Our next sample was a beautifully bottled, red wax-topped Pinot Noir called Belle Glos. The grapes are grown in the Clark & Telephone Vineyard, located near the corner of Clark Avenue and Telephone Road in the Santa Maria Valley. It is an unusual area, cooled by ocean wind and fog that moves along a channel of the Santa Maria River. The terroir is of the Santa Maria Valley, in central California.  Interestingly, the vineyard was once a dairy farm, no doubt well-fertilized but not too much–- thus making it a prime area for Pinot Noir grapes. The story of Pinot Noirs came from our experience in New Zealand, along the Otago Wine Road, where great Pinots are born.  This Belle Glos was as exceptional as any New Zealand Pinot. We could taste what we usually did in Pinots: red and black currant, chokecherry, and blueberry, but there were hints of cold cranberry also.  We were then told that these Pinot grapes were de-stemmed, not crushed, and the skins cold-soaked for two weeks before the extraction. 

All our group liked this wine, and especially liked the red wax top wine presentation. They also tasted differences that we were not able to. The Ph.D Virologist thought he could taste the tart oakiness of the barrel, and the combined, decisive, identifiable black currant and black raspberry tastes. The group also felt they could taste the fruity skins, but we said that was highly improbable, though very poetic.

Susan Kime

We rounded out the evening with a red varietal from Threadcount from the Napa Valley Quilt Vineyard. In a few years, this wine became well-known, well-respected and is now considered a luxury wine, even though it has been in existence a short time. This varietal is an exceptional wine. Not exactly a Pinot, or a Cab, it has its own identity – deep crimson, yes, but with an identifiable darker fruit mouthfeel -– combining, to us, Mission Fig, boysenberry, and ripe elderberry. Though it was a red wine, with a tangy finish, it was memorable due to its combined flavors. Its terroirs are either in Sonoma County, or in Lodi, in the northern part of California’s Central Valley area. Lodi’s wine-growing regions thrive in warm days, cool breezes, and low humidity.  Lodi’s land for winegrowing combines sandy loam and granite-based soils, defining a unique terroir for the growth of more than 100 grape varietals in the region.

Our neighborhood group began to discuss the dominant taste of the Threadcount wine.  The Environmental Arborist was sure he tasted that ripe elderberry domination, but the Entomologist was sure that purple raspberry was dominant.  The one thing they all agreed on, thankfully, was how well-balanced they all were. Each wine was borne of a different terroir, Elouan Chard was from the western coasts of Oregon, Belle Glos Pinot was from the Santa Maria River valley area in central California, and Threadcount’s was from both Lodi and Sonoma. Yet, each had different soil tastes, borne of different moisture levels, different farming techniques and different fertilization. Who or what was farmed or left fallow before also had a substantial influence on what grows, blooms, and is finally bottled.

In terms of the wines produced at Copper Cane Vineyards, our educations were enhanced by learning about the various terroirs of these areas– how the soils and climates help define the unique natures of the Copper Cane Vineyard wine identities. 



Belle Glos Pinot Noir 

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