This is based on a winery supplied sample.



Elyse Winery was started in 1987 by Ray and his wife Nancy when they crushed 4.5 tons of Zinfandel from the Morisoli Vineyard in Rutherford to craft 286 cases of their first wine.  While the portfolio has grown over the last 25 years, the focus remains on creating vineyard driven wines that pair well with food.  Total production is currently 10,000 cases and the wines are nationally and internationally distributed.

25 years

Ray grew up on a dairy farm in northwest New Jersey and tended various crops before tiring of milk and leaving the roost.  After a two year stint in the army and extensive travel in Europe and Africa, he returned to the states and attended Stockbridge Agricultural College at the University of Massachusetts.  While at school, he worked at a fine wine shop in Boston, and it was here that he discovered fine French wine.  With Coursen’s background in farming and his new appreciation for wine, the idea of making wine took hold.


Nancy is a third generation Californian and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area.   Following her graduation from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Occupational Therapy, she worked with special needs children in the educational systems of the Boston area.   It was in Boston in 1982 that Nancy met Ray and shortly thereafter his interest in the wine business brought them to the Napa Valley.

Much more information and Ray, Nancy, Elyse, and her younger brother Jacob Franklin can be found at:




On your next visit to the Napa Valley, I highly recommend a stop at Elyse.  They are about a mile south of Yountville just off Highway 29.  A reservation is required but the visit is well worth the phone call.  More information is available at:


Elyse Sign



Everyone knows great wines start in the vineyards, and the Morisoli Vineyard lies in the heart of the famed Rutherford region in Napa Valley.





And finally onto the reason you are visiting this post, the wine.

2007 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Vineyard 2




My comments

Elyse has been one of my favorite wineries since my first visit there in 2001.  I was talking to an employee at Merryvale about the style of wines I liked and that I was on the lookout for leads to some nice Petite Sirah based wines.  All he said was, “You have to checkout Elyse”.  As soon as we got back in the car, I pulled out my guidebook of wineries, and looked them up.  According to the guide, they required a reservation so I called them.  About 30 minutes later we were met by a very gracious and inviting tasting room employee.  We spent the next hour trying just about everything they made.  We left with several bottles for the week and ordered a case to be shipped back home.


Since that day, Elyse has always been the first winery we visit when we make it to Napa.  I always have several bottles of Elyse wine in my cellar.



Wine Info

This wine is 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot.


After a 15 day fermentation using native yeast, the wine was aged 30 months in French oak, 60% of which was new.


The alcohol is 14.8%, and the production was 1,190 12-pack 750ml cases and 20 cases of 1.5L magnums.




My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep, dark ruby color almost purple.  The enticing nose features cassis, melted licorice, dried herbs, cedar, dark chocolate, minerals, black cherries, and baking spices.  The wine has medium body, solid, ripe tannins, and very good acidity.  The outstanding palate has a good fruit base with plenty of spice, dried herbs, and a touch of earthiness and minerals adding considerable depth and complexity.  The long, lingering finish seems to go on forever, showcasing the spicy fruit, dried herbs, and a touch of dark chocolate.  A very powerful and elegant wine that should be left in the cellar for a few years to allow it to reach it’s full potential.  (94 pts)

2007 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Vineyard



We paired the Elyse Cabernet with our Christmas dinner of prime rib, mashed potatoes casserole with onions and cheddar cheese, Prosciutto wrapped asparagus, and some Asiago Cheese and garlic bread.

Christmas Dinner



***** Shameless Self Promotion *****


Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.




Remember to support your local wine store!




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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.



Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.



All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.