(Suggested Retail Price $28.00)




This is based on a winery supplied sample.



Syrah_001 small



Elyse Winery logo smaller


Winemaking is cooking without a flame.  Our winemaking philosophy at Elyse in Napa Valley is similar to the approach of a great chef who carefully prepares artisan grown ingredients to bring each layer of flavor to the table.  Long term alliances with our growers form the cornerstone to our portfolio of vineyard driven wines that possess an unfaltering affinity for pairing with food.



“A meal with wine is dining – it’s a conversation, an event.  It’s what wine is all about.” – Ray Coursen, Winemaker & Owner

“This excellent winery continues to carve out a well-deserved reputation for its interesting red wine portfolio.” – Robert M. Parker Jr.



25 yrs logo


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.



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 StockbridgeAgriculturalCollege 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 NapaValley.



Much more information and Ray, Nancy, Elyse, and her younger brother Jacob Franklin can be found at:  http://www.elysewinery.com/25.html



Mailbox small

On your next visit to the NapaValley, 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:  http://www.elysewinery.com/visit.html




Cool_Trick_002 small



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


2009 Elyse C'est Si Bon Naggiar Vineyard




My comments

C’est si bon is French for “It’s so good”.  Read on to see I think the wine lives up to its name.


In case you didn’t notice, even though I love the Bordeaux grapes and a Pinot Noir can be an excellent accompaniment with a meal, my heart lies with the grapes from the Rhone region in France.  I love a nice Grenache or a Syrah but to me, these grapes seem to hit their zenith when used in a blend, such as this one.  The grapes compliment each other so well, some add dark berry flavors, some cherry, or spice, or black pepper, or earthiness or dried herbs…you get the point, to me the blend is usually greater than the sum of its parts.



Wine Info

This is a blend of 39% Grenache, 33% Mourvedre, 12% Syrah, 8% Cinsault, 5% Counoise, and 3% Viognier from the Naggiar Vineyard in GrassValley in the Sierra Foothills.


After a 15 day native yeast fermentation, the wine was aged 22 months in French oak Puncheons, 10% new.


Total production was 1,594 cases and the final alcohol level was 14.4%.



My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby red color.  The intense and inviting nose has black raspberries, licorice, dried herbs, earthiness, orange zest, dark chocolate, cassis, plums, grilled meat, and Asian spices.  The wine has medium to full body, solid tannins, and very good acidity.  On the palate there is nice spicy fruit with dried herbs, on the back end chocolate, earthiness, and orange zest sneak in adding depth and complexity.  The finish is long and lingering, with a nice fruit and savory balance.  This is very young, give it some air if drinking in the next six months to a year.  The wine is very balanced with no rough edges, very food friendly, no over the top ripeness, think CdP not Paso Robles.  (92 pts)




The wine was a very nice partner with a grilled Strip Steak, sautéed mushrooms, baked potato with butter and cheese, and a salad.





***** 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!





* * * * * * * * * * * * *




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 www.cellartracker.com.  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.