2008 Elyse Le Corbeau Hudson Vineyard

(Suggested Retail Price $37.00)


This is based on a winery supplied sample.






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.


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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


Elyse Winery sign


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


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

2008 Elyse Le Corbeau Hudson Vineyard2



My comments


“Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe” -from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”.

I’ve been a fan of the big, “hedonistic” California Rhone Ranger wines for several years, but I’m equally a fan of the “cool climate” style of these wines, like this one.  Wines like this one are made for the dinner table and shine in that environment.  The rich, jammy fruit of the wines from warmer locales is more than adequately replaced with spice, dried herbs (often noted as garrigue in reviews of French wines), pepper, and subtle earthiness.  If you are a fan of a French Chateauneuf du Pape, check out these Grenache and Syrah blends from California, like this one.

To get a bottle of this wine for yourself, visit your local wine store or order directly from Elyse on their website.


Wine Info

This is a blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah from the Hudson Vineyard in California’s Carneros region.


The wine was aged 22 months in French oak, 20% of which were new.


The total production was 300 cases and the final alcohol is 14.4%.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium red color with just a touch of a ruby tint.  The friendly and inviting nose has raspberries, plums, dried herbs, white pepper, Asian spices, dried wild flowers, minerals, and hints of orange zest, vanilla, and some subtle earthiness.  This has a medium body, fairly solid, velvety tannins, and very nice acidity.  On the palate the wine has very nice fruit but the spices, dried herbs, and earthy elements steal the spotlight adding waves of flavor and considerable depth, before the fruit comes roaring back into the picture.  The finish is fairly long with nice plum and raspberry competing with the spice and earthy elements.  This could easily be slipped into a Chateauneuf du Pape tasting and not stick out as being from California.  This is still very young and could use a fair amount of air or preferably a year or two in the cellar.  (93 pts)

2008 Elyse Le Corbeau Hudson Vineyard



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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 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.