2007 Elyse Zinfandel A.K.A.

2010 Two Hands Shiraz Gnarly Dudes

2008 Treasure Hunter Wines Cabernet Franc Catch 22




2007 Elyse Zinfandel A.K.A. – $20.00

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.  A quick check of my cellar on Cellar Tracker shows I currently have 22 bottles of Elyse wines and 12 from their other label, Jacob Franklin in stock.


Winery history

In 1983, Nancy and Ray arrived in California from Cape Cod to fulfill Ray’s dream of making wine and Nancy’s taste for adventure.  After working harvest at Mt. Eden Winery in Saratoga, they moved to Napa Valley and became innkeepers for a bed &breakfast. Ray then spent formative time at Tonella Vineyard Management, where he gained philosophical perspective and practical knowledge working in the vineyards.  Ray’s nine year tenure at Whitehall Lane Winery under the tutelage of Art Finkelstein first as a cellar worker and then as head winemaker honed his skills in the art of blending and was the inspiration for Ray’s winemaking style today.


In 1987, Ray & Nancy started Elyse Winery with 286 cases of Zinfandel from the Morisoli Vineyard, which is still a cornerstone vineyard source for the winery. After a decade of nomadic winemaking at various custom crush facilities, in 1997 they purchased a small winery and vineyard on Hoffman Lane, the home of Elyse Winery and tasting room.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby red color with some bricking at the edge. The very satisfying nose has brambly berries, black pepper, wood smoke, warm baking spices, leather, minerals, vanilla, and a meaty element. This has medium to full body, moderate tannins, and good acidity. On the palate this isn’t a typical, big, jammy, in your face style of zinfandel, this is much more graceful and elegant. The palate has spicy, peppery berries, minerals, and just a touch of earthiness. The finish has very nice length and leans a bit more on the savory end with the fruit in the background adding nice sweetness. This is in a very nice place and should hold for another year or two.  (92 pts)

2007 Elyse Zinfandel A K A




2010 Two Hands Shiraz Gnarly Dudes – $23.74

The Two Hands wines have been favorites in my house for several years.  The Garden series wines are usually excellent, but have escalated in price.  To me, the second level of the Two Hands wines are the real sweet spot in their lineup.  High quality wines at relatively bargain prices.


Winery history (Core Values)

Quality without compromise is central to the Two Hands philosophy, driving all the decisions from fruit and oak selection to packaging and promotion.


We strive to differentiate ourselves; to be unique, fun and innovative in our business approach while maintaining a high degree of professionalism and integrity.


Our wines are made by a process of barrel classification – selecting the very best barrels for the Flagship range followed by Garden Series then our Picture Series.  This is achieved by sourcing the best parcels of fruit available to us from six premium regions within Australia.


We handle every parcel of fruit, however small, separately from crushing through to fermentation and oak maturation to ensure complexity and personality in the finished wines.


Fruit will be the primary feature of all our wines, with oak playing a supporting role.


Much more information available at:  http://www.twohandswines.com/


My Tasting Note

The wine is a dark, inky, purple color. The burly nose has blackberries, smoke, dark chocolate, plums, meat juices, black pepper, Asian spices, minerals, melted licorice, charcoal, and fresh wild flowers. The wine is medium to full body with solid, ripe tannins, and good acidity. On the palate there are loads of spicy, smoky, meaty berries with plums and dark chocolate coming in on the back end to add even more depth. The finish is long, juicy, and flavorful. A seamless, balanced, full flavored Shiraz with no rough edges. Enjoyable now and for the next five years.  (94 pts)

2010 Two Hands Shiraz Gnarly Dudes




2008 Treasure Hunter Wines Cabernet Franc Catch 22 – $17.81

As I’ve mentioned here every time I open a bottle, generally the Treasure Hunter line of wines represent outstanding value.  My local wine store has to be one of the bigger sellers of the Treasure Hunter wines in the country.  It seems like they get just about everything they release.  Treasure Hunter isn’t really a winery, more of a wine business.  They buy excess grapes/juice/wine and sell it as is or blend different lots to create their wines.  These are generally very good to outstanding wines that sell for prices well below their level or quality.


I love the Cabernet Franc grape.  At its best it has nice dark berry fruit with some cherry and dried herbs.  If the grapes are over cropped and picked before fully ripe, the dried herbs become the much less pleasing green herbal elements.


Winery history

Treasure Hunter is a label under the 3 Finger Wine Company family of wines.


Each Treasure Hunter wine goes through a pain-staking process of examination from our panel of nine called The De-Vine Nine. Made up of top sommeliers, winemakers and restaurateurs, they are the best of the best and they pour through hundreds of wines before they are deemed worthy.

Each wine is a small one-time offering and represents an extraordinary opportunity to drink seminal wines of great importance.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon color.  The very interesting and inviting nose has blackberries, dried herbs, licorice, black cherry, baking spices, cigar tobacco, dark chocolate, cedar, and some violets.  This has medium body with fairly solid tannins and good acidity.  On the palate the wine shows a fair amount of upfront berries and black cherry with dried herbs and spices, slowly a nice hit of dark chocolate creeps in on the backend.  The finish has decent length and leans more toward the dried herbs and dark chocolate with the fruit playing more of a supporting role in the background.  This is a fantastic, young wine for under $20.  I’m going to try and hold off opening another for a few months, but it will be tough.  (92 pts)

2008 Treasure Hunter Wines Cabernet Franc Catch 22




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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.