theCompass mobile application is a winery, brewery, and distillery locator for North America.

Elyse Winery

Elyse Winery I’m Ray Coursen, winemaker and owner at Elyse Winery in Napa Valley, California. My wife Nancy and I run the winery and these are our children, Elyse and Jake. Before you look around the website and see what we’re up to now, I’d like to tell you how we have gotten this far. In 1983, when Nancy and I were both working in Cape Cod restaurants, I asked Nancy when she’d be ready to move to California. I had a dream of learning to make wine. “Tomorrow,” she said. I worked the harvest that year at Mt. Eden Winery in Saratoga, starting at the bottom, picking grapes and digging ditches. After the harvest, we moved to Napa Valley and worked at a B&B. Nancy ran the place and I tended the gardens and planted a vineyard. I then worked at Tonella Vineyard Management, where the owner taught me why you need to prune, trellis, train, and generally coddle grapevines, and the vineyard workers gave me on-the-job-training. Next I worked at Whitehall Lane Winery. Though I started in the tasting room, the winemaker, Art Finkelstein, took me under his wing, put me in the cellar, and eventually promoted me to winemaker. Art taught me that the secret of great wines is in the blend. In 1987, we started Elyse Wines with 286 cases of Zinfandel from the Morisoli Vineyard, which is still one of our primary fruit sources. For a decade we were nomads, buying grapes and crushing at various custom crush facilities, and then in1997, we finally bought a small winery on Hoffman Lane. What will you find in a bottle of Elyse or Jacob Franklin wine? I make wines that I want to sit down and enjoy – juicy, rich, voluptuous wines. I like a little oak, but I don’t want it to be overpowering – I want to taste the fruit. I love wines that pair well with food. A meal without wine is eating; a meal with wine is dining – it’s a conversation, an event. It’s what wine is about. When I make a wine, my tastes and techniques will influence the process, but what’s most important is the fruit. The fruit dictates what the wine will be. We’re fortunate to work with an amazing group of growers and vineyards, whose fruit keeps taking us to wonderful places. We started out making Zinfandel, then expanded into Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah. No doubt those will continue to be the focus of our winemaking, but now we’ve made a tiny quantity of Chardonnay, and soon we’ll be releasing our first Pinot Noir. What wines we make after that will depend on the fruit that’s available, because I just can’t say no to wonderful fruit.

As you drive north on Highway 29 (from Napa toward Calistoga), turn left on Hoffman Lane (about 1 mile before Yountville). Drive down about a quarter mile and the winery is on your right at 2100 Hoffman Lane. Traveling south on Highway 29 from St Helena, Hoffman Lane is the first right turn after Yountville. (If you're met by a four-legged welcoming committee, don't worry, they're friendly.)

View Map | View Weather

Address Web Social
2100 Hoffman Lane, Napa, CA, US, 94558 Email:
Phone: 707-944-2900 Web:
Fax: 707-945-0301
Back to CA wine list


  2001 Morisoli Cabernet Sauvignon
The 2001 Morisoli Cabernet Sauvignon is dark ruby in color with aromas of black cherry, earthy mushroom, pencil shavings and graphite. On the palate the dense fruit shows deep currant and cassis flavors leading to wild violets and creamy vanilla. It has amazing weight and concentrated texture with layers and layers of complexity and long tannins on the finish. Once again, the Morisoli vineyard has given us a wine that is complexly powerful yet classically elegant. This 2001 bottling may be the most powerful yet! Pair this wine with beef, game and ripe cheeses.
Our 2001 Chardonnay is finally ready for release. This wine is blended from three different vineyards and from four Dijon clones; and has put my patience to the test! The wine was direct-pressed, chilled overnight, then racked to 70% French Oak for 16 months of fermentation and aging sur lie. The 2001 Chardonnay carries a brilliant golden hue, vibrant fruit, and a well-integrated combination of creamy texture and crisp acid balance. The wine has amazing depth and weight and boasts constant balance of fruit, oak and acid. Its long lingering finish is reminiscent of a Puligny Montrachet. Drink our Chardonnay now and cellar for 3 to 5 years. This wine will pair well with all seafood, fowl, and salads. We particularly like to serve it with epouisse - a soft creamy Burgundian cow's milk cheese.
We are delighted with the 2002 vintage of our Rhone style blend using California grapes! Predominantly Grenache, this year we blended with Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault and added Viognier to this vintage. Once again we took Grenache cuttings, dried them and added them into our open bin fermenters to add more pepper and spice. The 2002 D’Aventure is bright ruby in color with intricate layers of blueberry, black cherry and lavender as well as hints of white pepper, and cardamom. This complex, well balanced wine seamlessly transitions to a generous mid-pallet that leads to a long sultry finish.
  Howell Mountain Zinfandel
The 2003 Howell Mountain Zinfandel is deep garnet in color with tantalizing aromas of black fruits, forest floor and baking spices. It is full on the palate with flavors of wild plums, blackberries, white pepper and cocoa. This Zinfandel has great weight with firm mountain tannins, balanced acidity and a long spicy finish. Try drinking this wine with lamb, sausage, risotto and cheese. This wine will cellar well for the next 5-8 years.
  Howell Mountain Zinfandel
The 2004 Howell Mountain Zinfandel is dark ruby colored, with deep aromas of black fruits, wet forest floor and mushrooms. It is full on the palate with flavors of wild plums, blackberries, black cherries, white pepper and an intriguing spicy earthiness. This is truly a great example of Howell mountain terroir. Pair with lamb, cassoulet or peppered steak and sit down and contemplate life. This Howell Mountain Zinfandel is a very complex wine, with firm tannins and well-integrated acidity. It really would benefit from aging, but if drinking today, as always we recommend decanting. The wine will age beautifully for the next 7 – 10 years.
  Korte Ranch Zinfandel
The 2003 Korte Ranch Zinfandel is brilliant raspberry and garnet in color. The wine exhibits aromas of rosemary, citrus, caramel and cola along with an almost Syrah-like nose of smokey oak. It is weighty on the palate with full flavors of ripe bing cherry, cranberry and white pepper spice. These full flavors lead to very soft tannins and a long warm hazelnut finish. This Korte Ranch Zinfandel is fruit forward yet impeccably balanced with bright acidity. Enjoy this wine with rich stews, game, beef and barbecue. Drinking beautifully now it will be difficult to put any away, yet it will age easily for 5-7 years.
  Korte Ranch Zinfandel
The 2004 Korte Ranch Zinfandel is our third release from this vineyard. This wine is deep garnet colored with a nose of raspberries, roasted nuts, caramel and a bit of coffee. It is lavishly textured, showing flavors of sweet raspberries, wisps of chocolate and a hint of cassis. It has great weight, and is long and silky on the palate with a creamy finish. Pair with beef stew, ribs or barbecue and know it doesn’t mind spice. The 2004 Korte Ranch Zinfandel is drinking wonderfully now, but if you can manage to hold some back it will age nicely for another 5 – 7 years.
  Le Corbeau
Le Corbeau (The Raven) is a hauntingly beautiful Grenache, made in the style of the seductive and expressive wines of the Chateauneuf du Pape region of the Rhone Valley. This saturated ruby-colored wine has alluring aromas of raspberries, kirsch liqueur, dried herbs and hints of smoke and bacon. On the palate, it exhibits flavors of black raspberries, plums and an intriguing earthiness followed by silky tannins and a long lingering finish. This medium to full-bodied wine possesses great acidity and depth. It is best enjoyed after an hour of decanting. Or simply pour a generous glass and enjoy as its delicate yet powerful aromas and flavors unfold. This gorgeous wine will age beautifully for the next 7-10 years and will pair nicely with braised pork, duck, lamb, venison, wild mushrooms, cassoulet and fowl.
  Morisoli Cabernet Sauvignon
The 2000 Morisoli Cabernet Sauvignon, which is blended with 5% Petit Verdot, is saturated purple in color with aromas of dusty earth, spice, cedar cigar box, and pencil shavings. The wine has exquisite purity of fruit and tannins with tremendous depth and balance. As always the Morisoli vineyard produces a wine that is both complexly powerful and classically elegant.
  Morisoli Cabernet Sauvignon
The 2002 Morisoli Cabernet Sauvignon is inky purple in color with a blackberry, graphite, earth, spice and mineral-scented bouquet. These enticing aromas lead to dense flavors of black currants, wild plums, a hint of blueberry and creamy vanilla that build to a full-bodied layered finish. This wine is richly textured and seamless across the palate with gorgeous fruit, ripe tannins and nicely integrated acidity. The Morisoli Cabernet always has a sense of grace and elegance and this 2002 has quite a voluptuous finish. Wow! This may just be our best bottling yet.
  Nero Misto
The black beauty is back and better than ever! Named Nero Misto meaning “mixed black fruits” this is a true field blend in the old “cal-ital” style. The wine shows aromas of blue and blackberry pie with a hint of pepper and earth. On the palate it has smooth and supple flavors of strawberry jam, dried raspberries, caramel, toffee, and a hint of pepper. The 2003 Nero Misto displays a velvety texture, is lightly oaked and has an explosive juicy, vibrant finish. It is a hippo on a tight rope! The 2003 Nero Misto is truly a great food wine. Extremely versatile, try this luscious wonder with anything from risotto, lasagna, spicy southwest cuisine and game. This wine will age 7-10 years, but why wait?
  Nero Misto
Nero Misto means, “mixed black” in Italian, and this wine is our nod to the old“cal-ital” field blends. Deep crimson in color, it has aromas of dark berries and smoky spice. The wine is lively on the palate, with flavors of black raspberries, soy sauce, allspice and black pepper. It has a wonderful texture, with no harsh tannin and a juicy, vibrant finish. This wine is extremely versatile, particularly good with Italian food, spicy southwest cuisine and steaks and chops off the grill. Don’t be fooled by its accessibility, this wine will age nicely another 5 – 8 years, but the old adage “why wait?” definitely applies here.
  Pinot Noir
Our 2002 Pinot Noir was grown at the edge of the San Francisco Bay in American Canyon. It was cold soaked and fermented for 15 days on its own yeast and spent 16 months 60% new French oak completing malo-lactic fermentation aging to its potential. The 2002 Pinot Noir is deep ruby/purple in color and is richly textured. It displays a perfumed bouquet of black cherries, cassis, and kirsch with an exotic concoction of cola, mushrooms, bacon, herbs and leather. Its entry hints of violets and earth that lead to well-integrated tannins, oak, spice and an underlying sense of minerals. The wine has an alluring and seamless palate sensation and is more Burgundian-like in its seductive finish.
Our 2003 Port is made from Petite Sirah grapes from the Russian River Appellation. The fermentation was arrested by adding Zinfandel Distillates from Germain Robin, (America’s greatest brandy producer, and quite possibly one of the world’s greatest) in Mendocino County. Our Port reveals aromas of saturated blueberries, raspberries and pepper, that lead to flavors of dark chocolate, whiskey and vanilla. The wine spent 18 months resting in neutral French oak barrels.
  Rutherford Petite Sirah
The 2003 Rutherford Petite Sirah is not shy as usual! Once again this wine is “squid inked” with a dark, deep purplish black color. This dense, brooding wine shows aromas of cola, wet stone, dusty earth, black pepper, tar and violets. The ultra full palate is aggressively textured with flavors of wild blackberry, dark chocolate, mocha, cedar, spicy oak and deep lasting tannins. Caution! This wine is not one for the faint at heart! Pair this monster with strong cheeses, lamb shank, and wild game. If you couldn’t guess from reading this, it will age 7-12 years.
  Rutherford Petite Sirah
The 2004 Rutherford Petite Sirah is a wine whose deep, dark purple/black color honestly reflects its intensity and concentration of flavor. It has intoxicating aromas of dark black fruit, cola, coffee, dusty earth and violets. It is immense and broad on the palate, tasting of wild blackberries, espresso, soy sauce, bittersweet chocolate and spicy oak and vanilla. This wine is highly extracted with lengthy tannins and a long pleasing finish. Pair with strong cheeses, wild game, lamb shank or a nicely peppered strip steak. We have had the experience of it going equally well with deep, dark, rich chocolate concoctions. Enjoy with whatever, just enjoy!
The 2001 Syrah is full bodied and tantalizing all the way across the palate. It reveals a sense of power at the same time as being complex and suggestive. The wine has aromas of blackberries, wild plums, and dried raspberries with hints of tangerine and honeysuckle. A solid but well integrated core of tannins is surrounded by smoke, bacon, white pepper, and garrique. The wine’s layers of vibrant fruit play off an amazing balance of acid and tannins. This wine is very alluring and delivers as long creamy finish and an urge to drink more of it. The 2001 Syrah will pair well with wild game, cassoulet, meat, and strong cheeses. We recommend cellaring this wine for 5 – 9 years or decant for enjoying tonight.
The 2000 Syrah is dark purple in color, full-bodied, and laden with vibrant fruit flavors. The Syrah opens with aromas of blackberries, wild plums and dried raspberries. Solid fruit tannins carry the wine across the palate and are interwoven with nuances of bacon, smoke and tar. Our Syrah, while massive in body is always balanced with soft tannins, lush fruit flavors and a creamy vanillin oak finish. The 2000 Syrah will pair well with wild game, cassoulet, meat and strong cheeses. As always, I recommend cellaring this wine for 6-10 years, but it wouldn’t hurt to try a bottle tonight.
The 2002 Syrah is garnet in color with just a hint of purple. It opens with an intriguing floral nose accompanied by smoke, molasses, forest floor, and lavender. Solid high tone fruit comes through on the palate with plum, raspberry cream, bright cherry, white pepper and dried orange rind. This medium bodied wine shows sound structure with full mouth feel, soft tannins, balanced acidity and a pleasingly long finish. This supplely textured Syrah will pair well with wild game, cassoulet, meat and strong cheeses. It is showing nicely now, especially when decanted, but will age well for another 5 – 7 years.
  Tietjen Cabernet Sauvignon
The 2001 Tietjen Cabernet Sauvignon is dense ruby colored with wonderful fruit extraction. The wine reveals aromas of black currants, wild blackberries, and spicy new oak with hints of tar. It is amazingly concentrated with well-integrated tannins giving it a strong sense of power and elegance. Its velvety texture coats the palate and it has a lingering finish of lush fruit, spice, and earth.
  Tietjen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
The 2002 Tietjen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is dense ruby in color with aromas of black cherry, wild blackberries and warm, spicy cedar and vanilla. The initially bright fruit character falls into rich, deep flavors of blueberry and cassis with hints of chocolate, whiskey and espresso. This wine is amazingly concentrated with a velvety texture that coats the palate and has a lingering full finish of lush fruit, earth and spice. This robust yet surprisingly graceful and seductive Cabernet will go wonderfully with lamb, venison, beef and rich cheeses. Decant the 2002 Tietjen Cabernet Sauvignon if you want to try it now or cellar it for 5 – 15 years for optimal drinking.


Add New Review