Yountville, Napa Valley
$98 (Wine Club Reorder Price: $88)
In 1983, owners Nancy and Ray Coursen arrived in Napa Valley from Cape Cod to fulfill Ray’s dream of making wine and Nancy’s taste for adventure. Coursen’s general interest in wine came from his roommate who was attending culinary school. Coursen said, “He taught me about the harmony and synergy between food and wine.”
In Napa, Ray began a nine-year tenure at Whitehall Lane Winery under the tutelage of Art Finkelstein, first as a cellar worker and then as head winemaker. The year 1986 saw the arrival of their daughter, Elyse Sarah, who became the namesake for their winery. After a decade of nomadic winemaking at various custom crush facilities, the Coursens purchased a small winery and vineyard on Hoffman Lane. Today it’s the home of Elyse Winery and tasting room.
Last year, nearly three decades after starting the winery, the couple felt ready to retire, so they sold the winery, vineyards, and house to local couple Josh Peeples and Cheryl Foil. “Basically, we’ve got some young blood coming in now. I think it’s a real positive change for the winery,” Ray Coursen said. They brought on Russell Bevan as winemaker, who has earned 15 100-point wines in his career, including the world’s only 100-point wine in 2011.
Only 386 cases were made of this single-vineyard 100% Cabernet Sauvignon produced from their 1.3-acre estate vineyard off Hoffman Lane in Yountville. Notes of Bing cherry and saddle leather dominate the nose, with just a kiss of menthol and mint to remind you of this vineyard’s unique sense of place (a grove of giant Eucalyptus trees border the vineyard leaving a signature aroma in the wines). Vibrant acidity mixed with refined tannins will allow this wine to be enjoyed for decades to come – but with the Russell Bevan touch, you can certainly pop it open and drink this bad boy now.
Everyone knows to pair steak and Cabernet together, but the true experts know that Napa Cabernets that come from mountain AVAs (Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, etc) pair best with fatty steaks like Ribeye and Cabernets from the valley AVAs (Rutherford, Oakville, Yountville, etc) pair best with leaner steaks like Filet Mignon.
Taylor Morgan – September 2021