ELYSE CHARDONNAY 2012, SONOMA VALLEY SONOMA USA
Elyse’s founder, Ray Coursen and his wife, Nancy had quite the varied life before starting their winery in the Napa Valley. Ray grew up on a dairy farm in northwest New Jersey. He attended Stockbridge Agricultural College at the University of Massachusetts and worked at a fine wine shop in Boston where he discovered fine French wine. 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 Napa Valley. In 1983, Ray and Nancy Coursen arrived in California ready to turn their dream into reality. Ray’s first industry job was working a harvest at Mt. Eden Winery in Saratoga. Upon moving to the valley, Ray and Nancy became innkeepers for a bed & breakfast – perhaps only because they were allowed to plant a vineyard in the back. Ray then spent a formative amount of time at Tonella Vineyard Management, where he gained philosophical perspective and practical knowledge of working in the vineyards. The year 1986 saw the arrival of a daughter, Elyse Sarah. Next up for Ray was nine years at Whitehall Lane Winery in Napa Valley’s historic Rutherford appellation. It was with owner, Art Finkelstein that he honed his skills in the art of blending. Then The Wine Spectator Magazine of June 1996 included Elyse as one of their Hot New Wines from California and it was the beginning of a successful journey for Elyse Winery into the world of fine wines.
Elyse Chardonnay is made from old vines located in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County producing very low yield of high-quality grapes. Aged during 16 months on lees in French oak with 1/3 new, this is a complex yet approachable wine. Only 282 cases made.