Elyse Wine Dinner at Zely & Ritz, Raleigh - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 12-14-2006

Elyse Winery is in Yountville, Napa Valley.
It was started in 1987.

2005 Elyse Chenin Blanc, Mendocino County
Only 220 case production
off-dry with 3% residual sugar
Nice nose and very flavorful. I really liked this and bought a bottle for later pickup. Winery website lists at $15 or special case prices of $135. Suggested serving: with sliced peaches and strawberries as a summer refresher.

I believe the monkfish dish was served with the 2002 Naggiar Vineyard L'Ingenue, a Rhone-like white blended wine with Marsanne, Roussane, Viognier, and Grenache Blanc. Sierra foothills. Serve with shellfish, rich seafood dishes and fowl. Fermented in stainless steel and aged in neutral or older oak barrels. Will seem sweet but has an acidic, dry finish. Weighty for a white wine and versatile. I didn't get much nose from this at first (especially after the aromatic Chenin Blanc) but I like the flavors and texture on the palate. A pleasant parrafin or waxy nose and the flavor had a slight vanilla accent. I purchased two bottles for later pickup. Unusual for me to go strictly for the white wines as far as purchases. (The Pinot Noir proved too expensive for my budget right before Christmas).

Duck confit with spicy sausage with 2004 Elyse Pinot Noir, Wild Horse Vineyard, Napa Valley, CA. Only 148 cases produced. Grapes grown northeast of Napa Valley where the fog hangs lower and evenings are cool and conducive to Pinot Noir variety. Burgundy color, not fully opaque. 100% Pinot Noir. Medium body. About 85% Pommard clone. Cherry taste on the palate. Silky smooth and yet chewy. Very nice! but at $43 per bottle I passed--I would have purchased at $30 or maybe $35.

Distributor talked a bit about Ray Coursen, winemaker and owner of Elyse. He learned about wine blending from a perfumer's course. Each vintage changes the equation of oak and tannin--treating it a bit like salt and pepper seasonings--a dash here, a dash there. Elyse red wines are said to age beautifully--16-17 years--even the Zinfandel.

We had with the beef course the 2004 Elyse Zinfandel, Eagle Point Ranch Vineyard, Mendocino, CA.
Dark crimson-purple color, opaque. About 15% alcohol. Some burn in mid-palate. From 10-35 year-old vines, with 50% from 90 year-old vines.

2003 Elyse Cabernet Sauvignon, Tietjen Vineyard, Napa. 16 year-old vines. 650 cases produced. I'm afraid I didn't really take notes at this point in the evening. The website description mentions blackberry, chocolate, kirsch, coconut, cigar box and mint in the aromas. Flavors listed as currant, cassis, ripe cherry, sweet vanilla, and a compelling mushroom-like earthiness. It sells from the winery for $65 a bottle.

Overall, I was impressed with several of the wines and would like to try other Elyse wines from Morisoli Vineyard, etc. They also make a Petit Sirah "Port."

- TheEngineer - 12-15-2006

WOW, I always love reading your posts! Thanks for the details.