Having made about a hundred and nine trips to wine country, we're definitely over the big name, flashy, tchotchke- and gift-laden tasting rooms serving up merely drinkable wine at high-end prices. Give us a shitshack or a shed and some amazing wine and we're happy.
That's not to say that the tasting room at Elyse Winery is a shed -- it's just a simple room in a simple ranch house, right off of Route 29 in the heart of Napa. But they do have some amazing wine and they deserve the attention of any Zinfandel or Petite Sirah lover.
Elyse was founded in 1987 by Ray and Nancy Coursen, and the label was named for their daughter Elyse. In 1997, they purchased the property that currently houses their tasting and distribution facility, which has a couple of acres of grapes -- however the majority of their wine is blended from purchased lots. Perhaps it is the freedom that winemaker Mike Trotta and Ray have in picking and choosing the grapes they use each year, but they do have a pretty magic touch.