Have a seat because this is going to be one of our favorite stories: Al Steen, a Palos Verdes surgeon who was also a customer at Paul Sr.'s wine shop. One day announced he's buying a winery. We all told him he was crazy, that he'd never make any money.
Well, we were right about one thing. Al never made any money until he sold the winery to a Japanese beer company. Ray founded Elyse Winery with his wife, Nancy, in 1987 and, with Al's blessing, used the facility at Whitehall Lane to make his first wine; 247 cases of Petite Sirah. He's been hitting home runs ever since.
Without fear of contradiction, it would be safe to say that Ray Coursen is one of the best winemakers in California. We've tasted everyone over the years, and all were exemplary. After 30 years, Ray retired, and we thought it was over. Lucky for us, he showed up one day with this wine and said we could feature it as it was one of his private stashes, and you can imagine how thrilled we were. But, not as much as you'll be.
This is the best Petite Sirah we've ever tasted. Its robust black cherry flavors combined with earth, and spice notes are just what the doctor ordered with venison tenderloin marinated in juniper and sage.