Winemaker, Ray Coursen, grew up on a dairy farm in New Jersey. His interest in agriculture sent him to the University of Massachusetts, where he learned the propagation of peaches, apricots, and the like. Well, if you've read enough of these, you know what happened next.
Ray and his wife, Nancy, tried several wines from all over the world, and suddenly peaches and nectarines didn't sound that interesting. After several trips to California, they loaded up the car in the early 80s and came out here for good. Ray had worked at Whitehall Lane, a 100-year-old winery in Napa with new owners and was now installed full time.
His wines were an instant success and catapulted the winery into the new world of stardom. A few years later, he made his first wine on his own, Elyse, and for the next 30+ years, consistently put out some of the best wines in California. We've tasted most of them and always wanted to feature them, but there was never enough.
Finally, Ray retired and sold the winery a few years ago and let us have this beauty out of his own personal cellar. The funny thing about Merlot in Napa is that people think Cabernet Sauvignon overshadows this grape. When we tasted it, we forgot how to spell Cabernet Sauvignon!
The layers of plum, black cherry, vanilla, earth, and licorice start the symphony and continue on to the grand finale, beckoning chateaubriand just off the grill or filet with a red wine reduction; Merlot of course!