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Jacob Franklin Wines

Napa Valley AVA


Jacob Franklin Wines is an unqualified success in the boutique sector of Napa Valley’s heralded wine industry.

Ray Coursen is a Vietnam Veteran who managed to put himself through college (U Mass) by working at a fine wine shop in Boston. He became enamored with the great grape and this infatuation continued as he entered the workforce.

In 1983, Coursen and his wife Nancy loaded their Honda Civic and headed for California, finally settling in Rutherford, the heart of the prestigious Napa Valley. Ray began working in various capacities for a number of wineries, learning the winemaking business from the ground up. By 1987, the first release of Coursen’s own wine under the Elyse Winery aegis was offered to the consuming public. The wine was well-received and the tiny fledgling operation was off to the races.

During this time, Coursen continued working as a winemaker for other noted wineries including Whitehall Lane Winery, Shifflet Estate, Falcor Winery, Shadowbrook Winery, and Purple Heart Wines, but his heart was always centered on Elyse Winery as it continued to grow.

Thirty-five years later, Ray Coursen decided to retire and sold his interest in Elyse Winery to some friends in nearby Calistoga. Facing semi-retirement, he decided to concentrate his efforts on the Jacob Franklin Wines brand he initiated almost twenty years before. He turned to his son Jacob, 30, to become leader and winemaker for Jacob Franklin Wines in the future.

Ray’s son, Jacob, or Jake as he prefers, had graduated from Cal State Chico with a degree in Agricultural Business. Jake embraced the idea that seemed a natural for the father-son relationship. Back in 2000, a small amount of wine (only 150 cases) had been released under the Jacob Franklin (Jake’s first and middle names) label to the delight of long-time Ray Coursen devotees who hailed the new venture as an extension of Coursen’s excellent winemaking reputation.

Two decades later, Jacob Franklin Wines is an unqualified success in the boutique sector of Napa Valley’s heralded wine industry.

Jake Coursen followed his father’s path into the business and has learned winemaking from the grass roots. He interned at well known Cakebread Cellars and served as a production assistant at Hunnicutt Winery. He then returned to Elyse Winery and served as cellar master for his father until the business was sold in 2018.

“My Dad and I learned winemaking in much the same way,” stated Jake Coursen. “We both believe that each vintage is different and we try and showcase those variances in our wines. That makes each vintage unique and it is what our customers have come to expect from our wines.”

The focus of Jake Coursen’s labor has been a small vineyard Jacob Franklin Wines owns located on Hoffman Lane, just south of the town of Yountville. The vineyard is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and is considered one of the prized Napa Valley vineyard properties. The vineyard is planted on the Western bench land of Napa Valley in excessively-drained, Cortina-loam soil that enjoys cool mornings and warm afternoons. The resultant wines have been proven to last more than two decades, not uncommon in dealing with high-caliber Cabernet Sauvignon fruit.

“It is our intent to produce elegant wines without trying to go over the top,” informed Jake Coursen. “Terroir is incredibly important to us so we let our vineyard lead the way. In that manner, our grapes and wines do the talking for us.”

The plaudits surrounding Jacob Franklin Wines are at the top level and well-earned and are sure to multiply in the future.

Jake Coursen sits in a formidable position with his namesake winery. He serves as the winemaker and takes advice from his father who mostly consults and considers himself semi-retired.

“Since I learned everything from my Dad, I value whatever input he gives me,” added a humble Jake Coursen. “We are but a simple two-man operation that attempts to provide the best representation of both the vintage and place with our wines. We purchase some fruit from other sources under long-term contracts but our Hoffman Lane Vineyard is the backbone of our operation. The wines from this particular vineyard have been extremely successful, so it doesn’t make sense to change anything.”

It is a pleasure to welcome our Platinum Wine Club members to the marvelous wines of Jacob Franklin. Enjoy!

Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,

Picture of Dear <i>Platinum Wine Club</i> Members,

My father, Ray, and I are excited to share with you, our 2015 Hoffman Lane Cabernet Sauvignon! The Hoffman Lane Cabernet Sauvignon was the first wine released under the Jacob Franklin label back in 1998, and has been a cornerstone wine for us ever since. With 20 years experience working this vineyard and with these grapes, we feel have produced a wine that dances within the harmony of the vineyard. We hope you enjoy drinking the wine as much as we have enjoyed making it over the decades.

The 1-acre vineyard planted to Cabernet Sauvignon that makes the majority of this wine (98%) is planted on the Western Benchland of Napa Valley’s Mayacamas mountain range in excessively drained, Cortina-loam soil. This small vineyard benefits from cool mornings, warm afternoons and enough of a slope to keep the cool air from creating frost issues. This vineyard was planted and managed on the Elyse Winery property under the direction of my father, Raymond Coursen. Just a hundred or so yards east lies the Masa Ranch Vineyard, where we source Petit Verdot to blend in with the Cabernet Sauvignon to add even more color and depth.

Our 2015 Hoffman Lane Cabernet Sauvignon is inky dark in color and has an alluring nose of cassis, blackberries, cinnamon, almonds and mint. The palate of this full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon is bold and complete and reveals warm black fruit flavors with accents of espresso and chocolate. The finish is long, seductive and complex. Now with three years in bottle, this wine is truly hitting its stride and will be lovely to drink now or hold for the next seven years. Enjoy this wine with lamb, venison, beef and pungent cheeses.


Jacob Coursen