Everything about Pym-Rae Tesseron Estate Vineyards California, Cabernet Sauvignon wine producer profile, wine¬†tasting notes, wine and food pairing tips, best vintages, history of the property, information on their wine making techniques, terroir and soil. You can also read about the Grapes used for California wine and learn about the extensive History of Napa Valley, California Wines
Pym-Rae Tesseron Estate History, Overview
The creation of Pym-Rae Tesseron Estate began with the purchase of the property by Alfred Tesseron and Melanie Tesseron of Pontet Canet in Pauillac in January 2016. Prior to that, the property was better known as the the Robin Williams Napa Valley vineyard and estate. The name Pym-Rae is a hommage to the late Robin Williams as that was the name Robin Williams gave to the vineyards. The inspiration behind the odd sounding Pym-Rae is quite simple. It combines the middle names of Robin William’s 2 eldest children, Zachary Pym Williams and Zelda Rae Williams.
While the Pym-Rae vineyard was cultivated in about 1990, it was not an active winery. The grapes were sold to various local producers including Robert Craig, Vineyard 29 and Rombauer. Alfred Tesseron had been looking for the right deal in Northern California for several years before purchasing Pym-Rae. Both Alfred Tesseron and Melanie Tesseron visited Napa Valley several times over the years seeking the right vineyard. But until recently, Tesseron was not able to find the situation they were seeking for.
The entire Pym-Rae Tesseron Estate takes up a whopping 640 acres! Robin Williams who purchased the property in 1994 referred to the estate as Villa Sorriso, which is translated to “Villa of Smiles.” The sprawling 640 acre estate is situated at the end of Wall Road, which takes its name from Duane Wall. Duane Wall was the popular sales rep for Nadalie for years. Nadalie is the producer of French oak barrels. The 2017 vintage will be the first year where Alfred Tesseron and Melaine Tesseron exercised full control of the vineyards and wine making.
The Pym-Rae Tesseron Estate comes with a massive, yet, stunningly beautiful, home that was designed by David Gast and Associates and built in 2003. The 2 story Italian styled villa includes as you would expect, a movie theater, remember, this was the home of Robin Williams. There are 5 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a tennis court and infinity pool that accompany the 20,000 square feet home. Having visited the property, while this all sounds quite grand, and it is, the home doesn’t feel like that. There is an intimacy in the property that allows you to feel right at home with the always charming, Tesseron family.
A barn and stables are also part of the property, which is a good thing, as they use horses to work the vineyards at Pontet Canet in Bordeaux and they might also use horses in the Napa Valley. Aside from grape vines, more than 100 mature olive trees are planted on the property. The logo design for the label is based on a feature in the home that is on the ceiling in the entry hall, the globe from the daily planet that reminded Robin Williams of his best friend, Christopher Reeve, who played Superman in 4 movies.
Pym-Rae Tesseron Estate Vineyards, Wines, Winemaking
The Pym-Rae vineyard is planted to 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Franc. The Pym-Rae vineyard currently includes slightly more than 18.5 acres cultivated with vines that are planted high up on Mt. Veeder with an elevation that is close to 1,500 feet. The 18.5 acres of vines are ideally placed in the Mt. Veeder appellation, in the cooler terroir of the Mayacamas Mountains. The vines are planted to the type of Left Bank Bordeaux grape varieties that the Tesseron family are familiar with; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
At Pym-Rae, they plan on also using biodynamic farming in Napa, but due to the steep, hillside terrain, they will need to make some modifications. For example, they will use cows in the vineyard. Cows, due to their size and weight will naturally leave small indentations in the soil, which will retain water. In California, which doe not see as much rain as Bordeaux, this will help with their plans to dry farm the property.
It is unknown how much of the additional acreage is able to be planted at this point. Because there was no winery at the estate, (as they sold all the grapes previously,) a new winery will need to be built, which will take time and money to create, especially as the neighborhood is known for its small, windy roads. Until then, the wine is being produced at a neighboring facility. The appellation of Mt. Veeder, with its steep, volcanic soils and hillside plantings is best known for producing, tannic, powerful, age worthy, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Yields on Mt. Veeder are lower than you often find on the valley floor. As a guess, the yearly production of Pym-Rae could average slightly more or less than 3,000 cases of wine per vintage.
At Pontet Canet they are 100% organic and biodynamic in their vineyard management techniques. The team of Pontet Canet, including Alfred Tesseron, Melanie Tesseron and Jean Michel Comme will continue those same practices in the Napa Valley at Pym Rae. Thomas Comme, the son of Jean Michel Comme is an important part of the technical team that produces Pym-Rae. Due to the continuing water shortage experienced by growers in Napa Valley, they will dry farm, utilizing organic and biodynamic farming techniques at Pym-Rae, Tesseron Estate Vineyards. While there will be a full time staff based at Pym-Rae, the technical team from Pontet Canet will be in charge of the vineyard management and winemaking.
Aside from being one of the most successful and popular wine makers and marketers in Bordeaux, Alfred Tesseron and Melanie Tesseron are also incredibly accomplished in Cognac with their Tesseron brand. However, this is the first vineyard purchased by Alfred Tesseron outside of Bordeaux. It is going to be a wine to keep track of.
Serving and Decanting Pym-Rae Tesseron Estate with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips
Pym-Rae wines are best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Young vintages of their red wine can be decanted for 2-4 hours, depending on the character of the vintage. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment.
Pym-Rae Tesseron Estate wines are best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, ribs, hamburgers, barbecue, roasted, braised, grilled dishes and stews. Pym-Rae is also good with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, salmon, mushrooms and pasta.