2016 Tesseron Estate 'Pym-Rae' Napa Valley

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  • 98 Point Napa Cab
  • From the Owners of Pontet-Canet
  • 98 Point Vintage, Wine Spectator
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About the Wine

In January 2016, the Tesseron family (Pontet-Canet & Tesseron Cognac) became the owners of Villa Sorriso (Villa of Smiles), the former property of the actor Robin Williams. The actor christened the vineyard with the middle names of his children “PYM” and “RAE”. Due to this touching story and with respect to the previous owners, the Tesserons have chosen to continue this name for the domain’s wine.

2016 Pym-Rae comes from vines averaging 29 years in age. Most producers in Napa prefer younger vines for the increased quantity they can produce. The Tesseron's believe there is no substitute for quality, preferring the older vines for their wine production. None of the vines have been replanted since the vineyard was in great shape when the Tesseron family acquired this exceptional property.

The Tesseron's are no strangers to producing world-class wine. They own Bordeaux's finest fifth classified growth–based in Pauillac–the unique Château Pontet-Canet. They also owned and manage the Saint-Estephe fourth-growth Château Lafon-Rochet up until 2021. The family got its start in 1905 when Abel Tesseron created his own Cognac company, which has developed a great reputation among the world's finest Cognac connoisseurs. 

Prior to the Tesseron's acquisition of this estate, the Pym-Rae vineyard was not actively producing wine. Instead, the grapes were sold to various producers including Robert Craig, Vineyard 29, and Rombauer.

The 2016 vintage was a fruitful one and an abundant harvest full of high-quality & near-perfect fruit! Wine Spectator gave the vintage a 98 point rating while Robert Parker concurred with another 98 point score. 2016 Napa Cabernets have been flying off the shelves in high demand, a perfect situation benefiting the wineries who produced more wine than in previous vintages and blessing the consumer with quality wine.

Aging: 16 months in 70% New French Oak and 30% in concrete tanks

Tasting notes:
See critical reviews for detailed tasting notes.


This is the debut vintage of this wine from the esteemed Bordeaux owner, Alfred Tesseron, who bought the property in the Napa mountains in 2016. Aromas of plums, wet earth, fresh herbs, and tobacco. Some green olives. Turns to blueberries and blackberries. Full-bodied, yet reserved and layered with chocolate, walnuts, and plums. Firm yet polished tannins give a framed sense to the wine. Savory. Racy and beautifully structured, it’s extremely drinkable already. Real wine. ~98 James Suckling

A blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, and 7% Cabernet Franc, the 2016 Pym-Rae displays a deep garnet-purple color and reveals wonderfully fragrant notes of candied violets, wilted roses, damp soil, and black tea over a core of red and black currants, black cherries and warm blackberries plus touches of cigar box and camphor. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is evocatively singular, offering that rock-solid structure of mountain fruit, yet these are wonderfully ripe, silt-like tannins that beautifully support the elegant red and black fruit layers, finishing very long and very perfumed. ~97 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

The 2016 Pym-Rae comes from an estate on Mount Veeder and is 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc, all aged in 70% new French oak and the balance in concrete vats. The first vintage for this cuvée, it's named after the original estate owner's children, Pym and Rae, which were their middle names. The 2016 is a beautiful wine and has a unique, rich, meaty character as well as lots of dark fruits, mountain scrub brush, tobacco, and leather that develops nicely with time in the glass, showing more and more fruit and purity with air. Full-bodied, nicely concentrated, and textured, it has a mass of tannins, beautiful mid-palate depth, and a solid spine of acidity that keeps it lively and fresh. It offers pleasure today yet is going to benefit from 5-7 years in the cellar. My money is on it evolving for 25-30 years. ~96+ Jeb Dunnuck

A blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, and 7% Cabernet Franc, with stunning aromas of black cherry, caramel, and oak. The entry is feather-light and almost ethereal, with black fruit descending softly on creamy, teeth-coating tannins. Cigar leaf and dark coffee further explore the depths of the wine’s primal heritage. ~96 Somm Journal

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