From the owners of Chateau Pontet-Canet comes Pym-Rae, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Alfred Tesseron, proprietor of the highly regarded Classified Chateau in Pauillac purchased Pym-Rae from Robin Williams’ family in late 2015 (Pym and Rae are the middle names of Robin Williams' two eldest children). The approximately 18 acres of vines had been planted by Williams back in 1990.
Pontet-Canet was the first Bordeaux Classified Growth to be certified biodynamic, and so they instituted biodynamic agriculture at Pym-Rae. To urge the vines to work harder and reach deep into the soil, they pulled out all of the irrigation and made the estate 100% dry-farmed. And since the vines are working so hard they use a unique training system called "bridge" where instead of trimming back the vines they let them grow and bend them in semi-circular arches above the rows.
The grapes are all hand picked, manually sorted and then destemmed and crushed also by hand. No use of pumps or automatic temperature control. Extraction is made gently thanks to small sized concrete vats. Great care is taken during each step of vinification and temperatures are measured and adjusted manually. World renowned Oenologist Michel Rolland is the winemaking consultant. The wine is aged in 70% new French oak barrels and 30% concrete tanks for 16 months. This 2016 is the first release from this estate and has already received high praise.
The Wine Advocate scored this 97 points saying "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."
James Suckling scored this 98 points saying "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."