This post first appeared in
The Wine Cellar Insider
Breaking news to get your weekend off to a good start. Alfred Tesseron and Melanie Tesseron of Pontet Canet in Pauillac just closed a deal to purchase the Robin Williams Napa Valley vineyard and estate. Rumors place the price of the estate and vineyard at close to $20,000,000. This could end up being quite a smart purchase for the property by the Tesseron family. The estate first came on the market in 2012 priced at close to $35,000,000! Aside from being one of the most successful and popular wine makers and marketers in Bordeaux, Alfred Tesseron and Melanie Tesseron are also successful in Cognac with their Tesseron brand. However, this is the first vineyard purchased by Alfred Tesseron outside of Bordeaux.
The large 640 acre estate is known as Villa Sorriso, (which is translated to “Villa of Smiles”) was originally purchased by Robin Williams in 1994. The sprawling 640 acre estate has slightly more than 18 acres of vines planted on Mt. Veeder. Additionally, the deal includes a 2 story Italian styled villa, movie theater, 5 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, tennis court and infinity pool in a tidy, 20,000 square feet home. A barn and stables are also part of the property, which is a good thing as they use horses to work the vineyards in Bordeaux and they might also use horses in the Napa Valley,
The 18 acres of vines are ideally placed in the Mt. Veeder appellation, high up in 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. The grapes were previously sold to other growers including Robert Craig and Rombauer. It is unknown how much of the additional acreage is able to be planted at this point. Mt. Veeder, with its volcanic soils is best known for producing, tannic, powerful, age worthy, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon wines.
Alfred Tesseron has been looking for the right deal in Northern California for several years, but until recently, was not able to find the right situation. Since 1994, when Alfred Tesseron took over control of Pontet Canet, the improvements brought about by Alfred Tesseron have been nothing short of amazing! In those days, the wine was considered a decent, inexpensive Pauillac. Today, that is not the case as Pontet Canet has scored 100 Pts from Robert Parker on 2009 and 2010 and the wine is now considered one of the must have wines from the Left Bank of Bordeaux.
At Pontet Canet they are 100% biodynamic in their vineyard management techniques. It is expected that the team of Pontet Canet, including Alfred Tesseron, Melanie Tesseron and Jean Michel Comme will continue those same practices in the Napa Valley. Due to the continuing water shortage experienced by growers in Napa Valley, it is a fair assumption that they will dry farm and continue utilizing biodynamic farming techniques in Napa Valley.
The post Alfred Tesseron of Pontet Canet buys Robin Williams Napa Vineyard was originally published in The Wine Cellar Insider.