In January 2016, the Tesseron family 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 in respect to the previous owners, the Tesserons have chosen to continue this name for the domain’s wine. For a family owning vineyards of exceptional quality, a place of great reputation and potential was necessary. An obvious choice was Napa in California. But not just anywhere in the Valley.
The climate’s generous nature needed to be moderated by locally cool conditions: this meant a high-altitude vineyard. To produce deep and balanced wines, sedimentary soils were needed with historic marine deposits gradually evolved over millions of years. The Mount Veeder region provided all of this. The vineyard had to be planted with Bordeaux varieties, the same that the family had experience with at Pontet-Canet. Finally, the vines had to be mature as only older plants have established a deep root system, allowing them to extract the terroir’s purest expression and minerality which will yield full and complex wines. It is not the easiest land to cultivate, because certain areas are steep and precipitous, resulting in only a modest crop of grapes. It is a remote location, like an island of nature, in the middle of nowhere. And to reach it requires a determined effort.