Anointed 94 points by Robert Parker, the first release, the 1986 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red, launched Pahlmeyer’s astonishing track record of critical acclaim.
In 1989, Jayson invited rising star winemaker Bob Levy to produce the first vintages of Pahlmeyer Chardonnay. The 1991 Chardonnay sold out immediately, giving Jayson good reason to decline a screenwriter’s request for samples to use in a Hollywood movie. In the end, though, he acquiesced, and to his great surprise, the wine’s big role in the battle-of-the-sexes blockbuster disclosure helped further the frenzy surrounding Pahlmeyer.
In 1993, Helen Turley took the winemaking reins, beginning her own rise to prominence. She and her team – including protégé Erin Green - furthered the work of Dunn and Levy, improving the quality and consistency of Pahlmeyer wines through winegrowing, grape sourcing and winemaking innovation.
To push quality to even greater heights, Helen urged Jayson to develop estate vineyards. She was instrumental in finding Pahlmeyer’s high-elevation Napa Valley estate vineyard, planted in 1998 to red Bordeaux varieties and Chardonnay. In that same year, a stone’s throw from her famed Marcassin Vineyard on the extreme Sonoma Coast, she found the Wayfarer estate ideally situated for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Both estate vineyards were planted by viticulture legend David Abreu in 1998 and 2002, respectively.