The Mondavi family pervasively form part of California wine-making tapestry. They are responsible for the truly great Californian wine Opus One, originally formed as a joint venture between Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Mouton Rothschild. Continuum represents a celebration of the family’s rich history in Napa Valley, heralding from a single estate; no second wine is made. Continuum, as the name suggests, is a partnership between Robert Mondavi’s children, Tim and Marcia and Tim’s four children, Robert was the founding partner. The vision is clear, so is the family’s intent, to make a single proprietary red wine to rival Opus One and to be recognised as one of the world’s great wines. Antonio Galloni says that, ‘Tim Mondavi’s Bordeaux blend hasn’t missed a beat in recent vintages’.
Continuum was founded in 2005, its first vintage, made entirely from purchased grapes. However, Tim Mondavi always envisioned producing a wine from his own estate grapes. In 2008, they purchased Cloud View vineyards on top of the famous Pritchard Hill vineyard. “After searching three years for the perfect soil, climate and aspect, we now have a great site suited to our commitment of establishing a wine estate recognized among the finest in the world.” Tim Mondavi said. “It is important to us that my father had seen and blessed this site.” In addition, in 2008 Tim and his children planted the first continuum vineyard vines. Pritchard Hill is special, boasting terroir rich in iron from the volcanic soil. What makes the 2012 so special is that it is the first vintage to derive 100% from Pritchard Hill!
The 62 acre hilltop property is a far cry from the valley floor, cited at 1,300 to 1,600 feet, a perfect setting for the Cabernet Sauvignon. Aside from the glorious soil its position is above the fog line, resulting in warmer days and cooler afternoon temperatures, the result of which is ripe grapes which retain their acidity. Pritchard Hill is becoming the family’s crown jewel, after all, vines have been planted in the vineyard since the 1880’s and two of Napa’s seven recognised cult wines, Bryant family and Colgin are located nearby. In fact their Pritchard Hill property is cited next to Chappellet.
The Mondavi family are expending all of their savoire-faire, balancing classic techniques with modern innovation. Continuum is aged in 100% new French oak, all grapes are hand harvested, hand sorted and passed through a gravity tank into small oak tanks where it is fermented. The Mondavi family’s penchant for Bordeaux is apparent here, but the racking (refining the wine through a process settling the sediment) regime is more akin to Burgundy, with just three to four rackings before bottling without fining or filtration. For all these reasons Continuum is a wine to start collecting now, it is nearly impossible to source vintages older than two years, such is its demand and rarity.
The bottle is also special, reflecting the Mondavi family’s passion. The label is called the ‘Light of the Vine’, based on a painting by Chiara Mondavi, Tim’s daughter. Her painting shadows an old Cabernet Franc vine Tim planted 25 years ago, its silhouette is captured on canvas and this glorious bottle! Continuum has allowed Tim Mondavi to come full circle continuing his father’s legacy. “It is also interesting to know that one can physically locate our new property by drawing a straight line from the tower of Robert Mondavi Winery, through the crown of Opus One, to a place just above the ridge line on the eastern hills above Oakville. Continuum has found a home on Pritchard Hill.”
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