Continuum’s Sage Mountain Vineyard on Pritchard Hill, high in the Vaca Range above Oakville, represents something very special in the Napa Valley. It’s a triple-threat: A magic, high-altitude terroir, studded with giant andesite boulders. Almost 100 years of familial grapegrowing and winemaking knowledge. And finally, an unwavering commitment to excellence, without compromise.
When nature provides a pitch perfect vintage, the results are almost predictable. Under the careful guidance of Tim Mondavi (son of Robert Mondavi and wine veteran who honed his craft over several decades in the vineyards and cellars of Opus One, Ornellaia, Luce and Sena in Chile), they delivered an absolutely stunning wine. Depth, richness and tightly engrained minerality come from rocky soils that yielded less than 3,000 cases for the world and we are privileged to offer a small allocation to share with you.
Antonio Galloni called it “a wine of considerable aromatic intensity and power,” and James Suckling loved its “fantastic focus and beauty with blackberries, mineral, lead pencil, graphite and stones. Full body, juicy fruit and silky tannins.” This wine makes a solid case for Continuum to be considered one of the great estates of the Napa Valley. Limited Availability.
Tim Mondavi is pure vision when it comes to Continuum, his family-run estate on Pritchard Hill, and his purpose is clear; to make one wine, from one specific site and make it on a world-class level. His singular focus is a philosophy that was a voice ignored leading up to the sale of the Robert Mondavi family of wines to Constellation. It’s hard to imagine what it must be like to sell your family name, (especially one with the importance of his family’s) to the California wine industry. Continuum is a new lease on life for Tim and his family and it’s obvious that they’re putting it all on the line. Even his daughter, Carissa, is able to rattle off every detail of the land from the water table to the soil types, different exposures, aspects of vigor and the highly detailed and proactive ways in which they intend to act as long-term stewards of their amazing property. Tim also has his winemaking approach dialed in like Ben Hogan’s golf swing. He has a very clear picture of the wine he wants to make and how to go about creating it. All of the elements are now in place: A mature vineyard at the top of Pritchard Hill, an estate winery on site where the wines are made from start to finish as of 2013 and an entire family dedicated to the pursuit of greatness. The future is bright for the Mondavi clan, and we're thrilled to be a part of it.
The 2016 Proprietary Red is blended of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc, 18% Petit Verdot and 5% Merlot. Deep garnet-purple colored, it emits an incredible array of seductive floral notes—violets, lavender and rose hip tea—with a core of warm cassis, redcurrant jelly, dark chocolate, cigar box, tapenade and crushed rocks plus hints of bay leaves, beef drippings and yeast extract. Medium to full-bodied, the palate explodes with vivacious black fruit sparked by red fruit, herbal and mineral accents. It is framed with a rock-solid line of firm, grainy, super ripe tannins and finishes with fantastic fragrance and freshness. Wow!
This shows fantastic focus and beauty with blackberries, mineral, lead pencil, graphite and stones. Full body, juicy fruit and silky tannins. Long and flavorful. Great potential.
I tasted the 2016 Continuum from two hypothetical blends, both of which point to a vintage of significant potential. The first blend reveals a wine of considerable aromatic intensity and power, while the second shows the more nuanced side of the estate. Both are compelling.