Day 2 - Continuum

Continuum is the legacy of Tim Mondavi and sister Marcia, two of the three siblings of the late Robert Mondavi. Their stunning vineyards and winery are located between 1325 to 1625 feet elevation in the Pritchard Hills overlooking the Napa Valley… the views are breathtaking. Tim and Marcia purchased the existing vineyards in 2005 (original vines planted in 1991 & 1996) and commenced a new planting program in 2008. The vines are planted on a series of slopes with varying degrees of steepness and the plantings are 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Cabernet Franc, the rest a mix of Merlot and Petit Verdot.

Their vision… to produce a single Cabernet led wine (hence the tiny plantings of Merlot and Petit Verdot) that is to be the only expression of the vineyard and envisaged to become the true 1st Growth Cabernet of California over time.

They finished construction of their amazing state of the art winery (see pictures) that is sensitively blended into the landscape and was finished in time for the 2013 vintage to mark the 100th year of their legendary father (the late) Robert Mondavi. Even going to the extent of bringing onto the property 100-year-old olive trees and replanting them in the courtyard leading to the winery.

There are many impressive facets of the winery, but where it counts is in the fermentation room fitted with a mix of larger wooden cuves and concrete fermenters where lots of separate batch ferments take place before the final blend is decided. It is impressive in both its winemaking tools and philosophies and its undoubted costliness.

Finally, we adjourned to the right-hand maturation hall where a long table had been set for us, to experience the 2014 Continuum (superb vintage in the Napa), with a couple of thoughtfully chosen hard cheeses, plain bread and the estates olive oil, simple yet majestic!

2014 Continuum is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 15% Petit Verdot and 5% Merlot. The wine… utterly magnificent! The combination of energy, harmony, graceful tannins and bright acids wrapped around a subtley powerful body of pure fruit was captivating. So, balanced and approachable as a youthful wine yet you knew it would last for a couple of decades with ease. The finest wine of the tour so far, it will be hard to top.

After officially thanking our hosts Lindsay and Chris, we were transported back down the long and steep driveway in a trio of SUV's to meet our coach (could not get up the driveway – to narrow with overhanging trees) parked by the boat ramp at the lake below. 30-minutes later we were back at our hotel in Napa, meeting again at 8.00pm for a group dinner at a restaurant 100-metres walk from our hotel.

Tomorrow will be a free day for the group (4 wine visits in 2-days warrants some free time), there will be much to explore in Napa, several of us are playing golf at a nearby resort course… aptly named the “Chardonnay Course”.