Continuum is the apotheosis of the Mondavi family’s four-generation quest to champion Napa; to understand and express its terroir and, in so doing, produce some of California’s –  and the world’s – greatest red wines.

We were deprived of a 2020 Continuum by vicious wildfires, so the 2021, released today, comes even more hotly anticipated. The 2021 vintage, rated near-perfect by the Napa Vintners’ Association, has yielded a Continuum of exceptional concentration and detail – ‘a wine for the ages’ in the words of Tim Mondavi.

No family has played a more important role in the history of Napa winemaking than the Mondavis. In the thirties, Cesare Mondavi was among the first to identify Napa’s potential for vine growing. His son, Robert Mondavi, would go on to become the most influential winemaker in America (and arguably the world) and establish Opus One.

Continuum was born from Tim Mondavi’s (son of Robert) desire to build on his father and grandfather’s legacy. An exhaustive search of Napa’s terroir led Tim to Pritchard Hill; a rugged, isolated site with breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay, where the crisp air (it lies at some 1,300 to 1,600 feet) is perfumed by wild herbs – hence the name Sage Mountain Vineyard.

Huge, rust-coloured boulders, excavated when the vines were planted, stand like ancient monoliths around the Continuum estate, an insight into the intricate volcanic soils that seem to resonate through the wine’s intense mineral character.

There is magic in the vineyard and stardust in the cellar, where Tim today works alongside daughter Chiara. We this week hosted a Continuum masterclass with Tim at London’s Raffles Hotel, a suitably sophisticated venue. The vertical tasting showcased the estate’s fine-tuning over successive vintages, culminating in the spectacular 2021.

2021 Continuum

6x75cl – £1,200 IB

“A vintage set apart for its perseverance and resilience, 2021 Continuum is one of refined concentration – a resounding expression of both measured intensity and enduring vibrancy. This is a multi-layered magnificent vintage that reveals floral notes, with black cherry and wild foraged mixed berries throughout. One can perceive the chemise, sage, and bay giving a gorgeous savory expression, reflective of the natural environment that surrounds our Sage Mountain Vineyard. 2021 is a wine of incredible complexity and nuance – a wine for the ages. “

Winemaker’s note

A true icon of the Napa Valley, albeit with a lower profile than neighboring estates such as Colgin, in keeping with Tim Mondavi and Continuum’s understated style. Continuum – a wine with immense capacity to age – is a must for any cellar. A small crop in 2021 and the absence of the 2020 means we expect demand to far outstrip supply, so please register your interest as soon as possible with the Stannary team.

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