After many countless friendly encounters with Tim Mondavi at different restaurants and wine functions last month, it reminded me once again that I had yet to visit his winery, Continuum. Now with their winery almost complete and harvest almost finished, it was the perfect time to visit. Before heading out of the country last week, I visited with Stu Harrison, their Director of Sales and Marketing and a longtime member of the Mondavi team for over 25 years. Having never met him before, it was a huge treat to spend the afternoon with him and later with Tim and Carrie Findleton, who’s in charge of all wine protocols.
With my newest addition to our DEAN & DELUCA wine team, Lalo Vela, and with Ramsey in tow, we headed up Pritchard Hill’s third driveway to see this incredible property. The highlights of the afternoon were the following:
1. Getting to know and spend time with Stu Harrison- Stu was very much a part of creating and building Oakville’s AVA and in reality, worked hard to shape the Napa Valley for what it is today. His passion and knowledge of the property and of Napa Valley is unsurpassed.
2. Accidentally running into Tim Mondavi – we literally almost ran into his truck passing each other on the property. He later met up with us at the tasting room and shared with us the gamut of his experiences from his time working at Mondavi Winery to the cultivation of what is Continuum today.
3. The WINE - tasting the 2010 Continuum was enough of a treat but then Stu left to find another vintage to compare. He came back with a bottle of 2005 Continuum. It was INCREDIBLE to taste the difference between the ’05 and ’10. The ‘10 was entirely Continuum Estate fruit whereas the ’05 was crafted using fruit from the famed Tokalon Vineyard in Oakville. Yet despite their differences in fruit source and percentages of varietals included, their style of wine was indisputably similar; meaning, Tim’s signature touches were on both releases. In the glass, the velvety, silky mouthfeel was evident both along with a lingering, lush finish.
4. Checking out the new winery facility – Yes, the winery is extraordinary as its modern, sleek lines (thanks to the renowned architect Howard Backen) nestle perfectly into the hillside of the far end of the Pritchard Hill property, but what makes this newly built space even more impressive, is that it all makes sense, even for a non-winemaking person like myself. As they described why they built certain areas the way they did and how they came up with the idea for certain elements to be included, I found myself shaking my head with a yes, of course that makes sense. Beautiful and functional is the best way to describe this impressive new winery.
5. The view – wherever you look, in whichever direction you’re facing, you’ll see something striking. Whether it be a block of vineyard sloping down towards Lake Hennessey or the panoramic view of the valley looking southwest from the tasting room, this property offers a natural high to your senses.
Here are a few photos I took during our visit. Enjoy! - Kerrin Laz, Wine Director / email@example.com