Continuum Red Blend 2017 is made from 54% Cabernet Sauvignon,31% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot, 6% Merlot
VINTAGE NOTES- The 2018 growing season was a winemaker’s dream given the overall cooler weather patterns paired with ample sunshine. The spring brought timely, abundant rainfall nourishing the earth and setting the stage for a healthy crop. Moderately cool temperatures post veraison allowed the fruit an extended hang time, retaining vibrancy and evolving character complexity. Berry size was smaller than average, however berry count was up given the bountiful rain, leading to a relatively generous crop size for the estate at 2.4 tons per acre, still quite small by any measure. Harvest began 135 days from bloom on September 27th, and continued at an unforced and purposeful pace, reflecting the fewest degree days on record for August and September. Harvest concluded on October 22nd.
WINEGROWING- Continuum is estate grown on our Sage Mountain Vineyard. It’s location, high on Pritchard Hill along the eastern ridge above Oakville, overlooks Napa Valley and the San Francisco Bay. The rocky, volcanic soils of the site focus the vine’s energy keeping yields low yielding fruit of depth and complexity. 38 acres of mature estate vineyard, planted in 1991 and 1996, with additional plantings in 2004, 2010, together comprise 38 distinct vineyard blocks. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Merlot are grown from 1300 to 1600 feet in elevation, on western and southern facing aspects with slight northern and eastern slopes in places. This diversity of plantings on our volcanic soils are the essence of the complexity of Continuum.
PRODUCTION- Continuum is 100% estate grown, produced and bottled. All fruit is selectively hand-harvested at night. The fruit is then sorted before and after de-stemming, and gravity fed into French oak or concrete tanks. A threeday cold soak is followed by fermentation, receiving three to four pumpovers daily, and délestage two to three times in total during the most active period. The wine remains on skins in tank for 20 to 40 days. All lots are then drained, basket pressed, and transferred with lees for malolactic fermentation and aging. In 2018, Continuum spent 22 months in barrel. 63 percent of French oak barrels were new and 35 percent were once used. A single concrete amphora was also used for aging. The wine clarified slowly and settled naturally in our cold barrel room, was racked sparingly and bottled without fining or filtration. Each vineyard lot was tasted and carefully considered many times to assemble the 2018 blend. TASTING NOTES- 2018 Continuum shows energy and verve. The wine expresses purity and precision, with high tone aromatics of red and blue fruit, deep plum and rose oil. This vintage shows an approachable nerve of the land in the refined mineral quality on the palate. The surrounding native vegetation of bay and sage is evidenced in an earthy, savory profile. This is a shimmering, silky and harmoniously integrated wine with densely packed fine grain tannins. 2018 Continuum is a wine for the ages, delicious today with a long life ahead.
DECANTING- For the fullest sensory experience we encourage decanting to allow the wine to breathe before serving. Decanting awakens the wine’s more purely fragrant expression and enhances the suppleness of the palate. Continuum is accessible and enjoyable upon release; however extended aging will be richly rewarded.
Composed of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot and 6% Merlot, the deep garnet-purple 2018 Proprietary Red has a fantastically fragrant nose of candied violets, red roses, Morello cherries and blackcurrant pastilles with hints of wild blueberries, red currant jelly, iron ore and forest floor, plus a waft of cinnamon stick. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is completely packed with tightly wound black and red berry layers, framed by firm, ripe, finely grained tannins and seamless freshness, finishing with incredibly persistent and evocative floral and mineral layers. An absolute head-turner, this 2018 is all that and then some. Tim Mondavi mentioned that this is due to be bottled in just a few weeks—mid-August—meaning this barrel sample I tasted is pretty close to being a finished wine. With the estate vineyard turning 10 year's old in 2018, here's where we see how incredibly special this singular Pritchard Hill site really is. -Wine Advocate 98-100 Points