Wine Stars: Tim and Carissa Mondavi of Continuum

Part of Napa Valley’s legendary winemaking family is now on Pritchard Hill, making Cabernet blends with finesse

Wine Stars: Tim and Carissa Mondavi of Continuum
Continuum Estate's father-daughter team of Tim and Carissa Mondavi are 2019 Wine Experience Wine Stars. (Rick Wenner)
Oct 21, 2019

“If you’re not familiar with the Mondavi name, you’re probably in the wrong room,” Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth joked while introducing veteran winemaker Tim Mondavi and his daughter Carissa at the Wine Experience.

Tim Mondavi represents the third generation of the Mondavi winemaking family in California’s Napa Valley. His grandfather Cesare Mondavi started selling wine grapes in 1919 and bought Charles Krug Winery in 1943. His father Robert founded his namesake winery in 1966, where Tim made his first vintage in 1974. Tim played a key role in establishing Opus One and for decades led Robert Mondavi Winery’s winemaking operations.

In 2005, following Constellation Brands’ buyout of Robert Mondavi Corp., Tim and his family embarked on a new venture, atop Napa’s Pritchard Hill, launching Continuum Estate.

“Our family has had to reinvent itself with every generation,” said Carissa, representing the fourth, “but I think with every step we have been able to refine and focus our commitment to great wine.”

Continuum Estate’s Sage Mountain Vineyard, with vines ranging in age from nine years to nearly 30, sits at 1,300 to 1,600 feet elevation, and has supplied 100 percent of the Continuum fruit since the 2012 vintage. “Continuum is our family’s grand cru on top of the world,” Tim said. “It’s a culmination of all that has come before, it is our dream come true, and it’s a work in progress.”

The Mondavis brought their Continuum Napa Valley 2013 (94 points, $225), a Cabernet Sauvignon–based blend, with a “beautiful iron core and vibrancy that is such an expression of this beautiful place,” said Carissa. “A hallmark of Dad’s winemaking: exquisitely balanced, texturally driven, layers of complexity, approachable in youth, but all the components to stand the test of time.” True of the wine, and true of the Mondavis.

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