Mondavi dynasty continues The year 2013 was a big one for Californian winemaker Tim Mondavi, a co-founder of Napa Valley's Continuum Estate. He opened a new winery just in time to bring in his 40th harvest, which, he believes, is the best he has ever made.
It would also have marked the 100th birthday of his famed winemaker father, Robert Mondavi, who passed away in 2008. In commemoration, Tim's daughter, Chiara, a winemaker and artist, designed a special label showing a dove flying over the vineyard, to symbolise her grandfather protecting the workers and land.
"I am happy with 2013," Mondavi says. "There was an alignment with the grape grower, writer and wine lover."
Mondavi's family business philosophy will resonate with traditional Asian values. He is a perfectionist whose goal is "producing wine at the highest level and living [my] dream by doing what I love, doing it as best as I can, and providing the opportunity for my children to access the wine world".
Continuum Estate is located on the eastern side of Napa Valley, on Pritchard Hill, on west- and southwest-facing slopes at an altitude of 400 to 500 metres. Influenced by the sloping sites of Burgundy's grand cru vineyards, Mondavi picked the site specifically for cabernet franc grapes. This difficult variety performs well under the moderate stress placed on the vines by the area's volcanic soil. Mondavi believes vine vigour is lower on slopes, producing smaller and more concentrated fruit with higher quality tannins. "The higher elevation produces wines with more personality, more layers, texture, nuances and delicacy," he says.
In contrast, he says, cabernet sauvignon vines are more resilient and do well in most sites.
A blend of 66 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 21 per cent cabernet franc, 9 per cent petit verdot and 4 per cent merlot. Mondavi likes cabernet franc, an increasingly important component of the wine, as he believes it adds silkiness to the palate as it ages.
The year provided almost perfect growing conditions for the vines. "Overall, 2013 was a fabulous year; balanced, ripe, concentrated and beautifully structured," Mondavi says.
Rich dense black fruit and licorice. Concentrated and powerful on the palate, structured with intense ripe fruit, soft tannins and balanced acidity, finishing very long. This wine can be enjoyed now but will keep and improve over the next decade. HK$1,650
A blend of 75 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 11 per cent cabernet franc, 12 per cent petit verdot and 2 per cent merlot.
The year was a challenging one, with cold, wet growing conditions. Vineyard location played an important role in mitigating the poor weather as vines were protected from the fog and well-draining soils prevented diluted fruit.
Fragrant and perfumed blackcurrant, black cherry and floral notes. Elegant with fine tannins, lighter-bodied and delicate fruit. Perfect for drinking now. HK$1,645
Made from 77 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 12 per cent cabernet franc, 7 per cent petit verdot and 4 per cent merlot.
Dry and cooler weather conditions in 2009 produced healthy vines with high fruit concentration.
Opulent, ripe black fruit and savoury, meaty notes. Full-bodied and concentrated on the palate with well integrated tannins, this is a wine starting to show its full potential. HK$1,585
The wines available from www.linksconcept.com.hk