croppedimage680368 Continuum2013 v2

CLOSER LOOK: Continuum, Proprietary Red 2013


Posted in: Wine Investment

Tagged: Closer Look US Wines

Key Points;

  • 2013 is arguably the greatest ever year for the region.
  • Not scored yet by Parker but certainly potential for a 98-100 point score.
    - 97 Galloni and 99pts from Suckling.
    - Highest ever score from both critics.
    - Only the 9th vintage – seriously impressive results.
    - Hard to find a winery that has received such accolades in such a short space of time.
  • In the context of the leading wines from Napa, this is great value given the quality and limited supply.
  • Approx. 1,200 cases produced.
  • 2013 is the 100th anniversary of Robert Mondavi’s birth.
  • This is the first vintage to be made in its entirety at the winery.
  • Current Benchmark Market Price (Liv-ex) for 2013 vintage = £1,830 per 12


Estate Overview:

A single wine vineyard that was launched by Robert Mondavi and his son Tim in 2005. A Bordeaux inspired wine that is Cabernet Sauvignon led, the vision for Continuum is for it be considered one of the finest wines produced in Napa. No expense is spared ensuring their wines are the best they can be, and the estate is at the forefront of innovation with regards to wine making techniques; perhaps the most advanced winery in the world.


Tasting Notes:

Impressive purity of fruit and definition with black currant, oyster shell, blueberries and slate. Graphite too. Very complex yet subtle. Full-bodied, very chewy and powerful yet polished and gorgeous. Muscular, well-formed tannins. Electric style. Best ever from here. Drink in 2020.

99 pts, James Suckling 2013


Graphite, lavender, sage, cloves and menthol race out of the glass in the 2013 Continuum, a wine that is just as impressive in bottle as it was from barrel. An intensely saline, mineral-drenched wine endowed with serious depth and precision, the 2013 shines with exceptional structural intensity and power, all that despite just having been bottled. In 2013 the Cabernet Franc is way up, which helps give the wine more aromatic top notes as well as greater overall complexity. Simply put, the 2013 is a real knock-out.

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2015 97 pts


California – A market Overview:

Over the past 5 years increasing demand for these wines around the world has resulted in a number of key estates witnessing price development that has been unrivalled in any area of the global market. Whilst returns and value have been difficult to find in traditional regions such as Bordeaux investor strategy towards the US market has accelerated over the past few years. European collectors mainly focussing on the leading brands which boast universal critic appraisal, namely Screaming Eagle Winery, Opus One, Dominus, Scarecrow & Harlan Estate. With the exception of Opus One, all the aforementioned are produced in tiny quantities, and as their reputation continues to grow in new markets, we are bound to see prices climb. In fact, last December when Liv-ex released its latest edition (10th) of the Power 100, it compiled a table to show the strongest price performers (see link below), the top two spots were occupied by wines form California; Scarecrow and Screaming Eagle, gaining an average of 19.9% and 15.1% over the course of the year. We believe this is part of a wider trend of rising prices for the region that has largely contributed to the positive trajectory of the Rest of the World Index over the past decade; the same index is up 5% over the last quarter.

Furthermore when analysing the performance of this area of the market using the Sharpe Ratio calculation, we uncovered that Opus One, Dominus and Screaming Eagle are amongst the top 20 wines ranked by risk adjusted returns.


Sharpe Ratio

Sharpe Ratio: The Sharpe ratio is the average return earned in excess of the risk-free rate per unit of volatility or total risk. The greater the value of the Sharpe ratio, the more attractive the risk-adjusted return.


Much like the Burgundy side of the market the rest of the world 50 has proved extremely resilient during difficult periods for both the wine market and the wider economy, graph below;



Continuum – Back Vintage Overview:

Back Vintages

*Based on loose bottle prices.
**no bottles or cases listed, so based on the average bottle price from Wine Searcher.

An interesting comparison for Continuum wines is the Bryant Family Vineyard which is also situated on Pritchard Hill. One of the original ‘cult wines’, this vineyard emerged in the early 1990s alongside Screaming Eagle, Harlan and Colgin. The reputation of the estate has grown since their maiden vintage, and whilst it would premature to suggest that the price for Continuum wines should converge with its neighbour estate, should the winery sustain its meteoric rise, the following do provide useful benchmarks:

Back Vinatges

*based on loose bottle prices, as there are no OWC cases available.


Parker on 2013 California:

2012 was a great vintage for nearly every varietal in North Coast California, but what is even more remarkable is that 2013 may turn out to be the finest vintage I have experienced in tasting North Coast varietals over the last 37 years. It's a game-changer in terms of the consistency of quality, the depth of quality, and the across-the-board excellence for so many wines.

Robert Parker Oct 2015

A landmark year for Napa. A remarkable 19 wines were rated at 100 pts by RP, with a further 11 given 99 or 99+. Whilst Continuum has not yet been rated by RP (we are expecting this by the end of 2016), it is fair to assume that the score will be high. The style of wine is something that is very much aligned to Parker’s taste, and the ratings from other critics have already been higher than any other previous vintage. As with the Bryant comparison above, the below estates provide us with an idea of the potential of an estate in Napa, should the global reputation reach a very high level. At this stage, the current price for Dominus represents the most interesting viable benchmark.



Summary Points:


  • Greater awareness and appreciation for Californian wines from wine collectors outside of the US.
  • Continuum is another Bordeaux inspired effort which has serious scope for growth.
    - Still early days for the estate but what they have accomplished in a short space of time is very impressive.
  • Benchmarks are very favourable against neighbouring Bryant Family Vineyard and other illustrious Napa wines.
  • Highest ever rating from Galloni and Suckling.
  • 2013 could be Parker’s highest rated vintage?
    - 2007 is 98pts.
  • 2013 is potentially the greatest ever vintage for the region.



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