Conundrum is a true California wine, with grapes sourced from Napa, Monterey, Santa Barbara and Tulare counties. We often hear the phrase "exotic" when described. It's a fitting portrayal; there is no other wine quite like it.
Each lot of wine is treated separately to respect its unique flavor profile. This approach starts in our vineyards and continues in the cellar. We keep some lots in cool-temperature stainless steel to maintain fresh, crisp aromas and fruit flavors; and age some lots in a combination of French barrels.
Floral bouquet nose with a dominance of honeysuckle. Muscat is the defining/alluring factor in the aroma of this wine. Enters round with a Chardonnay weight to it then quickly lightens up to reveal the additional varietals. Sauvignon Blanc adds an herbal element while the Viognier adds a spicy character. The Chardonnay brings weight mid palate and Muscat adds an undeniable honey character to finish things off.
It was the summer of 1989, a year ripe with possibilities and promise. All around the globe, old ways of thinking were giving way to new ideas. In the culinary world, traditional dishes were being reinvented by a generation of chefs who were open to the possibility of exploring adventurous new cuisine. At Caymus, we were similarly inspired to break free of the norm and began to redefine white wine. And in 1989, Conundrum was born.
From our very first vintage we were determined to make a dramatically different white-wine blend that would surpass the scope of single-varietal wines. Just as chefs were exploring the fusion of flavors from classic to contemporary, from east to west, often combining savory, spicy, herbal and fruity flavors in one dish, we explored how non-traditional combinations of grape varietals would work together. We wanted each varietal to be distinctive but still complementary to blend as a whole. After experimenting with eleven different white wines, we chose a select few that we consider the 'key ingredients'. For over twenty years we have continued to perfect the fine art of blending a 'conundrum' of varietals together, to create a remarkably complex, yet harmonious symphony of flavors. More recently we adapted the same approach for the Conundrum Red blend creation when we released the first vintage in 2011.
To make each wine even more complex, we take great care in keeping each parcel of fruit separate throughout the entire winemaking process. As a result, when the time comes to blend the wine, we have a lot of diversity in aromas, flavors and textures to work with. That's when the creative juices begin to flow. The proportions of each varietal vary slightly each vintage, as Mother Nature hands us new "ingredients." But our goal is always the same: a highly styled, complex and delicious wine that is excellent as an apéritif and pairs beautifully with the wide-ranging, global dishes we are eating as chefs and home cooks experiment with new, cutting-edge cuisine.
View all Conundrum Wines
California has nearly 100 American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) and accounts for almost 90% of wine production in the United States. In our section of Other California, we include wines from smaller AVAs as well as wines from the California AVA. Here are a few smaller AVAs you may see on the label:
Livermore Valley AVA
, located right outside of San Francisco and home to wineries such as Wente.
Lodi County AVA
, an AVA further east of San Francisco and known for its excellent, old-vine Zinfandels.
San Francisco Bay AVA
, a sprawling AVA that covers Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, to name a few.
Wine that holds only the California AVA is typically a wine that includes grapes from a number of different AVAs, which leads to the general labeling of the wine as California. This does not denote the quality of the wine, only the diversity of where the grapes originate.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Excellent on the palate...bursts of grape Muscat flavor, and very honey-like as noted by the winemaker. Floral notes are also noticeable but delicate and refined. This is somewhat of a sweet blend, but not over-powering by any means. Very well orchestrated. Excellent!
I'm not a big fan of white other than a really good chardonnay, but this blend was nice. I could see drinking it with anything. I don't know the description ling but for me it was sweet and not dry (would that be wet?)
Just tried it and this is an awesome wine. It's a blend of 5 grapes: chardonnay, viognier, sauvignon blanc, semillon, and muscat (that's right, muscat). This borders on being a dessert wine with hints of vanilla and pear, but this would be a great wine to have after dinner while watching The Office.
Drinkable, glad I didn't pay more then $15 locally, slightly more sweet then dry, it opens like a decent SB with citrus (especially grapefruit) flavors. Tried it - probably won't again. KJ's Summation a far better option...
I am so glad you asked how I liked this Conundrum 2009. I was very, very disappointed. I remember from the '90s a completely different quality and taste. I am getting sick right now, just choking on the memory of the sweetness and the memory of the money I spent for a whole case! I remember more of an oaky chardonnay contribution than the current "Boones Farm-like" nasty aroma in the 2009. I have learned to appreciate $10 bottles of chard that taste better than this one I paid $20 for! What am I going to do with the other 19 bottles? I would love to make a trade with someone who likes this vintage(ouch!) for something with an oaky/buttery hint of a taste. You see, this is my conundrum. $250 metaphorically down the drain.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.