White Wines    Other White Blends    Other California    California   
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Date Printed: 10/1/2014
Conundrum White Blend 2010
Conundrum White Blend 2010
(search item no. 111472)
screw cap wine

Wine Spectator rating: 89 points
Wine Enthusiast rating: 87 points
PRICE ON 10/1/2014: $19.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2007 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points
2006 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points

Winemaker's Notes:

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.

This unique, non-traditional white wine blend was created to offer full-flavored fruit and enough complexity to match the creative dishes being offered by today's generation of chefs. Conundrum can be served with every course from appetizer to dessert and pairs beautifully with spicy foods and full-flavored Asian cuisine. The "conundrum," or puzzle, of this wine is in guessing which grapes make up the blend.

My Notes:

Additional wines from Conundrum:

About Conundrum:

This unique, non-traditional white wine blend was created to offer full-flavored fruit and enough complexity to match the creative dishes being offered by today’s generation of chefs. Conundrum can be served with every course from appetizer to dessert, and pairs beautifully with spicy foods and full-flavored Asian cuisine.

The "conundrum", or puzzle, of this wine is in guessing which grapes make up the blend; a combination that includes Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Muscat Canelli, Semillon and Viognier. Conundrum is a true California wine, with grapes sourced from Napa, Monterey, Santa Barbara and Tulare counties. Winemaker Jon Bolta began to craft the style for Conundrum in 1988.

The twist cap closure protects the fine aromas and flavors of this distinctive blend, allowing the bottle to be easily re-closed and refrigerated. The airtight cap also eliminates the possibility of cork taint.

Conundrum is owned by the Wagner family of Caymus Vineyards, but stands on its own as a separate brand. The Conundrum winery in Monterey County is close to the sources for most of the grape varietals that make up the wine.



Red Wines    Cabernet Sauvignon    Chile    South America   
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Date Printed: 10/1/2014
Domus Aurea Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Domus Aurea Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
(search item no. 108314)
has fluid
has fluid 360

Wine Enthusiast rating: 93 points
PRICE ON 10/1/2014: $48.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2009 International Wine Cellar rating: 92 points
2009 Wine & Spirits rating: 91 points
2009 Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points
2008 Wine & Spirits rating: 93 points
2008 Wine Enthusiast rating: 92 points
2008 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2006 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
2006 The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
2005 Wine Spectator rating: 94 points
2005 Wine Enthusiast rating: 93 points
2005 The Wine News rating: 92 points
2005 Wine & Spirits rating: 91 points
2004 Wine & Spirits rating: 94 points
2004 Wine Spectator rating: 93 points
2003 The Wine News rating: 91 points
2002 Wine Spectator rating: 93 points
2001 Wine Spectator rating: 91 points
1999 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
1996 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

COLOR: Dense and Intense Ruby Purple.
NOSE: Deep, dominated by an elegant and spicy barrel aging. A background of fresh leather, truffles and meaty notes rises powerfully, blending with graphite and wet stones hints. Then comes the fruit made of black cherries, bright blackcurrant. Slight tones of black pepper, dried herbs and balsamic notes are above a menthol accent. Bread crust, aromatized tobacco and subtle sweet chocolate add to the complexity.
PALATE: Shows a still evolving, fine and impressive structure. A noble presence of oak joins the general balsamic entity. Fresh and fine tight tannins create a true armor, yet integrated to the substance, that will surely be polished by time. The very tactile texture never prevails over the wine balance. Long and vibrant, the finish underlines the herbal and balsamic notes as well has the brightness of the unctuous dazzling fruit.
My Notes:

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About Domus Aurea:

Located in the foothills of the Andes Mountain Range, Clos Quebrada de Macul is recognized as one of the finest vineyards in the Maipo Valley. It is here, on the gravelly slopes of a 45-acre single-vineyard, that owners Ricardo and Isabel Pena produce their award-winning Domus Aurea Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Peña family is committed to extremely low yields. The family's vineyards are divided into five blocks that follow the depth and stoniness of the soil, which are further divided into upper, middle and lower rows. The harvest is not determined by block or row but vine by vine. The winery also utilizes open-top fermentation and personalized oak aging cycles, selecting lots with the most character to be the first wines into French barrels.



Red Wines    Mourvedre    Other Spain    Spain   
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Date Printed: 10/1/2014
Bodegas Castano Monastrell 2005
Bodegas Castano Monastrell 2005
(search item no. 89612)
The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 10/1/2014: $9.49

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2011 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2010 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2009 The Wine Advocate rating: 88 points
2009 International Wine Cellar rating: 88 points
2007 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2006 International Wine Cellar rating: 88 points
2004 The Wine Advocate rating: 89 points
2002 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Number 22 on the Wine.com 100 of 2007!

Excellent example of the Monastrell grape in its early years. Intense aromas of black fruit (plums) and less ripe red fruit (cranberries, mulberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants). On the palate it is fruity and fresh, and alive with tannins which leaves a pleasant aftertaste.

"The 2005 Monastrell is an insane value produced from three vineyard sites ranging in age from 40-60 years. Opaque purple-colored, it gives up fragrant aromas of blue fruits, plums, and prunes. Ripe, layered, and full-flavored, this hedonistic effort can be enjoyed now but will surely evolve for 2-3 years. Match it with beef and lamb."
-The Wine Advocate

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About Bodegas Castano:

There are only a handful of wineries remaining in Yecla since the phyloxera plague, and they are led by the forward-thinking Bodegas Castano, which has helped to reinvigorate the winemaking in the region.

Created by Ramon Castano Santa and his 3 sons, Bodegas Castano is not nearly as old as the vines it owns. Starting quite small, the family has nurtured these old plantings and re-planted other parcels and now owns 350 hectares of some of the prime vineyard land in Yecla. Today, Daniel Castano, one of Ramon's sons, runs the winery with the help of other members of the family.

The extremely talented Mariano Lopez has taken over the winemaker reins at the Bodega, and has turned the focus toward more balanced bottlings of older vine Monastrell. Both traditional and carbonic maceration techniques are used and all wines pass through malolactic fermentation. Daniel believes that the fruit and tannin structure of the Monastrell varietal stands up well to the use of oak, and as such, many of the wines pass (in varying degrees) through a barrel regime.



Dessert, Sherry & Port    Sherry    Other Spain    Spain   
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Date Printed: 10/1/2014
Alvear Pedro Ximinez 1927 (375ML half-bottle)
Alvear Pedro Ximinez 1927 (375ML half-bottle)
(search item no. 92464)
has fluid
has fluid 360

The Wine Advocate rating: 96 points
PRICE ON 10/1/2014: $25.99

Winemaker's Notes:

The vineyards, located at an elevation of 1,050 feet, are comprised of the famous chalky soil called Albariza and the 40-year-old vines produce extremely low yields. The grapes were hand-harvested at the peak of maturity and dried on mats in the sun. This is one of the oldest wines in the cellar since the Solera was started at the beginning of the last century.

My Notes:

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About Alvear:

Alvear S.A. was established by Don Diego de Alvear in 1729, and since that time has remained under control of the Alvear family. This is the oldest winery in the region and its fino is today one of the three most popular fino wines in Spain. Located in the town of Montilla, in the province of Cordoba, in the interior of Andalucia. Grapes are sourced from their own vineyards, of 307.2 acres. They also buy grapes and wines from local growers. The area is dominated by small parcels. The terrain is formed by undulating hills and slopes of a singular whitish color. There are two basic types of soil: Albero and Arenas. Albero is a whitish, chalky soil, found on the higher ground in the Sierra de Montilla and Moriles Alto, both of which are classified as superior zones and produce finos of good, clean character. This type of soil is highly absorbent and can supply the vines with needed water during the long, dry summers. The sun bakes the surface to a hard crust, reflecting the heat and preventing the moisture from evaporating. Arenas is found in the Ruedos made up of largely sand, with some stony clay and a small proportion of limestone. The climate is Southern continental, with hot summers, reaching at times temperatures of 120°F, resulting in early harvests. The temperature drops sharply at night, cooling the fermenting musts. Winters are cold.