Conundrum Red Blend 2019
Sourced from premier California winegrowing regions, Conundrum Red features dark red varietals including Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. It is serious yet lighthearted, complex and approachable. With lavish flavors of cherries and baking chocolate, this wine has granular tannins that provide a smooth and grippy character. Be daring and drink slightly chilled to enhance the fruit profile and enjoy any time of year.
Conundrum Red was created as a “sibling wine” to Conundrum White, which got its start in 1989. The late Charlie Wagner Sr., who founded Caymus Vineyards with his wife Lorna and son Chuck, would mix wines at the dinner table to find the perfect pairing for his meal. Blending wines was unheard of back then, but Conundrum White quickly took off, its inventiveness a perfect match for the diverse foods emerging at the time. Fast-forward to 2011. Namesake Charlie Wagner followed in his grandfather’s footsteps with the first release of Conundrum Red – embracing the chance to explore premier vineyards throughout California and produce a wine with “no rules.” He maintains that philosophy today, crediting wine drinkers with an open-mindedness that has propelled Conundrum Red to ever greater popularity. “The future,” Charlie says, “feels wide open.”
*This wine was released with two different labels. Customers may receive either label featured above. Specific labels cannot be requested.
It all began at the dinner table. Charlie Wagner Sr. – who co-founded Caymus Vineyards in 1972 with wife Lorna and son Chuck – would mix wines to find the perfect glass to pair with his meal. No one blended wines back then, so his experiment was pretty radical. Fast forward to 1989, when Conundrum White was born, quickly taking off with its mysterious, tropical notes and amazing versatility.
Today it’s Charlie Sr.’s grandson and namesake, Charlie Wagner, who keeps Conundrum as inventive as ever. He launched Conundrum Red, a wine that is both lighthearted and serious. Charlie loves how there are no single-varietal rules when it comes to making these wines, and each has a unique style. They also showcase some of the best wine regions California has to offer, from Napa Valley to Santa Barbara County and many places in between.
California is a winemaking colossus; by itself it is the fourth largest producer in the world. Red wine accounts for 56% of the total by volume, and red grapes 63% of total acres planted. In addition, a number of California red wines are heralded as being among the most prestigious and sought-after wines in the world.
While the state’s incredibly diverse geography, soils and microclimates allow for a wide array of styles, the key factor unifying California red wine is the abundance of sunshine and a long, consistent growing season. This leads to well-developed fruit marked both by impressive ripeness and balancing acidity.
The state’s most famous red wine region, of course, is Napa Valley, where Cabernet Sauvignon reigns as king. But California boasts a wealth of other impressive appellations. The much larger and climatically varied Sonoma County also produces world class California Cabernet, along with wonderful examples of California Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.
Fine versions of Cabernet and Zinfandel hail from Paso Robles as well, which is also gaining fame with Rhone varietals like Syrah and Grenache. As for Pinot Noir, terrific examples can be found from AVA’s such as Anderson Valley, Carneros, Santa Lucia Highlands and Sta. Rita Hills. Wineries in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties are making wonderful Syrahs, and the Sierra Foothill appellations are proving to be an experimental hotbed, with Italian and Spanish varietals employed to great effect.
This of course is a mere sketch. The subject of California red wine is as deep and broad as an ocean, and absolutely a joy to explore!