Tastes CDR 060315

Published on April 29th, 2016 | by Greg


Solving The California Puzzle: Conundrum’s Well-Priced Wines

With the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, you might be focused on spirits for your parties. But there should always be room for wine- and especially the addition of some bottles appropriate for Spring. Heavier cabernets are well-suited to winter, but when the temperatures warm up, you’ll want something a little lighter-bodied. Rain can make for colder nights though, so it’s best to be prepared for both- a room temperature red and a chilled white, perfect for your groups and gatherings.

The Conundrum brand marks their 25th anniversary this year, and Wagner is celebrating the occasion in their classic style: well-priced, eminently drinkable blends, easy to pair and accessible. We tasted the 2014 Conundrum White and 2013 Conundrum Red, and could see the family resemblance since we’ve enjoyed them before.

Affordable California wines are tough to find, and though you can find cheaper bottles, few will have the history, know-how, and expertise of the Wagner Family of Wine (also behind Caymus and Mer Soleil). They keep each parcel of grapes separate, playing with flavors and profiles each year to come up with something intriguing, sometimes combining non-traditional varietals. Their white wine blends Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Muscat Canelli, and Viognier in a fruity, smooth, balanced wine that has a touch of apricot and tropical fruit with enough tart at the end to keep your tongue curious.

The red uses Zinfandel and Petite Syrah grapes, and starts with some plum and berry notes, finishing with a classic oak. There’s a little tannin, but it never hit leather or smoke, and that makes it better for burgers than steaks. It’s a solid table wine that will have friend asking where it’s from. And each bottle of the 25th Anniversary Conundrum runs around $25.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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