Conundrum is owned by the Wagner family of Caymus Vineyards, but stands on its own as a separate brand. The Conundrum winery opened in 2007 in Monterey County, close to the sources for most of the grape varietals that make up the wine.
Winemaker: Jon Bolta
Jon Bolta acquired his winemaking skills in a very direct way, learning on the job. He had joined Caymus Vineyards in the Napa Valley in 1983, and worked successively on the bottling line, in the cellar and in the vineyards. Then, working closely with Caymus owner Chuck Wagner, he began to assist in winemaking.
In 1988, he was named winemaker for white wines, and he began to craft the style for Conundrum, a nontraditional white wine blend that would first be released from the 1989 vintage. The goal for this wine, says Jon, was "full flavored fruit, but also complexity and balance" in a blend designed specifically to pair with the creative dishes being offered by a new generation of chefs.
When Conundrum was established as an independent brand with the 2001 vintage, Jon continued as winemaker. He has also taken on the job of Production Director.
Jon believes that the five white wine varietals used to make Conundrum allow him great creativity in the multiple choices he makes from vineyard through bottling. His winemaking direction, he says, begins with "real advances in viticultural practices, like new trellising systems, leaf pulling and crop thinning. By increasing our control of sun and air exposure, we get richer fruit."
Jon's winemaking goal is to continue to improve and evolve the quality of this wine, which he considers "outside the typical parameters for white wines. People often call this wine 'exotic,' and I think that's a fitting description. There is nothing else like it out there."
Conundrum Wines Conundrum 2006
Conundrum 2006 exhibits soft tropical notes of guava and cherimoya, also peach and honeysuckle. The rich perfume is supported by concentrated and focused layers of peach and apricot nectar, pear and green melon with spicy vanilla notes. The creamy texture and balanced acidity carries through the palate for a long finish.