There is a core idea behind Conundrum: why shouldn’t a wine mirror, in complexity and creativity, the dishes being invented by a new generation of chefs who have no allegiance to the traditions and rules of the past? From his first vintage, 1989, Jon Bolta, winemaker at Conundrum was intent on making a dramatically different white wine blend that would surpass the scope of single varietal wines. Blending several grape varietals together is a centuries – old tradition for both red and white wines. But he wanted to venture into a wider arena. Just as chefs were exploring the fusion of flavours from classic to contemporary, from east to west, often combining savoury, spicy, herbal and fruity flavours in one dish, so he wanted to explore how non-traditional combinations of grape varietals would work together. He wanted each varietal to be distinctive but still complementary to the others and to the foods we were enjoying. After experimenting with eleven different white wine grapes, he chose the three that he considered the key ingredients, the aromas and flavours that form the foundation of the wine: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and, for its intriguing floral/tropical character, Muscat Canelli. Then, from his “spice cabinet,” he added small amounts of Semillon and Viognier. The proportions vary slightly in each vintage. But the goal is always the same: a wine whose complexity makes it appealing to wine drinkers, a highly styled wine that is excellent as an apéritif and pairs beautifully with the wide-ranging, global dishes we are eating as chefs experiment with fresher and more healthy cuisines that depend on vegetables, herbs, spices and creative preparation techniques to achieve intensity of flavour.
The cuvée exhibits the best of what both methods impart in harmonious balance. Wonderfully effusive, a bouquet of honeysuckle and jasmine gives way to ripe, fleshy peach, pear, tangerine and melon notes. Rich flavors and supple textures are matched by a refreshing acidity on the finish.