The Wagner family’s Caymus Vineyards is a Napa Valley legend. Beginning as farmers in the Rutherford area at the turn of the last century, the Wagners turned to grape growing in the 1940s, and later to winemaking. The winery is named for the Mexican land grant given to George Yount in 1836 that included the town of Rutherford and much of the surrounding area.
Caymus is famous for its definitive Napa Cabernets, but the winery makes a fabulous Sauvignon Blanc as well. Conundrum, which joined the Caymus roster in 1989, is a classy multivarietal blend sourced from vineyards in various parts of the state. It carries a California appellation.
A base of Muscat gives Conundrum its exotic tropical fruit, while Viognier and Semillon add aromatic spice and mineral notes.
Chardonnay chips in with lush texture, and Sauvignon Blanc brings a juicy vibrancy to the whole. The total effect is balanced and creamy, with a long finish. As with all of these wines, serve it only slightly chilled; too much cold will clamp down the flavor components.
Beringer Alluvium Blanc 1998 ($16)
Creamy and Soft
Great with a goat cheese tart.
Caymus Vineyards Conundrum 1999 ($22)
Juicy and Tropical
Perfect with grilled seafood brochettes.
Niebaum-Coppola Blancaneaux 1999 ($30)
dense and edgy
Try it alongside fish with cream sauce.