Saturday, June 5, 2010



We have a trip to Las Vegas coming up, my wife and I.  She likes the pre-programmed entertainment value of slots, while I prefer the minute-to-minute changing of the odds with blackjack.  It's one of the great benefits of the game of "21" that you can see most of the cards in play.  Everyone plays against the dealer, so hiding one's cards is not necessary.  Not so with poker.  In poker, one guards his cards like a state secret lest one of those secrets is seen by an opponent, to your detriment.  That's where the phrase "play your cards close to your vest" comes from.  Keep your hand pressed against your chest, and no one will be able to see what's there.

Conundrum likes to play their cards close to the vest.  They'll tell you that the grapes in this white blend are: Sauvignon Blanc from the Napa Valley and Muscat Canelli from the Central Coast, with Chardonnay and Viognier from their vineyards in Monterey County, but that's all.  They won't tell you what the percentages are.  Therein lies the conundrum.  About one-fourth of the wine is fermented in stainless steel, while the remainder is fermented in both new and seasoned oak for up to ten months.  The wine has 13.5% abv.

The nose resonates with a huge floral aspect.  There is also some apricot in there, a little citrus and some light spiciness.  It's very lush and inviting.  The palate conveys a tropical feel.  Pineapple is present, along with a little banana.  Apricot and limes follow with the wonderful acidity which makes Conundrum a no-brainer as a food wine.

I love to have Conundrum with seafood, especially rich lobster, crab and shrimp.  It also pairs well with salads, although it really hits the proverbial food homer when matched with buttery scallops.

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