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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cape Cod Canal Wine Tasting

Charlie’s Weekly Wine-ings

Labor day has past and some say the summer is over, but the weather is great and we still have lots of guest at our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast in Sandwich, MA. This week I had no formal wine tastings to attend, but met my obligations to taste new wines by sampling a few with friends. Our friends Ginger and Knute, who summer in Maine, are back on Cape Cod and last night we got together with them.

Cape Cod Canal Sunset
As many of you know, Jan and I close our Inn in January and travel the South in our Winnebago recreational vehicle/motor home. Ginger and Knute introduced us to the RV lifestyle several years ago and we plan our winter trips to cross paths a few times on the road. Over the years we have shared a bottle or two of wine in the sunshine from Amelia Island to Key West, FL. They drove their RoadTrek to the Cape Cod Canal and we watched a magnificent sunset with the Sagamore Bridge as a backdrop and shared some nice wine. We got take out from Seafood Sam’s and dined in the RoadTrek with all the comforts of home.

This was a great opportunity to re-taste some wine I had a few weeks ago at a Cellar 55 sponsored formal tasting. I ordered a few bottles for my cellar and had just picked them up that day. We started with a 2008 Conundrum, a very interesting white blend originally created at the famous Caymus Winery in Napa Valley, California. Caymus is best known for its Cabernet blends and in 1989 set out to make a very special white blend that evolved into today’s Conundrum. Conundrum is now a separate company with production facilities in Monterey County.   

The 2008, and other Conundrums I have had, give you a unique and hard to describe taste sensation. The label has never identified the specific grapes included or the percentage of each grape in any vintage. The Conundrum website’s 2008 tasting notes are as follows:

“What is that wonderfully robust, floral and bright tropical taste? Is it green apple, tangerine or honeysuckle? Could it possibly be apricot, melon, pear or light vanilla? That’s the Conundrum. Our proprietarily secretive blend of California white grapes create a lush, creamy texture that leads to the mouth-watering question, “Mmmm, what’s in there?” We’re not telling. Can you guess?”

Jon Bolta, the winemaker/master blender shares this history:

“After experimenting with 11 different white wine grapes, we chose the three that we considered the key ingredients, the aromas and flavors that form the foundation of the wine: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and--for its intriguing floral/tropical character--Muscat Canelli. Then, from our "spice cabinet," we added small amounts of Sémillon and Viognier. Already, we were working with flavors and textures that formed a new and unprecedented combination--a conundrum, or puzzle to be teased out by the taster.”

So, neither the bottle nor the website gives you a clue as to the blend, but it is a great wine that goes down way to easily. It may be a conundrum, but it was the perfect wine to share with friends at the end of a perfect day on Cape Cod.
Happy Wine-ing

Charlie Preus, the Innkeeper’s Assistant and Wine Steward at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

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