Conundrum California Red Wine 2012

Conundrum California Red Wine 2012: Dark purple-magenta color; dark fruit and tinkle of sweetness on the nose; loads of juicy dark fruit, mocha, vanilla, spice on the palate;

full body, very smooth, some blackcurrant tang mingles with liquid chocolate on the finish; no tannin to notice. Fortunately, the hint of over-jammy, grape jelly on the nose does not come through on the palate, although it does coyly flirt with that plight. This is made by Charlie Wagner and his family, the folks behind Caymus, Belle Glos, and Mer Soleil, and it appears they deliberately set forth to make mysterious wine. No word on the grapes employed; evidently they are estate secrets, which comes across either as chintzy marketing ploy or a fear buyers might perceive the wine is product of winery legerdemain rather than vineyard prowess (or maybe both). In any event, this is another California red blend with plenty of fruity sweetness aimed at general market rather than wine haut monde. Given that target, they should have mentioned the Caymus connection on the label (which is visually well done, BTW). $20-23 Conundrum California Red Wine