Most fans of domestic white blends are familiar with Caymus’ second label Conundrum, a unique propietary blend of chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, muscat, semillon and viognier. Wildly complex and vibrant with honeysuckle, peach/apricot nectar and floral-citrus notes, the precise blend changes with each vintage.
A lesser known, and lower-priced wine is the Chenin Blanc-Viognier from Pine Ridge. Somewhat more restrained, unlike the Conundrum, featuring pear,lychee, melon and grapefruit notes. While both wines do have a citrus component, the muscat in the Conundrum can really make the train fly uncontrollably off of the tracks.
Surprisingly, both wines come from producers of high-dollar, powerhouse Rutherford/Napa reds. Conundrum did just open it’s own facility in Monterey County in 2007 to be closer to its Central Coast-sourced fruit.
I also recommend Evolution (formerly Evolution#9) from Sokol-Blosser in Dundee Hills/Willamette Valley. It has a palate of intensely perfumed honeyed-floral aromas, a delicately spiced herbaceous character with melon, peach, green apple and grapefruit.