The Wagner Family of Wines. The Real Deal

Last night was a little bit special. SJ had made an appointment to bring in Jason, the GM of Renaissance/Clarus and Peter, who is in charge of sales in Canada for the Wagner Family of Wine. Now, if you haven’t heard of the Wagner Family, you’ve probably had their wines. They are the eighth generation Napa family responsible for such icons as Caymus Conundrum, Caymus Belle Glos series of Pinot Noir and of course, the inimitable Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon which gets the highest accolades from the Wine Spectator. If you’re a Chardonnay fan, you may have had their Mer Soleil. So you probably are acquainted with the Wagner Family, you just didn’t know it until now.

I’ve written before about the great folks that I’m so lucky to meet and last night was no exception. Peter is an enthusiastic ambassador for this awesome range of wines. We tasted:

Conundrum White 2013

Fresh clear golden light green. Big banana nose with spicy pineapple, rose and peach. This wine has been crafted by the same wine-maker for 22 years! It’s a secret blend that includes (most dear to my heart) Muscat, Chardonnay and Viognier. I also smell lemon cream and a comforting sugar cookie scent. Lush, deep, fruity, peaches and cream palate. Floral with a solid, balanced mid-palate and an even, perfect finish. Never disappoints. +735687 $$

Emmolo Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Absolutely clear. Spicy sandalwood nose with lemon-lime and purple alfalfa notes. Bright acidic attack that opens to grassy, tangy fruit. Well balanced with a serious, almost savoury finish. +493791 $$

Mer Soleil Silver Chardonnay 2013

This wine never sees oak. It’s fermented in Burgundian unlined cement tanks and comes to you in a ceramic bottle that echoes the material of the tanks. It’s a very light clear gold. Smells of fresh peaches and cream corn with notes of citrus and brown earth. Though there is no malolactic fermentation, this wine has a bright citrus attack that opens up to a creamy star fruit laced mid-palate and finishes with hints of grapefruit. Great balance with lovely minerality. +725562 $$  Great long finish. Sexy. Lovely.

Mer Soleil Santa Lucia Highlands Reserve Chardonnay 2012

Bright, clear light gold. So much going on it’s tough to pin-point, but I get Rice Krispie squares, creamy marshmallow and chalky minerality with a sunny peach-pie backbone. Luscious, spicy, tangy acidic attack with a floral, mineral, smooth, round mid-palate and a visceral, slightly vanilla and maybe lavender candy (?) aftertaste. Just sO complex. Delightful. +453142 $$

Conundrum Red 2011

Another secret proprietary blend. It’s a black ruby colour. Pretty floral nose, like a bouquet of wildflowers. Spicy rose and dry, brown dirt. I get cheese omelet with parsley! Juicy, dry earthy attack that opens to savoury notes of black plum and blueberry. Easy soft tannins. Great balanced all occasion wine. Soft, welcoming aftertaste. +753422 Easy and fun. $$

Belle Glos Dairyman Pinot Noir 2013

I have to admit a bit of prejudice here. As my earliest training took place in Burgundy I have a deep love of Pinot Noir in all its’ guises. This one has a deep dark ruby hue. Bright notes of tobacco and night-blooming Stocks. I get caramel and pecan pie. (Maybe I’m just hungry!) Pretty, dark acidic attack opening to big black cherry fruit and black dirt undertones. This is Pinot for those who aren’t sure about Pinot! +758905 (6 packs) high$$ or low$$$

Belle Glos Clarke and Telephone 2013 Santa Maria Valley

Historically, this has been my favorite of the Belle Glos wines. It was the one I had on the Culina list. It’s a dark velvet ruby hue. I smell sugar cookies fresh outta the oven, christmas cake, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin ice cream, cherry jam and toast (whewf!) Velvet dark attack that softly blossoms into deep acidity and chewy black fruit. Perfect chewy tannins that tickle the teeth and proceed to seduce the palate with an array of spice and fruit. Complex and delicious. A real gift. +718035 $$$

Mystery Wine!

Deep black ruby velvet. Nose of clean velvet curtains in my Grandpa’s house. Cigar, christmas cake and white pine. Giant attack of cedar and plum pudding. Spicy, dry and elegant. Big without being overblown. Dead sexy. +493759 $$$ It’s the Emmolo Merlot 2012 Find this. Give it to your friend who “never drinks Merlot”. 🙂 ..92pts from W.A.

Caymus 40th Anniversary 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

Deep ruby velvet. Carmelized blackberry creme brulee. Meaty and spicy with notes of blueberry pie. Dense chocolatey attack. Deep black fruit with medium weight tannins. Earthy and perfectly balanced with ghostly hints of baby powder and black plum. Yum. 96 pts from W.A. So good I forgot to get the cspc # and price. Find it. You won’t be sorry!

So, that was the end of that. Another great experience with wonderful people and great wines. Now that you know a little bit more about the Wagner Family Wines, you might want to go out and buy a few of these gems and get better acquainted.

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