Monday, November 30, 2015

The Paws That Refreshes - Or Not

If you have ever visited a winery, you know that there are three things you are bound to find there - barrels, old pickup trucks and dogs. Winery dogs are often highlighted in the literature as mainstays in the tasting room, the winemaker's best friend. The common trait winery dogs seem to exhibit is docile behavior - beyond the point of being accustomed to having humans around. They usually seem downright bored to death with us.

It seems every year there is another line of wines dedicated to dogs, with proceeds benefiting them in some way. Rosenblum Cellars gets the chew stick this year, for their Château La Paws wines, which provide a portion of the take to support no-kill shelters.

Château La Paws Sweet Red Blend does not set my tail wagging. The nose, although quite earthy, is also quite grapey - much like a wine made from North American hybrid grapes. The grapes used are actually Zinfandel, Merlot, Syrah, Petit Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon and "other."

The nose is very close to being what one might call "foxy." The palate offers a similar reference to Welches, and a similar foxiness. The label advises we not feed it to dogs - too bad, as they would probably appreciate it more than humans. French and American oak are used in the aging of the wine, and that sweet vanilla oak note could be the best part of the beverage. Retail, $18.

The Château La Paws Sauvignon Blanc label offers no vintage information on this Lodi bottling. It is 97% Sauvignon Blanc and three percent Viognier, hits 13% abv and sells for $18. The wine gives a pale yellow tint and a fresh and grassy, springlike nose. Aromas of golden apples and moderate tropical fruit are joined by a big citrus play. On the palate things are bright and lively, with apple, lemon, minerals and a very nice acidity. It finishes clean and brisk. There is nothing really exceptional about the wine, but it does provide a tasty and refreshing interlude to enjoy while you tell your dog how you contributed to the cause.

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