Sadly, Australia’s Yard Dog White ($10), produced by Red Heads Studio in McLaren Vale, isn’t one of them. I love the Yard Dog label, which features an illustration of a portly pooch wearing one of those cone-shaped blinders. Unfortunately, it didn’t prevent this wine from biting me. Yard Dog is a blend of Chardonnay (55 percent), Sauvignon Blanc (15 percent), Riesling (15 percent), Semillon (10 percent) and Viognier (5 percent), which on paper sounds appealing. But there was a smoky character to this wine that overshadowed the citrus and peachy aromas and flavors, as though someone had tossed in a drop of Liquid Smoke. Yard Dog Red ($10) fares better, however—a Petit Verdot/Cabernet/Merlot blend with an intense, fruity nose and lots of ripe dark fruits on the palate, not to mention a hefty alcohol attack (15 percent).n
The Rosenblum Cellars Château La Paws Côte du Bone Blanc ($13) I first tasted this summer has held up well through early fall, becoming one of my favorite house whites. A play on France’s famous Burgundy region—the Côte du Beaune—Château la Paws is a light and lovely, fruit-forward Rhone-style blend of Viognier, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Roussanne and Marsanne, loaded with summery tropical flavors and fragrant peach and apricot notes. Dr. Kent Rosenblum, founder of Rosenblum Cellars, is a longtime veterinarian who created Château la Paws “to honor the animals that give us so much joy.” A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this wine benefits Paws With a Cause, a charitable organization dedicated to training assistance dogs.n
Rosenblum Cellars Château La Paws Côte du Bone Roan ($13) is the winery’s Rhone-ish red wine of mostly (70 percent) Syrah, blended with Zinfandel, Mourvedre and Carignane. I’m not too crazy generally about blending anything with Zinfandel and this certainly isn’t my favorite red wine offering from Rosenblum. But then, it’s not a total dog, either: fairly soft and elegant, but without a lot of back-“bone.”n
Beer makers are going to the dogs, too. Squatters Chasing Tail Golden Ale ($7.50 per 6-pack) is made right here in Utah, the creation of Brewmaster Jenny Talley and named for her mutt who kills time like so many dogs: chasing its tail in circles. A medal winner at the 2003 and 2004 Great American Beer Festival, this easy-drinking, delicate ale is brewed with English barley and a combination of English Golding and Fuggle hops. By the way, for every Chasing Tail bottle cap returned to Squatters, they donate a nickel to No More Homeless Pets in Utah. A nickel might not sound like much, but thanks to ale-drinking pet lovers, Squatters has donated thousands of dollars thus far.n
Spanish Peaks Black Dog Ale ($1.85) from Bozeman, Mont., features a black Lab named Chug on the label and a portion of proceeds from Black Dog Ales go to local humane societies and pet shelters. The English Style Amber Ale has complex malt flavors from Munich, caramel and chocolate malts, along with a combo of Centennial, Northern Brewer and Chinook hops for a dash of subtle bitterness. Woof, woof!