Wow! Is this already the 5th WBW?
Okay, I have to admit that I wasn't crazy about the selection of wacky-named wines for Wine Blogging Wednesday 5. Too often cute named wines are some strange blend that not are ... to be honest... pretty bad.
I decided one of my personal criterias for the selection was to choose a wine from Washington State. I asked my local wine expert at work for a suggestion. He thought Sinister Hand by Owen Roe might be a good choice. Yeah... try to find it. This year's supply seems to be sold out in the Seattle area.
I spent a few days cruising the local stores. Hubby came across the Frontier Red by Fess Parker but I couldn't get myself to buy it. Too cute. (Did you know that Frass Winery in Sideways is the Fess Parker winery? And did you know that frass means excrement produced by insects?)
But I did find my wine for the tasting; Three Legged Red 2003 by Dunham Cellars in Walla Walla. Walla Walla is an outstanding region for serious reds like Cabernet Sauvignon. I was anxious to give it a try.
The wine is named as a tribute to the winemaker's Eric Dunham's dog, Port.
It was a sunny day in the summer of '94 when I met Port. Outside I heard the distinct sound of an animal in distress. It took only moments to realize what was happening across the field from my house - a very small animal had fallen into harm's way and was being attacked by a Pit Bull. I ran to the scene, broke up the fight and found that the small animal was a puppy that was very badly injured. Instinctively, I wrapped him up and took him to the veterinarian. I agreed to pay for the emergency surgery and recovery. The puppy had lost a leg, but found a home. With only three legs, and two on the port side, I named him Port, and he is my best friend.
Being a cat person, I didn't realize there was such a dog following in the wine business. A little sniffing around on the web dug up this article from the SF Chronicle about the dog friendly wineries and wines named for dogs. I wonder if anyone found "Chateau La Paws Coats du Bone Rone" from Rosenblum?
Wine Spectator rated the 2002 release an 87.
"Open, generous style has a layer of floral flavors around the generous plum and berry fruit, all mingling nicely with toasty notes on the round finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2005.
The StatemanJournal from Salem Oregon recently wrote up an article on second labels and says the following on the wine:
"Dunham Cellars of Walla Walla, Wash., purveyors of high end wines, mostly cabernet sauvignon, first created a mid-level tier of wines with Trey Marie.
And then they dug a little lower to find this winner, Dunham Cellars, 2003 Three Legged Red, $15. It's a tough little thing, almost as tough as the three-legged dog on the label (if you have 150 or higher reading glasses, you might want to read the heart-wrenching -- or heart-warming -- story on the back label). Aromas start with earth, ash, and high-pitched berry aromas, leading to flavors of raspberry, blackberry and spice. Substantial tannins."
The winemaker, Eric Dunham, pedigree is also pretty good. He interned at Hogue Cellars and then was assistant winemaker at L'Ecole No 41 for four years. He has been producing award winning Cabernet Sauvignons including a "Best of Show"! Dunham Syrahs are also showing promise.
Dunham's Three Legged Red is quite good. It is a blend of Cabernet, merlot and syrah. I can definitely taste the syrah spicing up the blend and the merlot softening it. Hubby felt it was good but not complex. It definitely has a strong berry flavor but there is another taste that I can't definitely identify. Several of the reviews mention items like ash and smoke. That might be it. At $16, it also a great value.
I served it with a spicy puttanesca style pasta and my favorite winter salad; Oranges, radishes, onions, olives and avocado served on a bed of lettuce with a light sherry vinagrette. A nice way to spend a mild NW winter night. Ruff!