We have finally reached a point in the year when hot, sultry days have firmly entrenched themselves and become the norm. Often referred to as the “Dog Days” of summer, this is a period of time when Sirius, also known as the Dog Star, rises in the morning with the sun (hence the moniker). In the vineyard, the vines are in full-tilt productivity, soaking up energy and preparing their offspring, the grapes, for the upcoming harvest a few short months from now. For the rest of us, however, we are mostly lethargic, inactive and indolent from the heat.
So, as a way to offer a bit of a reprieve from the scorching rays of the sun, and in honor of the Dog Days, I thought it would be fun to match some of my favorite warm-weather Miner wines with the personalities and characteristics of some of my favorite dog breeds.
Rosato/Corgi – Bright, quirky and full of exuberance. These descriptors are interchangeable for both the dog AND the wine. When you’re drinking a glass of Rosato (or a bottle), you can’t help but have a good time and feel the urge to frolic through the fields or roll around on a dead animal… or maybe that’s just the Corgi talking. Either way, you’re going to have fun when our Rosato is involved. After all, rosé (and Corgis) all day!
Viognier/Golden-doodle – Viognier is a quintessential summer wine. Bounding with citrus and honeysuckle notes, our Viognier is playful and makes you want to lounge by a pool, splash in the water, or run through the sprinklers; all things that a sprightly Golden-doodle would want to do as well. However, Viognier is not a one-trick pup. It has a dignified and refined side to it as well, much like the show dog-esque Poodle component of the Golden-doodle breed. Just know that you can enjoy Viognier and act like a goofy imbecile, or you can act like a sophisticated wine connoisseur. The choice is up to you.
The Iliad/Chinese Crested – Okay, so I admit this dog/wine pairing does not seem like an obvious choice, but bear with me as I explain myself. The Chinese Crested may seem like an “ugly” dog, but really this breed is just misunderstood and under-appreciated. The same can be said about our white Rhône blend, The Iliad. It is misunderstood. Many novice wine drinkers are not very familiar with Marsanne or Roussanne, which are two varietals in The Iliad that are not commonly found in supermarkets or wine shops. Just because the layman does not know much about these particular varietals doesn’t mean The Iliad is an ugly wine. Try it and you will find that it plays fetch, heels and rolls over as well as all the other wines, if not better.
Merlot/Labrador (puppy in particular) – Warm and fuzzy, soft and fluffy. These descriptors are interchangeable for both our Miner Merlot and a little Labrador puppy. Why specifically a Labrador puppy and not just any puppy in general? Well, there’s not a reasonable answer for that…but I will say that when drinking our Merlot, it is easy to pick up on the mocha characteristics of the wine, which is appropriate considering Labs come in a chocolate variety as well. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, you can rest assured that when you cuddle up with a puppy, or a glass of our Merlot, you should know that you will be awash in happy wine/puppy kisses and have a broad, unrelenting grin on your face. It is practically guaranteed.
The Oracle/Afghan Hound – Long and powerful, but also elegant and regal, the Afghan Hound is one part Persian prince and another part hunky, Fabio dog-dreamboat. The Oracle definitely fits into those categories as well (in a non-literal way). It has the range to be big and bold for those seeking a Cab-heavy wine, but it also possesses the finesse to not be overbearing for the wine drinker that prefers a more delicate touch. With the Afghan Hound’s lineage descending from the Afghan Royal Family, and The Oracle being a wine that is fit for a king, I would say that this comparison is pretty spot-on.
Even though this is the time of the year when the blazing sun makes us want to wilt, rather than stay inside with comforts of air-conditioning, I highly encourage you to grab a tasty bottle of vino, recruit a canine buddy, and hit the summer streets. It turns out that wine and our four-legged friends go together more than we ever thought, so hopefully the Dog Days will inspire you to come up with your own pup and wine pairings. Good luck, go forth and happy trails/tails!
Chief Hat Wearer (literally), Resident Hunky Ginger and Assistant Wine Club Manager at Miner Family Winery, I like to surround myself with good friends and great times. I feel that wine plays a big part in that. My goal is to provide unpretentious insight on wine culture from a guy’s perspective, as well as the Napa Valley in general. I also love baseball and dogs.