John Poplin on March 18, 2016 0 Comments Cute puppy dogs on labels are of course eye catching, but this bottle was like visiting an old friend. I remember when this wine first came out and I hadn’t seen it in a while, so as the story goes…it just followed me home that day. Behind the Label Behind the label is a man I had the pleasure of meeting a number of years ago. Kent Rosenblum, who many may not know was a veterinarian in the early 1970’s before diving into the wine industry and founding his namesake winery in 1978 with his wife Kathy. Though Kent Rosenblum never had vineyards of his own, he is a passionate and charismatic guy who has some very long standing relationships with growers throughout California. Though most of us may have known the brand for its Vintner’s Cuvee Zinfandel, Rosenblum Cellars actually had numerous other tiers of wines from some very prominent growers of Zinfandel throughout California. Rosenblum also produced under the label several Viogniers, Syrahs, Petite Sirahs, and even some late harvest desert wines; though he was more known for the Zinfandels. Though Kent sold the Rosenblum Cellars label to Diageo (a very large spirits and wine company based in London) in 2008, I’m glad to see that this wine is still around and still donating to the cause for which it was created: some of the proceeds go towards supporting No-Kill shelters around the country, and the labels depict some of those dogs. Kent now co owns another wine company with his daughter Shauna as his winemaker called Rock Wall Wine Company. Chateau La Paws Red Wine Blend First off, let it be known that this red wine is meant to be a very approachable, easy going, fun wine. Something that doesn’t have a lot of pomp and circumstance–just good wine, at a good price, for a good cause. The Grapes Rosenblum Cellars still (even under its current ownership) doesn’t own any vineyards itself, so the grapes are being sourced from here, there and sometimes everywhere the brand can find quality fruit to make into the wine for this label (there is also a Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Noir as well in the Chateau La Paws lineup). The “best regions across California were selected” for each of the grapes that make up this wine: Zinfandel (36%), Merlot (34%), Syrah (12%), Petit Sirah (9%), Cabernet Sauvingnon (5%), Other (4%). In the industry, many of us would refer to this kind of wine as a “kitchen sink” style blend, not to be confused with the brand of the same namesake. And while a blend like this isn’t the best representative of each grape or each growing region, the practice has been done in some of the old world wine producing regions for ages. One such example is Chateauneuf-du-Pape in France’s Rhone Valley which produces wines made from thirteen different grape varietals. In that region there are a few primary grapes used in each producer’s blend: Grenache, Cinsault, and Mouvedre. It’s up to the wine maker to balance out the main varietals with others that they either grow themselves or source from other vineyards to give the wine the style or quality that they desire. Because the Chateau La Paws Red Wine Blend (and this old world technique possibly lending its name to this particular wine) is made for a particular reason and type of consumer, I can easily see them using these particular varietals in their blend for these same reasons. The Zinfandel gives the wine some bright and slightly jammy fruit, while the Merlot, Syrah and others complement the fruit and other individual varietal characteristics, and also give the wine a little more structure. Taste Profile As I sipped this wine, I noticed that the legs of the wine slowly stretched into the glass, much like my dogs do when they want a belly rub. The wine was dark garnet in color with no rim variation, and crystal clear. First on the nose of the wine was fruit, fruit, and then some more fruit. Okay, more like blueberry, raspberry and cherry. But the fruit was what dominated the wine. But it did give way to hints of cassis, licorice, toffee and butterscotch (you know the kind that grandma used to keep in her pocket book). Overall, the wine was light to medium bodied, fruit driven, soft with a relatively short finish. Though I purchased it to be more of a “happy hour with friends” sort of wine, it easily would pair with barbecue or grilled pork chops. Again, nothing fancy, just low key but enjoyable. So as this could be considered more of a “critter label” wine, for the money it was pretty good, and for a great cause. Woof, Woof!