Rita the Doberman,  Wine of the Day

Warmth of the sun

We could file this one under “things that make me happy”.   A couple of days ago I got a missive from someone I didn’t know simply asking me if I was going to Barkus and Mutt Lynch.  Barkus?  I hadn’t heard about it, probably because I read about half of my email.  So I check around and they were having an event,  I could drink wine and take my dogs.  OK, that sounds like a good start to the day.  Just before it was time to leave, Bubba found some poop to eat.  The idea of several hours in the car with him after he did that was not attractive so he got the pass.  I loaded up Rita and off we went.  My current dogs aren’t as socialized as Xica and Beauregard were.  Those two could walk through a San Francisco street fair and not bat an eye.  These two are a little more leary.  Bubba is a little more skittish than Rita, so I took the right dog for this adventure.  And right before we left, Rita thought it appropriate to drink a ton of water.

After two hours of driving we arrived at Mutt Lynch.  They are on a little lane just above Healdsburg.  They are a little tiny winery with only three employees, the owners and the winemaker.  The concept was apparently born of tequila and beer.  It makes me like them more.  The event was small but cute.  Everybody had their dogs.  Rita was a little nervous around a lot of dogs on leashes and a lot of people but she did well.  She did not drink from the dump bucket (neither did I) and she didn’t knock over any tables of food.  She also did not like the gourmet dog biscuits.  She straight up spit them out.  I gave it to a sweet Golden Retriever who did like them.

Mutt Lynch has two lines, the regular line and the reserve line which is called Canis Major.  The regular line has great names like Fou Fou le Blanc, their Sauvignon Blanc, Unleashed Chardonnay, Portrait of a Mutt Zinfandel, Merlot Over and Play Dead, and Chateau d’Og Cabernet Sauvignon.  I liked their whites, the Sauvignon Blanc had a nice nose on it.  Pears and melon with a crisp finish.  I think it was like $14.  A win.  The Chardonnay was also tasty.  I’d say honeydew, apples and a creaminess to it.  Also a well priced little wine at around $14.  Of the reds, several of them were green to me.  I would pass on the green ones.  The Chateau d’Og, the Merlot and the Meritage were all a little green, but the Zinfandel was a tasty treat.  It was spicy and jammy without being over the top.  There’s a little Carignane in it, which is kind of interesting to me.  Also at $14 a great little wine.  I’d serve it up at a BBQ all day long.

I have forgotten one of the Canis Major’s, but the two I remember are the two I brought home.  Yeah, I’ve got no room for more wine, but I brought it home anyway.  The Syrah was made from fruit from 3/4 of an acre of Unti’s vineyard.  We all know how much I love Unti.  And these guys did a great job with their Unti fruit.  This one had the layers and balance that I expect from Unti themselves.  It was full bodied and I could not help myself.  It’s got some amazing spice on the back palate, this is an amazing little wine for the price of $25.  I also took home a bottle of the Petite Sirah.  I seem to be on a Petite Sirah kick, just for the record.  There’s none left here.  Or if there is I can’t find it.  I drank it up.  Same with the Pinot.  None of that here either.  This fruit comes from Unti and Perotti.  Perotti is well known for his quality fruit.  This one is full of purply, inky, jammy fruit and spice.  It feels perhaps a little young so I am going to try and hold on to it.  We’ll see how that goes.

Next stop Trentadue.  Because I had wine to pick up and I knew they would welcome Rita.  We hopped out of the truck and this boxerish dog came running right at us.  I did what I always do and yelled “No!”  She slowed down but still approached.  I thought she belonged to the party who was just leaving but nope, she was one of the winery dogs.  She wanted me to throw her rock for her.  Yep, that dog played fetch with a rock.

Rita saw the lush grass in front of Trentadue and used that as an opportunity to empty her bladder.  That made me relax because I knew she had to, she was doing the dance but wouldn’t relieve herself no matter how many times I said “Get busy”.  I guess she thought since we were traveling she should enjoy the luxury of long lush grass for her business.  I had a pick up to do there and left with my four bottles of La Storia.  I think I knew more about the line than the staff.

Next stop Longboard Vineyards.  I love Longboard.  They have a huge screen in there where they are always showing surf videos.  Longboard really makes me happy.  We all know I have a great love of all things surfing, even though I’ve only been up on a board a couple of times.  I think I’d like to spend my retirement surfing.

Or not.  Their wines aren’t the OHMYGODICANNOTLIVEWITHOUTHIS sort, but they are all servicable, some stand out more than others from year to year.  But wine is about the experience and for me, these guys nail it.  I really like the DaKine Merlot.  It’s a good merlot, nice fruit, better balance, decent price and always drinkable.  He makes a nice Pinot but I didn’t have any while I was up there.  I went with the Point Break, a Cab/Syrah blend.  That was a great one.  Lots of layers, nice balance, not too fruit forward, a bit of spice on the back end.  I only had two glasses because they were having an event and selling wine by the glass.  Their tasting room staff were a little unsettled by the idea of putting 6 ounces rather than just one in a glass.  I was a little unsettled holding a full glass of wine.  And a red Doberman.  In a room full of people.  Rita was the only dog there and I thank them for being so cool with her.  They were introducing their Maverick’s Syrah.  It was also a fund raiser for the Save the Waves Coalition.  If you want to know how to put on an event, call up Longboard.  Good wine, check.  Food?  They got these guys from the Healdsburg Farmer’s Market who make fish tacos.  OK easy enough I suppose, well not really, but ok they exist and you hired them.  Good move.  But not these guys, they take it one step further.  The fish was caught yesterday, they do it “Rubios” style and she makes the damned tortillas right there in front of you.  Seriously.  The best fish taco I have ever had and I love fish tacos, especially “Rubios” style.  Food, check.  Surf videos, check.  Surfers, check.  What?  Yep, professional surfers present and accounted for.  Skindog, hello!  Raffle of the surf photos with the photogs present?  Check.  Don Montgomery tooks some shots of Rita.  I hope they show up somewhere, that would be really cool.  And great people to talk to.  A very fine event Longboard.  I wish I could have stayed to the end but I left a little boy home in his crate and he drank a bunch of water right before I left too.

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