May 02, 2007

Château La Paws 2005 California Côte du Bone Roan, about $14

Furry animals on wine labels are usually a sign of a wine to avoid - except, perhaps, when the animal is a dog. Dogs are integral to many wineries, whether keeping vintners company, chasing pests away from the vines, or welcoming people in tasting rooms. Entire volumes have been devoted to them: Check out Wine Dogs and the California-focused Winery Dogs.

When it comes to drinking wines with dog-related labels, my pick would be Château La Paws. Made by Kent Rosenblum, a veterinarian who's also one of California's star zinfandel producers, the syrah-based Côte du Bone Roan not only has plenty of smoky, juicy spiced cherry flavor, but a portion of the proceeds benefits Paws With a Cause, an organization that trains hearing and service dogs.

Rosenblum Cellars, Alameda, Calif.

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