Aww, cute doggie. Look at that pooch. With animals being the biggest celebrities on YouTube, it didn’t take long for somebody to figure out to put one on a wine label. You don’t know what kind it is, the dog AND the wine. And that must be why it is called The Mutt. The wine’s deep, dark color and big, bold and ripe flavor might fool you into thinking it’s a Zinfandel. Its striking acidity and peppery, earthy qualities and silky texture might have you guessing it’s a Syrah. But what it is, is an instantly likeable and potent red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah—all 100% sourced from Napa Valley. In dog terms, let’s say this 2011 HOOPLA is a mix of English bulldog and bull terrier. Medium-sized build and strong but friendly, gentle and focused, with a bite. Red wine blends are the craze in America, and this one was bred from a combination of high-quality pure Napa pedigrees, with lots of personality and just a heck of a lot of fun. Why spend $25 on a blend when so many are available for 8, 9, 10 bucks? The same reason you don’t want a dog that just sits there on your couch slobbering all day and taking up space. You want personality, you want a fun playmate, you want something that barks at you when you walk in the door, you want a best friend. Every dog has its day, and today is the day for this Mutt. –J.M.
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Great Wine: Robert Craig Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon