WWD: Dunham Cellars Three Legged Red

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One of our favorite every-day wines — and one that is price-friendly — is a Dunham Cellars red blend called Three Legged Red. To us, this is not a special occasion wine. But if you follow the credo that every day is a special occasion, then this is definitely a wine to have on the table.

The first time we saw it, we were drawn to the photo on the label of the cutest three-legged dog. Then we tasted it and liked the wine as much as we liked the photo.

Every year, Dunham Cellars blends a portion of its wines — Cabs, Merlots and Syrahs — into this red table wine. Last night, we had the 2005 Three Legged Red with our simple dinner of tasty burgers. (“WWD” means wine with dinner.) The Syrah, with its peppery and smoky flavor, spices up the blend, which is softened by the fruity Merlot.

The dog’s name is Port, by the way. We met him earlier this year when we visited the winery in Walla Walla. He is adorable! The story of how winemaker Eric Dunham rescued him is on the back of every bottle.

It was a sunny day in the summer of ’94 when I met Port. Outside I heard the distinct sound of an animal in distress. It took only moments to realize what was happening across the field from my house – a very small animal had fallen into harm’s way and was being attacked by a Pit Bull. I ran to the scene, broke up the fight and found that the small animal was a puppy that was very badly injured. Instinctively, I wrapped him up and took him to the veterinarian. I agreed to pay for the emergency surgery and recovery. The puppy had lost a leg, but found a home. With only three legs, and two on the port side, I named him Port, and he is my best friend.

Being dog-lovers, this story definitely resonated with us. Did you know that dogs have a big following in the wine industry? There are even books and postcards about winery dogs. I started an album on Facebook of dogs belonging to wine writers. I also started one on my Web site. If you’re a wine writer and have a dog, please send me photos!

Cheers!