That explains the summer, but what about the dog?
In ancient times, when the night sky was unobstructed by artificial lights and smog, people throughout the world drew images in the sky by “connecting the dots” of stars. The images drawn were dependent upon the culture: The Chinese, Native Americans and Europeans all saw different star pictures - now called constellations. The constellations that we are most familiar with are from our European ancestors.
They saw images of various animals, including dogs, Canis Major and Canis Minor. The brightest of the stars in Canis Major (the big dog) is Sirius, which also happens to be the brightest star in the night sky. Look for it in the southern sky (viewed from northern latitudes) during January.
In the summer, however, Sirius, the “dog star,” rises and sets with the sun. During late July Sirius is in conjunction with the sun, and the ancients believed that the heat from Sirius added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather. They named this period of time, from 20 days before the conjunction to 20 days after, “dog days” after the dog star.
Although it is certainly the warmest period of the summer, the heat is not due to the brightness of Sirius, but is a direct result of the earth's tilt.
Our visit to Isenhower was very enjoyable. We met with Brett the owner and enjoyed visiting with Bob while he poured us generous samples of their uniquely labeled and very aromatic wines. It just so happens Isenhower has their own tribute to man's best friend - "Three Dog Syrah." Wasn't there a band named... never mind. Besides having a beautiful label of three dogs, this Rhone blend is earthy and very fruity with soft tannins. The Isenhower wines I would recommend for their uniqueness, quality and price.
One of the reasons why my thoughts have been with dogs and the summer's heat is that I have a canine wine celebrity staying at my house for a few weeks while her owners are away. "Salsa" is the black lab-mix that hangs out at Forgeron Cellars. She belongs to winemakers Marie-Eve Gilla and Gilles Nicault. Marie-Eve and Gilles are currently in France hosting a wine tour through Burgundy and Provence. "Salsa" and my "Lucy" are getting along quite well for two indulged dog divas.