The Greyhound Wine Critic (or “When Do You Know You Have Too Much Spare Time on Your Hands?”)

So much of the taste of wine comes from its smell. Therefore, I enlisted the help of my greyhound, Nora, to use her super-sensitive smelling abilities as a critic for a side by side competition among several wines. The judging was simple: the more she sniffed or licked the cork or cap, the better the wine must be. Here are the results.

Pinot Noir: Two sniffs, one lick. I knew she wanted a taste but although she’s twenty-eight in dog years, I won’t let her have a sip from my glass. She glared at me like I was Michael Vick until I brought out the next cork. Score: Two paws up.

Cabernet Sauvignon: Only two sniffs but she also aggressively attempted to chew the cork. I have only seen one wine judge lunge for the cork with his teeth before but it was after he’d confused his cold medicine with bull shark testosterone. I have to assume lunging for the cork with one’s teeth is a positive testament for the wine. Score: Two paws up.

Chianti: Three sniffs and enough licking to give the cork the feel of an oil soaked gerbil. I slid the soggy cork back into the bottle and made a mental note not to pour the remainder of the wine for guests. Score: Two paws up.

Lemon Fresh Pine Sol : Two sniffs. In an effort to avoid an appointment with the vet and a date with the ASPCA, I restrained her from licking the cap. Score: Two paws up. I’m beginning to have my doubts about Nora’s palate.

Boone’s Farm (Apple Blossom): One sniff. Nora immediately adopted the same depressed expression she wore when she learned David Archuleta lost American Idol. She then ignored the cap and spent the next fifteen minutes licking the same spot on the carpet. A rather damning statement about the wine considering Nora happily gobbles up dead beetles and frozen rabbit turds. However, my faith in Nora’s judgment is restored. Score: One paw down.

Test conclusion: I probably have too much spare time on my hands.

This week’s recommendation is an excellent Malbec.     

Trivento 2009, Malbec ($8.99): This wine reminds me of a retired greyhound racer. It’s powerful with beautiful structure and at the same time it displays a docile mellowness. In wine speak that means it’s super delicious. At under ten bucks you also feel like you’ve just won at the track.

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11 Responses to The Greyhound Wine Critic (or “When Do You Know You Have Too Much Spare Time on Your Hands?”)

  1. Jim Duerr says:

    Nora looks like a typical wine snob, but she obviously has great taste.

  2. MikeS says:

    I’m concerned as to how you discovered what an “oil soaked gerbil” feels like. Let hope there’s no video,

  3. Benito says:

    There was a joke years ago in one of the wine mags, I forget which. But it boiled down to this: A guy had a dog that could identify any of the major red wine grapes just by sniffing a glass and tapping his paw to indicate the varietal. So the owner and the guest start opening bottles, and the dog is always right: Cab Sav, Merlot, Zinfandel, etc. Finally the guest pulls out a real treasure, an aged Burgundy, and the dog sniffs the glass and backs away from it. Well, they think, maybe this hound isn’t a canine wine prodigy. And then they sniff the wine, and it’s corked beyond all recognition.

    My own mutt, Wolfgang, doesn’t have much interest in wine. He’ll lick up the occasional spilled drops, and sometimes runs his nose through the box of corks I keep in the corner of my closet, but when I’m swirling and sniffing he’s mostly concerned with whatever food is on my plate.

    • krisbarber says:

      That’s a good one, Ben! Nora will devour anything. She’ll read the phone book for you if you offer a treat. I’ve seen your pics of Wolfgang (I assume it was Wolfgang, the pic said “Wolfie”).

  4. Jodi B says:

    Hilariously informative article and I applaud your logic. After all, we trust our dogs to sniff out the bad guys, so it makes perfect sense to have the dog pick the wine! Mad at myself for not thinking of it first.

  5. Tina Hermsen says:

    Too funny, but there must be something to greys and good wine or more like wine corks. Diego loves to chew on wine corks and it seems there are labels that he perfers more then others…

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