I have had some reservations about blogging what I am about to tell you. Some may believe it is unbelievable. Others may applaud such a fine specimen for being so highly sensitive and educated. But I really don’t care. I think it is time to tell the world the truth.
It’s taken me years to train my terrier Archie, but he finally has the ability to detect good terroir with his nose. If I walk him through a vineyard just about anywhere in Italy, he can detect whether the soil has the potential to produce outstanding wines. Yes, wines of 90 points or more!
I have been secretly training the white-furred genius with the help of a local white truffle hunter called Cesare Turini, who also doubles as a wine merchant. Cesare has award-winning dogs that can scent a white truffle from about a quarter of a mile away. His house is full of the precious mushrooms every autumn, and he makes bags full of cash with the stuff. “I no need to sell the wine anymore because my dogs dig up so many truffles,” he said. “Super Tuscan is stupido. Tartufo the best.”
Anyway, Cesare has been training Archie every week to understand the truth about great soil. It’s rather simple. Archie spends a day tied to a vine at Sassicaia or Ornellaia and then spends a day in a vineyard in Vino Nobile di Montepulciano or Chianti Arentini. At Sassicaia, he is fed Florentine T-bone steaks as he waits while in lesser terroir only receives only cheap dry dog food and water. Archie got the idea really fast! He is much like his master and understands value of a great steak.
Now, Archie can find great terroir in just a minute or two after visiting a vineyard. If he thinks it’s a great terroir, he promptly sits down. If he is convinced otherwise, he just stands there, or runs around. Very bad soil and vineyards may receive even worse treatment but I don’t want to get into the details of that now.
If you don’t believe me, please check out the video.
You may ask why this is important for a wine critic such as myself. Well, it's for selfish reasons. I am hoping that this might lighten my load in the 4,000 wines I have to taste each year for the magazine. Think of it. I can just take a walk in a vineyard and essentially score the wines made there without ever sticking my nose in the glass. Man’s best friend does it for me! That’s right, my pal Archie comes through for his master!! (He might also be useful for my colleague Bruce Sanderson, who is a student of terroir, and writes extensively about every grain of soil wherever he visits.)
What a dog, and what an April Fool’s Day as well.