- Published on 2017-03-30 16:19:03
- April 1, 2017
Lake Chelan area Winery, Cheval Cellars
, is about to open their doors to the public after more than a decade of growing grapes in the valley. Coupling modern wine-making technology with profound respect for classic wine-making traditions the wine produced from their Manson-grown grapes has blessed only friends and family to date. The labor of love and passion for quality has led viticulture/winemaking team Marcus and Trie Smith to take their time in their official grand opening. Though winery and barrel cellar construction followed grape planting in 2003, nothing demonstrates the couples' commitment more than their recent employment of a rare breed of wine-sniffing dog.
Explains Mr. Smith "Canines have an extremely powerful sense of smell, in fact over five hundred times more sensitive than our feeble human olfactory sense. We often see German Shepherds in law enforcement 'sniffing-out' contraband, other dogs bred for specific tasks such as sniffing out a rabbit's den or hunting pheasants in the field. Since the Middle Ages, the French have been breeding an offshoot of the classic poodle for assistance in the field of wine production. Classified as a Service Animal and imported with special trade assistance of the Trump Whitehouse 'Le Chein Mechant de Vine', The French version of Man's Best Friend, is now coming out of the closet (or wine cave in this instance).
North of the French Pyrenees cloistered monks in the Middle Ages noticed that abbey dogs tended to lap up only the very best juice spilt during annual grape harvest. Utterly useless except for this natural trait, the dogs were in-bred over centuries. Extra-large nostrils, resistance to drunkenness, as well as a disdain for cheddar cheese, the dog developed a specialized and ultra-discriminating wine pallet. So keen has this trait become that the breed is now practically blind. As Mrs. Smith notes they're "'double-blind' - devoid of varietal prejudice, can't read the latest wine blog and can't count to 100 anyway."
The winemakers conducted their own experiment. "I transferred a bottle of 'Two Buck Chuck' into an empty bottle of Laffite '98, then asked the Fifi to do her thing. She literally turned her nose up at the disguised wine. Box-O-Wine: she cowered in the corner; Fifi almost went wee-wee! I'm pleased to report that she's been drooling over Cheval Cellars' 2014 Syrah and howling at our lightly oaked Grenache Syrah Mourvedre blend - so we're itching for this year's bottling."
At Cheval Cellars the dog assists in the blending of different wine varietals and can sense the moment a barrel should be bottled. "A great wine will be even greater by employing advanced detection systems below the human threshold. With our tasting room opening this May, patrons can taste the wines, enjoy them now and know that - 1 year, 5 years, 10 years down the road, it'll be fine. Our friends have thought us nuts - a 'petite deranged' - by our wine-making endeavor. With the French wine-sniffing dog, - It's now undeniable!"