When Vinomaker tastes wines blind, he likes to use combinations of numbers, or animal names, written on plain brown paper bottle bags to identify each wine, instead of the simpler numeric system of numbering the bottles 1, 2, 3, etc. Vinomaker, and his friend Sky King, believe that tasters experience some sort of number/cognitive bias when faced with a wine numbered 1, versus a wine numbered 10. I don't think I have ever had a problem with number bias (although I am fond of the number 3), but apparently some people do. So, when faced with ten bottles of wine - sporting animalia monikers such as pig, sloth, Bluetick Coonhound (a late entry, don't ask), and eel - I displayed no bias towards ugly creatures when I picked toad (very closely followed by lemur) as my favourite wine.
The terrific toad had the good fortune of turning out to be a delightful 2009 Joel Gott Zinfandel from Amador County; extremely varietal like, pepper, raspberries, red currants, and superbly smooth. The lovely lemur was a 2010 Black Cat Zinfandel from Howell Mountain; redolent with oodles of vanilla, and the bouquet, and matching palate-pleasing taste, of the best cherry pie ever. Yum!
My least favourite wine was bat (and I'm really quite fond of that particular mammal) which turned out to be a 2009 Ravenswood California Zinfandel ($10); mystery spice, mystery fruit, some oak/vanilla, and hot.
Moral of the story? None really, except perhaps that a lowly toad may just turn out to be a prince of a wine.