Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cat Pee...What?

It seems I've sparked a bit controversy with my "cat pee" descriptor in my last post. I admit it's strange to see that used as anything other than negative, but it's actually a defining characteristic of the Sauvignon Blanc grape.

In order to prove that I'm not completely looney tunes, consider this. Linda Murphy, wine editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, describes cat pee in some Sauvignon Blancs as "a pungently 'perfumed' mix of herbs, asparagus, green bean and bell pepper." She also states, "Vintners . . . know that compounds inherent in the grapes, pyrazines, are the source of cat pee notes. Pyrazines dissipate in the sun as fruit ripens; the less ripe the grapes, the more pungent the Sauvignon Blanc."

The Italian Sauvignon in my last post was not a product of underripe grapes, however. The wine merely gave the suggestion--a subtle hint--of it. It was just one component of a satisfying, well-made whole!

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