Cat’s Pee Nose

“The 2007 Glazebrook Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc displays a pungent gooseberry and cat’s pee nose, well-balanced and harmonious but without the breeding of the Pinot Gris or the Viognier.”

88 Points – Neal Martin – Wine Advocate

There seems to be a disconnect between this reviewer’s taste buds and his brain. Perhaps I am overly harsh, but if I detected the flavor of cat pee in my wine, I would not award it an 88 point score which, according to the Wine Advocate, is “a barely above average to very good wine displaying various degrees of finesse and flavor as well as character with no noticeable flaws.” Am I the only one who does not seek out the delights of cat urine in my wine?

9 Replies to “Cat’s Pee Nose”

  1. The hautey term is “boxwood”. Doesn’t change the fact that it is indeed cat piss in every nuance. To each his own. A local and well respected chef here in SoCo CA LOVES this. His explanations as to why were never adequate.

  2. I recall a lunch at Vong back in about 1998, before the explosion of NZ SBs. I ordered a new zealand SB, not knowing much about the style, and took a whiff. “This smells like cat piss” I said to my guest.
    The waiter, who was walking away by that point, overheard and said “it’s supposed to. NZ whites often have that flavor profile.” I snickered a bit, but, it wasn’t long before NZ SBs became wildly popular, and everyone was having fun with the cat pee description. Hell, one producer even started bottling with the name “cat’s pee on a gooseberry bush”, having a bit of fun with the descriptors often used with NZ SBs.

    As long as the cat piss is tempered with a balance of fruit, sugar and acidity, I’m a big fan.

  3. I’m sorry, but any food that is described using the phrase “cat’s pee” is starting in a very deep hole. I am familiar with the aroma, and I wouldn’t describe it as such, unless it was overpowering and undrinkable.

  4. one of the challenges of people who talk about and describe wine is that you always have to fall back on something else to describe it. cat pee seems to work, and people know exactly what you mean when you say it.

    same for manure, barnyard, and some other descriptors which are commonly used and helpful, but may otherwise describe unpleasant aromas.

  5. There are bizarre descriptors that nonetheless work. Everyone has driven past a farm and smelled the earthy, pungent aromas that while not wonderful, are in some ways evocative of good things. The French phrase “gout de terroir” works well.

    Cat pee evokes many things in me, none of them pleasant. But, whatever makes you happy! I’ll borrow a litter box from a friend with cats and mix the contents in a bottle of white wine, and then sell it as New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. We’ll see how much I get at auction for it.

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