Sauvignon Blanc

Why does Sauvignon Blanc smell like “cat pee”?

Perché il Sauvignon Blanc profuma di “pipì di gatto”?

One of the most surprising wine aromas is the hint of cat pee in Sauvignon Blanc. Let's see the reason for such a particular aroma.

Sauvigon blanc is native to the Loire Valley : on the marly, calcareous and clayey soils where it has always grown, it expresses itself to the fullest. Precisely, the best territories in the world for this white grape are Pouilly-sur-Loire and Sancerre . Let's see why Sauvignon Blanc has that typical smell of cat pee.

Before leaving: we at Sommelier Wine Box adopt this rule to distinguish the grape variety from the wine of the same name: the grape in lower case, the nectar of Bacchus in capital letters. Let's begin!

Do sauvignon blanc grapes smell like cat pee?

No. The sauvignon blanc grape is semi-aromatic : it is practically odorless and not even the must expresses particular aromas. It is after alcoholic fermentation that sauvignon blanc begins to develop precise and strong aromas, those that will characterize the wine and help us to recognize it.

What are the aromas of Sauvignon Blanc?

The aromas of Sauvignon Blanc are variable but the most characteristic are fruity (passion fruit, grapefruit, mango, quince, banana), citrus (lemon, mandarin), herbaceous (tomato leaf, green pepper, mowed grass, nettle, you). And then there's the smell of cat pee , which makes it so typical.

In the more advanced versions, especially those aged in barrels, Sauvignon Blanc also takes on complex and intense notes of spices and flint .

Are the aromas of Sauvignon Blanc pleasant?

Here I am! Rather, it is the herbaceous notes, if too accentuated, that constitute an aspect that does not denote very high quality.

If you come across a Sauvignon Blanc that is too herbaceous, it is likely that the grapes were harvested too early, when they were not yet perfectly ripe.

What causes the smell of cat pee in Sauvignon Blanc?

The typical scent of Sauvignon Blanc is due to a specific molecule ( 4-methyl-4-mercaptopentan-2-one ): it is an odorous compound that has a strong hint of boxwood , and is reminiscent of cat pee. Its perception threshold is very low, which is why it is an unmistakable perfume.

The more chic will be able to cite boxwood as an alternative descriptor to cat pee.

Where is Sauvignon Blanc produced today?

The vine is to all intents and purposes international. In addition to France, today it is produced in New Zealand, South Africa, California and South America. In Italy his favorite regions are Friuli Venezia Giulia and Alto Adige.

How best to pair Sauvignon Blanc?

The delicate vegetal notes make it a perfect wine for vegetarian pairings . It is ideal to accompany vegetables of all types, velvety soups and pasta with pesto but the most famous pairing is with asparagus : a true love story .

Tips for tasting Sauvignon Blanc?

Serve it to 10° C in a medium glass.

A summer tip : sip it together with pinzimonio , at the end of the day.

A meditative tip : taste it alone , in small sips, reading a poem by Samuel Beckett, who loved the Loire Valley so much.

Or invite friends, if in season you cook an asparagus risotto and toast while enjoying one of life's great pleasures!

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This article was written by reading various things. In particular, important readings were:

Gibberellic acid reduces clusters rot of 'Sauvignon blanc' grapes by Santos da Silva, M. Batalha Moreno Kirinus, C. Farias Barreto, CS Pérez Lamela, M. Barbosa Malgarim, P. Mello-Farias, Il Respiro del vino by Luigi Moio, Sauvignon blanc Cultivar Aroma - A Review by J. Marais e The influence of yeast on the aroma of Sauvignon Blanc wine by H. Swiegers, RL Kievit, T. Siebert, KA Lattey, BR Bramley, IL Francis, ES King, IS Pretorius.

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