The Subtle Bouquet of Cats Pee and Other Wine Aromas
Travel Blog • David Farley • 05.12.09 | 2:29 PM ET
In the 1980s, the University of California, Davis gave a gift to wine snobs everywhere by creating the “Aroma Wheel, ” a lexicon that allowed your average wino to stick his nose deep into your long-stemmed Riedel and then emerge using words like grapefruit, blackberry, banana, black pepper and oaky.
Some of the Wheel’s vocabulary bordered on the undrinkable-sounding: sweaty, barnyard and wet dog, for example. Which allowed for descriptions like this: This deep red blend offers an intense bouquet of wet dog balanced by hints of banana and sweaty barnyard with a body robust enough to be, as the Italians would say, perfectly corposo.
But now a team of scientists have spent $9 million analyzing wine from New Zealand. And in doing so they’ve made a discovery: a new wine aroma. In the sauvignon blanc, they detected a slight aroma of—wait for it—cat piss. Yes, that’s right, cat piss. And the Australian press, always ready to take a jab at their rival neighbors, the Kiwis, seem to be reporting the find with a hard-to-contain glee.
So the next time you’re undecided about what wine to buy, and the person at the shop asks if you’re looking for anything in particular? You can be on the cutting edge of wine-drinking pretension by asking if they have anything with a subtle bouquet of sweaty cat piss.