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Annals of Marketing
First Cat's Pee and Now the Taste of Cigarettes
Wednesday, 17th June, 2009  - David Farmer

About the worst term I can think of to explain the aroma, or is that bouquet, of a wine is 'cat's pee'. Apparently though New Zealand thinks this is a splendid term to send out in a press release explaining new advances in understanding the chemistry of sauvignon blanc.

Exactly what the full list of chemicals are that make up the aroma and taste of New Zealand sauvignons I do not have though one or several produce a very distinctive, attractive and powerful aroma.

I describe the aroma as herbal or grassy, and for me resembles that of gooseberries and it is this character that many years ago those who did not like this variety tagged with the term cat's pee. I believe those who misunderstood this variety and used that term perhaps held back its acceptance for decades.

Now I read in Decanter, May 14th that a survey by Wine Intelligence, investigating knowledge of regionality by regular wine drinkers, when asked what they thought of the term Marlborough replied, cigarettes.

This no doubt would turn the marketing director for Marlborough, ashen faced.

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