Why I Hate Sauvignon Blanc: Wine Review

10/22/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Santa Rita Floresta Leyda Sauvignon Blanc, Chile, about $22

Twenty two bucks is a lot to spend for a Chilean white wine, especially if it's
Sauvignon Blanc -- a wine best known for tasting like cat pee. In fact, the French, who produce some of the worlds' most famous Sauv Blanc, in their ever-charming way, highly praise the aroma of "pipi du chat."

Perhaps the worst offender is New Zealand, which, despite producing the pissiest tasting Sauvignon Blanc on the planet, has somehow convinced millions of wine drinkers that what they are really tasting is gooseberries. What the hell is a gooseberry? It's a small, sour-tasting fruit that doesn't actually taste very good. However, at least it sounds better than cat urine.

As a wine critic, I get wine sent to me to taste and write about. A few years ago, an importer sent me a bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with the memorable name of "Cat's Phee on a Gooseberry Bush." (The Federal bureaucrats devoted to preserving the sanctity of wine labels in the U.S. wouldn't allow the word "pee.") At least give the Kiwis points for honesty. And, truth be told, I couldn't bring myself to open it, given my experiences with Kiwi Sauv Blanc.

However, if you want a marvelous bottle of Sauvignon Blanc that will not remind you of an incontinent feline, look for Santa Rita Sauv Blanc. It has aromas and flavors of tropical fruit, melon and a bit of cut grass, but not a hint of litter box. I guess the Chileans don't like cat pee either.