What’s the Claw Factor?

Sauvignon Blanc is a wine that has a fascinating range and it deserves its own rating system, in my humble opinion.

On one end of the spectrum, there are the commodity Sauvignon Blancs. You know, the ones that have no character, no finesse, and something important is missing (like flavors).

On the other end of the spectrum, you feel like you just finished cleaning the litter box, and the aromatics of that are still lingering in the air, and now it’s on your palate. (Oh, God!)

Then, there’s that line right down the middle. It’s got character, flavors, and lots of finesse. And, the aromatics are inviting, green pear, apple, gooseberries, tart lemons, and all’s well with the world. (Yum…)

One day, it occurred to me that I didn’t like writing about SBs, because I might have to actually write, “cat pee.” I’ve had horrors about that one, since the day I read that when men curse or are crude all is still well in the world. When women are coarse or crude, however, that’s another bowl of cherries. To actually write the word “pee” would remove me from being perceived as dainty, feminine, or politically correct. So, instead of having to say or write “cat pee,” I devised a claw system.

What causes this aroma? It’s a chemical compound called p-mentha-8-thiol-3-one. Yeah, we can’t really pronounce it, but can use this in a chem lab and everyone will get you.

I describe how much I enjoy a SB by the “Cat Claw Factor.”

One Claw = Commodity SB

“Did I order water, Ms. Sommelier?”

Two Claws = “This has hints of being a SB”

“I can live with it. Sometimes we only want a hint of 4-mercapto-4-methylpentan-2-one, as it allows other aromas and flavors to filter through.”

Three Claws = Perfect SB

“Ah, I’m back working at Robert Mondavi Winery, and having a SB from the Tokalon ‘old vines’ block. Yes!”

Four Claws = Just off perfect, and headed toward the litter box

“This is like a day old litter box. I can take it, but I wish I didn’t have to. Make a note to self, ’empty that thing as soon as possible.'”

Five Claws = It’s over the top with capsicum like 2-methoxy-3-isobutylpyrazine

“Call in the paramedics, I can’t breathe.”

The day I can tell it like it is, I will. Until then, it’s all about the claws, baby…