Just as we suspected, sauvignon blanc from New Zealand has something in it to set it apart from examples of the varietal made elsewhere. But it isn't gooseberries, grapefruit, pimiento, grass, lime or even cat pee, common descriptors in notes from any tasting involving New Zealand sauvignon blanc.
Just what it is remains a mystery. A six-year, nearly $17 million research project aimed at defining New Zealand sauvignon blanc uncovered the compound and is continuing to attempt to pin it down. Oddly, it's odorless, but it may possess properties that bring other compounds together in the wine to explain why the aroma of New Zealand sauvignon blanc is so distinctive, according to this report from The Marlborough Express.