Of the countless bottles of red wine I’ve opened over the years, many of them had aromas of earth, soil, leather, etc. Some even had a hint of moldy basement and some sort of stinky dirt you can’t quite place—which can be such a good thing!
It’s highly likely that I’ve experienced (& drank) wine containing Brett and didn’t realize it. But, it would’ve been so subtle, coming across as somewhat of a pleasant earthy funk, and not completely destroying the complexity of the wine. This week I opened my first, pure barnyard, funky Brett bottle—which was so bad it had to be poured down the drain…
I wish I had a Somm friend who lived close by—preferably walking distance. I so wanted to share this with someone who would say, with conviction,“Yes. For sure. 100% Brett. Textbook Brett.” We would stare, intensely in each others eyes, heads nodding up and down with such confidence—we’d know it was the truth in our souls.
Life is filled with so many questionable, umm, I don’t know, not quite sure, moments. We would know this is to be truer than ourselves. Sword in stone truth!
“This is Brettanomyces. Genus of non-sporing yeast from the family of Saccharomycetaceae!” (Nickname: “Brett”)
Good news: It will not hurt you to drink the funky, yeasty wine.
This yeast can occur naturally in vineyards & wineries. It occurs all over the wine world, from expensive, to inexpensive wines—from Old to New World. Mainly associated with red wines, a little bit of Brett can add such a nice earthy, leathery aroma. Too much, like the above mentioned bottle, it smothers & festers. It not only smelled horrible, sending my olfactory senses into Red Alert, it overwhelmed the wine itself. It was flabby and basically undrinkable. I purchased this bottle as an experiment at Total Wine for only $12.99, so it wasn’t too painful to pour it down the drain.
Bad news: There’s enough bad news in the world. No bad news here. Cheers.