From Smoked Meat to Wet Dog: Brettanomyces in Wine

Do yeasts from the Brettanomyces genus cause nothing but unpleasant flavors and aromas? Or does "Brett" also bring something pleasant to the table? Wine Spectator reports on a study at UC Davis showing that some strains of Brett actually contribute positive notes to a wine, and have created a Brett flavor aroma wheel to illustrate their findings. So while you'll find the putrid ("boiled cabbage, rotting vegetation/marshy, sewer gas, rotting meat/fish") on the wheel, you'll also encounter the floral ("violet, rose, lavender, lilac, strong floral/perfume"). Though I consider myself and adventurous wine drinker, I going to have to admit I prefer the latter.

Looking to learn more about Brettanomyces? Here are 5 articles to help weigh out the positive and negative viewpoints on Brett in your glass:

Beaucastel and Brett

Jamie Goode quotes Mark Perrin of Chateau de Beaucastel in Chateauneuf du Pape: "There are certainly some Brettanomyces in every natural wine, because Brettanomyces is not a spoilage yeast (as many people think) but one of the yeasts that exist in winemaking."

Brett: Villan or Hero?

W. Blake Gray explains why Darth Vader is his lover and what this has to do with Brett.

The 'B' Word

Linda Murphy, who enjoys the 1989 Beaucastel, talks to Adam Lee of Siduri Wines in Sonoma. Lee is not a fan, to put it mildly: "We do everything we can to avoid having Brett in our facility and in our wines, and thus far we have been very fortunate. I’m just not a fan of Brett, whether it’s a lot or a little. It’s like someone saying they’re a little bit pregnant."

Grandpop's Library and Loire Cabernet Franc

Dave McIntrye is bummed to learn that its more Brett than Bourgueil influencing the flavor of his wine.

Beer Brewers Bullish on Brett

Daniel Fromson writes about brewers who have no qualms to deliberately add Brettanomyces to their batches.

Have a look at the Wheel of Brett, courtesy UC Davis: