A few years ago,
a part of one small lot of our wine was aged in a leaky barrel and the
whole lot developed a slight taste of VA. Our experienced winemaker,
Dimitri Tchelistcheff, immediately spotted this off-taste during his
routine barrel tasting.
Anxious to save this wine we called in a service firm that through a
new osmosis filtering process was able to separate out the VA. This
worked fine except we soon noticed the characteristic taste of brett
in this same lot of wine. (Brett, short for Brettanomysis, is a wild
yeast which gives a barnyard or rubber boot flavor to wine. It is described
by U.C. Davis Professor Dr. Kunkel as a disgusting taste.)
The filtering people had evidently done their previous filter at a brett
We were horrified and resolved at all costs that this insidious wild
yeast should not get lodged in our cave and thus we would have it forever
in our wine. We burned the infected barrels, disinfected all our cave
walls, floors, drains and the outside of all remaining barrels and were
successful in eliminating this scourge from our winery.
The ironic part of this story is that some of the finest Bordeaux and
Napa wineries have brett in their wines and the wine connoisseurs and
wine writers have accustomed their tastes accordingly. My fathers
saying is You like what you eat and his saying obviously
extends to wine. Well, anyway, for sure we dont have brett in
our wines and that works fine for my taste which favors clean wines.