Brettanomyces ‘Brett’ is a yeast with many strains that imparts a wide range of flavors. Fairly common, especially in red wines. Considered by some to add desired character to wines when at low levels.
Telltale aromas: earthy, horsey, barnyard, sweaty-saddle, manure, leather, smoked bacon, cheese, band-aid, antiseptic (from De Long's Wine Tasting Guides)
I came across the term "brett bomb" when I was researching a seriously delicious wine that was also a great value at approx. $10 - the 2004 Château du Cèdre Cahors Héritage
. I googled it an found an interesting range of opinions that pretty much sum up the differences in old world and new world tastes in wine.
Representing the Old World, Jamie Goode liked it:
. . . drinking Chateau du Cedre 2004 Cahors, which is inky, dark, tannic and gravelly. Yes, I'm back on wine, and I'm really enjoying it. Lying in bed, with a TV show on a laptop and a glass of wine in hand is like flying business class. Especially when the wine is authentic, too.
Representing the New World, Ray Johnson didn't:
The nose combines the rugged side of wine-love, with horse blanket, cheese and ripe berry fruit. In the mouth the wine is quite tannic and strongly reminiscent of the horse, certainly too much so for many drinkers. This is the negociant wine from the famous estate. Eleve et mis en bouteille a Vire-sur-Lot 13% $10.99 at Bottle Barn. Yes, this wine is just too rustic for most consumers of New World wine. What is disappointing is that it doesn’t have to be such a brett bomb. Cedre has a great reputation but this wine is not in that league.
Funny enough, their notes are very similar except for their tolerance of brettanomyces. Jamie makes a nod to it as gravelly and authentic, while Ray finds it a cheesy horse blanket (yuck!
); indeed, a BRETT BOMB! To be honest, I really didn't notice the brett on my first tasting, noting just earthy leather which could be a lot of things. On a re-tasting - after reading Jamie's and especially Ray's notes - I did notice the brett more and with a little antiseptic band-aid flavor to it as well. Such is the power of suggestion.
If you've ever been curious or not exactly sure of what Brettomyces tastes like, try to track down this wine. The 2004 is getting harder to find, but the 2005 illustrates this point as well, although with more fruit and less aggressive tannins. Since the wine is 90% Malbec, comparing it with a new world brett-free Argentinian Malbec - like Alamos
- is an interesting and enjoyable comparison. Especially with a few steaks on the BBQ.
George Brett One of the greatest hitters in modern baseball history. Batting for the Kansas City Royals in Game 2 of the 1980 World Series, he left in the 6th inning with severe hemorrhoid pain. After minor surgery, he returned to hit a home run, leading the Royals to victory in Game 3. Although the Royals eventually lost the series to the Philadelphia Phillies, Brett became a hemorrhoids hero.