Brettanomyces Bruxellensis

is the stuff (yeast, specifically) sometimes used in Belgian beers and Côtes du Rhône wines. I was sampling some tonight, and had to conduct some quick research to find out what all the fuss was about.

From Wikipedia:

In the wine industry, B. bruxellensis is generally considered a spoilage yeast and it and other members of the genus are often referred to as brett. Its metabolic products can impart “sweaty saddle leather”, “barnyard”, “burnt plastic” or “band-aid” aromas to wine. Some winemakers in France, and occasionally elsewhere, consider it a desirable addition to wine, e.g., in Château de Beaucastel …

“So what’s your take on this one, Louis?”, said Phillipe, swirling the dark red liquid three-fourths of the way up to the rim.

“Well now! That’s quite a bouquet”, said Louis, after letting his nose linger above his glass.

Each took a healthy swallow, and then audibly sloshed the contents around in their mouths, trying to outdo one another.

“Begins with a remarkable sweaty saddle leather”, said Louis.

“And finishes with the band-aid”, said Phillipe.

“Burnt band-aid”, said Louis, frowning slightly in satisfied appreciation.

“Oh yes … Quite!” said Phillipe.


  1. Broderick Barker says

    I don’t think anyone deliberately adds Brett. But there are some regions that are more likely to be tainted than others, and they have sometimes sought to make a virtue of an unavoidability. But I could be mistaken. I’m not a fan myself.

  2. I knew we could count on you for clarification, BB. Thank you!

    I just thought the descriptions in the Wiki article were hilarious. Band-aid? Really?

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