Brett / Brettanomyces - Wine Tasting Term

Brettanomyces is a type of wild yeast that can contaminate the winemaking process and cause off flavors. Depending on the level of Brett contamination, the flavors may be thought of as nice or unpleasant. At low levels, Brett can add flavors of spice or general complexity. But as the brett levels grow in a wine, the wine begins to taste plastic, metallic, or that off-taste that a Band-Aid has.

Many wineries in the Burgundy region have a substantial infestation of Brett, to the point that people feel those flavors are a normal part of the wine's flavors.

Brett can only survive at pH levels of 3.4 and higher, so many winemakers ensure that their wines stay below this pH level in order to keep them free of Brett. Many wineries also use ozone and sulfur to try to keep this wild yeast under control.

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