What is Brett?

Brett is short for a naturally occurring yeast called brettanomyces, which is now being blamed for many of the ills which befall bottled wines, and red wines in particular. When Brett is present it triggers the formation of a whole lot of the flavour compounds we don’t enjoy, such as volatile acidity (vinegar) and some stinky phenols.

It used to be quite trendy to murmur something like: ‘I think I detect a touch of corkiness on this wine’. Now you can be even smarter and claim to detect a hint of Brett. Nobody will dare contradict you and you’ll be regarded with huge respect. Better not try this in the presence of a professional winemaker, though. You could end up looking a bit silly. But remember, you don’t have to pontificate over every glass you drink. If you like the wine, drink it. If you don’t like it, sidle up to the nearest pot plant.