What am I smelling/tasting??

Hi everyone. First post.

The bottle that did it for me was the 2012 Domain du Pegau Cuvée Laurence. Prior to that I just occasionally had a sip here and there of whatever crap my wife happened to find on sale. :slight_smile:

So, I’m trying to figure out what it is I’m tasting in some wines, and why some wines have this taste/smell and others don’t. I describe it as an earthy smell. I taste it in the 2012 Cuvée Laurence. Also the 2012 Cuvée Reservee. Also in the 2014 Saint-Damien Gigondas, but definitely not in the 2015. My wife hates this smell and says it smells like dirty diapers or diarrhea. She’ll ask, “You’re not opening a poop bottle are you?” Ha!

In any case, I love this “earthy” smell. What is it that gives some wines, seemingly mostly southern Rhônes, this smell/taste??

Thanks!! (Be gentle!)

Brett! Welcome to the board!!!

it’s horse shit!

Yes, that! Quite literally, it’s brett, which often smells like horse poop, if the horses had recently feasted in a cherry orchard.

Brett isn’t TCA; TCA gets you the wet cardboard. Brett smells like a stinky farmhouse.

Correct - I fixed my original post - I love brett, hate TCA, so I SHOULD get that correct the first time

Thanks for the super fast replies!

Does a wine maker intend to produce this result? The only two Pegau’s I’ve had were 2012’s. So, do all Pagaus have this, or was it maybe only in certain years?

I bought the 2014 Saint-Damien Gigondas several months ago. I finally opened it last weekend and loved it. So I went to the wine shop and all they had was 2015. And I tasted/smelled zero brett in that. So, did the 2014 inadvertently get tainted with brett and the 2015 did not? Or did the winemaker say I want a bretty 2014, but for 2015 I’m keepin it out!

Basically it’s like a crap shoot when I’m at the wine shop in search of this taste/smell I love.

Lastly, am I supposed to like it??? Or is this something no one else (like my wife!) likes?

You’re supposed to like what you like. F anyone who tells you otherwise. [berserker.gif]

But, to your question, there are other weirdos on the board who like brett. [wow.gif]

Weirdos unite!

:astonished: “Crap shoot”: that aptly sums up your quest!

Stop buying/opening/drinking poop wine and buy/open/drink wine your wife likes!!!

Welcome to the board. I agree with Kyle - drink what you like. Pegau is known to often show brettanomyces. People usually love it or hate it.

I think that the 2013 Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva has a touch of it, but it is not as strong as Pegau.

You can probably use the search function here to find other wines with it.

Weirdo here!

Mike needs to be introduced to Chinon!

Welcome to the board, fellow weirdo. :wink:

Echo that!

Mike, Robert is right to point out that brettanomyces is common in wines from traditional producers of Chinon. You’ll also find it a lot in the Languedoc. If you also enjoy some sauerkraut and vomit aromas along with the earthy,smokey manure scents, then you can go out and get some “natural” wines from wherever you want (they mostly taste pretty much the same regardless of origin [stirthepothal.gif] ).

Brett is a defect of an unclean winemaking techniques that can add complexity in small doses (very small) but can quickly get out of hand and go full bloom in bottles, and the consumer should know that warmer storage temps can increase it. It is part of the devils toolkit.

Full stop on the bold. It is essentially a yeast infection in your wine. It is common in Chinon and Chateuneuf du Pape. It gives of a barnyard, horse stable, fecal note and can quickly overwhelm wines. As wines with brett age, they become nearly identical in profile and, in my opinion, nearly universally disappointing. I’m talking 20+ years of bottle age with brett.

Have you had Chinons with 20+ years of age on them? I’ve had spectacular bottles of Raffault Les Picasses from many vintages in the 70s and 80s, including the vaunted 1989 and 1990 vintage. Raffault shows a hint of brett in many vintages, but I can tell you unequivocally, I’ve yet to have a bottle that was spoiled, disappointing, identical in profile, etc. Yes, a brett bloom can happen, but so many other things can happen to a bottle of wine under cork, that I don’t sweat the concern. And yes, I have had Chinons that I had to dump, but I’ve also had corked First Growths, and modern Cali Cabs with TCA.

The reality of it is, there is a very large spectrum of clean to completely sterile, anti-septic. I wonder what unique, distinctive wines like Juge, Levet, Pegau, Raffault, etc., would taste like if the winemaker ventured more to the sterile side of that spectrum, and let’s take it one step further, used an optical sorting machine to weed out less than perfect grapes, removed stems, etc. What about bugs in the juice or all other sorts of miscellaneous items that invariably end up in the crush? You end up perhaps with modern versions of Paris or Voge in lieu of Juge and Levet; Domaine Roche Neuves in lieu of Joguet; Cos d’Estournel in lieu of Sociando Mallet; you get my drift. I call these wines with soul.

Having tasted numerous bretty wines from all over the Europe (plus one conspicuous Lebanese winery) with bottle ages ranging from 20 to 50 years, I really have to disagree with you.

I should caveat, based on my experience on these boards and in tasting groups, brett sensitivies are all over the map, some turn their nose, some embrace it in part, and some don’t even detect it. I’m in that middle category, I detect it, generally am ok with it in small doses, it being part of the bouquet and taste of some traditional wines.

The ‘challenge’ with brett in wine is that, unless the wine is filtered and the brett is kept ‘in check’, there is zero way to know that two bottles are ‘identical’, and therefore comparing and contrasting bottles is impossible.

I’ve seen it again and again - one person opens a bottle and finds it ‘really interesting, despite small amounts of brett’, and someone else opens another bottle and complains that the brett is ‘out of control’.

As others have pointed out, this is a spoilage yeast that can lead to wines smelling anything like band-aid (4-EP) to leather to molasses to horse shit to putricide.