Thursday, December 8, 2011

Brett on the back foot

Once again, the Australian Wine Research Institute has married ground breaking research with an everyday issue for makers of red wine. The thoroughly unwelcome yeast Dekkera bruzellensis (Brettanomyces), commonly known as Brett, has become a scourge for winemakers, especially those who do not wish to sterile filter their red wine prior to bottling. It imparts odours and flavours variously described as horse stable and wet bandaid, and everything in between. Expert tasters who can identify this yeast (which usually infects a wine after the conclusion of fermentation) can detect its presence in minute concentrations. The breakthrough has seen the genetic blueprint of Brett mapped, opening the way to kill the yeast without significant additions of sulphur dioxide or to remove it by sterile filtration.

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