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Learn Wine  :  Ask Dr. Vinny

Can wine be contaminated if it's stored with beer?

Posted: June 23, 2014  

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

What's That Smell?

Even if you can't identify brettanomyces, study confirms you could love it, hate it, or not even notice

Posted: June 6, 2014  By Harvey Steiman

One sure way to start an argument when tasting with others is to decry the effects of the yeast organism brettanomyces in a wine. Someone is bound to roll eyes and proclaim the opposite. I know. It's happened to me. A lot.

But if it takes an academically trained pro to detect brettanomyces, should it matter for ordinary wine drinkers? I say it does, and here's why.

News & Features  :  News

Is a Wine With Brett a Bad Thing?

New findings show the spoilage yeast can create positive aromas but is hard to control

Posted: March 31, 2014  By Kasey Carpenter

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

When Did Clean Become a Dirty Word?

A spin through the Wine Experience proves good wine doesn't need funk for character

Posted: October 29, 2013  By Harvey Steiman

Am I the only person dismayed at how the discourse about wine seems to have devolved into posturing about whether this particular wine is "natural" enough, or that one has enough "authenticity"?

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

News from the Laboratory

Science marches on, one sip of wine at a time

Posted: August 21, 2013  By Harvey Steiman

I love science. I grew up reading Isaac Asimov essays, and I lap up the latest scientific papers about wine. I came across the following nuggets in recent weeks, ranging from intriguing to frankly frivolous. Each one of them got me thinking. Maybe they will for you too.

Learn Wine  :  Ask Dr. Vinny

Can anything be done to save a wine barrel infected with brett?

Posted: July 15, 2013  

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Stag's Leap Cleans Up

After a decade of mediocre wines, a turnaround

Posted: August 22, 2012  By James Laube

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars has cleaned up its cellar.

After nearly a decade of mediocre red wines, many flawed by the spoilage yeast brettanomyces, the owners of this once prominent Napa Valley winery have released the first vintage of what seem to be clean, complex Cabernets.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Whose Fault Is It?

Tricky questions about "natural wines" intrude on my vacation

Posted: May 14, 2012  By Harvey Steiman

Just back from two weeks in Europe, with stops in Paris, Lyon, Piemonte and Liguria. Intentionally, I scoped out relatively modest restaurants rather than anything trendy or luxe. (More about those in a future blog.) Thus, for the most part, my encounters with food and wine were blissfully free of attitude or pretension.

I promised my wife that I would not allow work to impinge on vacation. There was, however, one notable exception, when the volatile issue of "natural wines" reared its head and I had to deal with an awkward situation. I am an agnostic on natural wines, neither insisting upon drinking them nor avoiding them. For me the issue is always how good the wine is to drink, and all the better if it offers something beyond a pleasant way to wash down dinner.

News & Features  :  News

Fighting the Funk in Funky Wine

Australian scientists crack the code on brettanomyces’ DNA; could lead to a silver bullet against the spoilage yeast

Posted: December 1, 2011  By Harvey Steiman

Learn Wine  :  Ask Dr. Vinny

What can I do about a "bretty" taste in my wine?

Posted: September 23, 2011  

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Where Does Brett Come From?

Can excess sugar be the culprit when it comes to spoiled wine?

Posted: April 8, 2011  By James Laube

Wine drinkers deserve a stable product.

Most winemakers do their best to ensure that their wines are stable when they're bottled. They have nothing to gain and everything to lose if they knowingly bottle a wine that still has active microbes that could lead to something along the lines of brettanomyces.

That doesn't mean that problems can't crop up once a wine is bottle. They often do. The subject came up in my blog earlier this week when I tasted a 20-wine vertical of Peter Michael's Cabernet-based Les Pavots bottlings. A reader asked whether it's possible that fermentable sugar might be the cause of brett in some of the Les Pavots bottlings, but I don't think it's likely.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

The Brett Bugaboo

When is it too much?

Posted: June 16, 2010  By Harvey Steiman

Brettanomyces is a spoilage organism, but many wine experts actually like it. Am I missing something?

Learn Wine  :  Ask Dr. Vinny

Can you please explain brettanomyces?

Posted: March 1, 2010  

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

Three Takes on One Shiraz

How tastes are seldom unanimous

Posted: August 28, 2009  By Harvey Steiman

Several pieces of conventional wisdom dashed while tasting Australian Shiraz and California Syrah: Aussie Shiraz is not necessarily the monster in the room. Brettanomyces does not kill a wine for everyone, even for excellent tasters. And even a steak likes a more balanced wine.

Blogs  :  Stirring the Lees with James Molesworth

The Culture of Brett

When is the spoilage yeast brettanoymces a turn on, or turn off?

Posted: August 7, 2009  By James Molesworth

After reading through some of the notes on a particular Rhône producer’s wines recently, a reader asked me if I had any problem with brettanomyces (commonly called brett), a spoilage yeast that can crop up on either grapes or in barrels. The reader picked up on some descriptors in tasting notes that they thought were red flags for brett, yet the wines scored highly and had long cellaring recommendations. They asked, "How could it be?"

News & Features  :  News

Taking the Barnyard Out of Your Wine

Scientists are decoding the brettanomyces DNA to stop wine spoilage

Posted: August 7, 2009  By Stuart Fox

Blogs  :  James Laube's Wine Flights

Second Chance Not Always For The Better

Posted: September 10, 2008  By James Laube

As the tastings wind down for any given varietal, and the wines that need a second, or third, or even fourth review pass through the tasting room, sometimes things get ugly. We re-taste wines for a variety of reasons.

Blogs  :  Harvey Steiman At Large

How to Find Finesse

Posted: May 2, 2008  By Harvey Steiman

Some wine writers, mostly the ones that rail against the 100-point scale, would have their readers believe that tasters like me and my Wine Spectator colleagues wouldn't recognize a great, delicate wine or one that wasn't a fruit bomb if it jumped out of the glass at us.

Blogs  :  Richard Betts' Blog

In Defense of Flaws in Wine

Posted: January 18, 2008  By Richard Betts

"Is it a flaw or is it the wine?" This is a question that I often think about. This is mostly because I am frequently accused of being too charitable toward wines that display any of a wide range of things that some winemakers and drinkers deem unacceptable.


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