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Brett as Walnuts?

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Bill Buitenhuys

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Brett as Walnuts?

by Bill Buitenhuys » Wed Sep 06, 2006 7:50 am

We went to a restaurant the other night and ordered a bottle of 2001 Chave St. Joseph Offerus. The wine was a nice match for grilled ribeyes, with lots of dark fruit, a deep dried herb element starting to develop, and a spicy/tannic finish.

After about 90mins, it started to develop this walnut skin taste on the finish which we found interesting but it wasn't distracting.

We had the remainder re-corked and packaged to take home (thanks to the recent state law on unfinished wine) and, after a day in the fridge, I reopened the bottle last night.

The walnut flavor is overwhelming. I just completely takes over the palate making teh wine undrinkable. The wine doesnt smell like wet cardboard, or wet dog, or any of the usual TCA signifiers.

Is "walnut" a signifier of brett? What else would make a wine taste like this?
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Robin Garr

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Re: Brett as Walnuts?

by Robin Garr » Wed Sep 06, 2006 9:01 am

Nutty character generally makes me think of oxidation, not brett or dekkara, Bill. Was it vaguely Sherrylike? I'm betting on the other form of cork failure, a cork that untimely admitted air to the wine.
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Re: Brett as Walnuts?

by Bill Buitenhuys » Wed Sep 06, 2006 9:55 am

Ya, it was a nutty sherry like finish, Robin. Funny that it wasn't there at first and was overwhelming the next day.
Gotta love those corks, eh?
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Bob Ross

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Re: Brett as Walnuts?

by Bob Ross » Wed Sep 06, 2006 10:51 am

"Dekkara"

Robin, informational question -- how do you describe the taint created by the microbe?

It's different from brett, or is it?

I've seen descriptors like "rancid" or "moldy". I'm not sure I've ever tasted this taint.

Thanks, Bob
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Robin Garr

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Re: Brett as Walnuts?

by Robin Garr » Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:17 pm

Bob Ross wrote:"Dekkara"

Robin, informational question -- how do you describe the taint created by the microbe?

It's different from brett, or is it?

I've seen descriptors like "rancid" or "moldy". I'm not sure I've ever tasted this taint.


Bob, frankly, I think this is more a matter for lab analysis than a simple "this tastes like that" how-to list. <I>Dekkera</i>, as I recall, is a <i>form</i> of <i>Brett</i>, and I think there are quite a few cousins in the family. With all possible variables taken into account, these microbes can cause quite a variety of "dirty" characters in wine. Think about how <i>brett</i>, for instance, can produce aromas that range from the byproducts of cows to chickens to horses to leather, and in strength from a distant, pleasant (except for UC Davis types) nuance to an overwhelming stench. Jancis describes <I>Dekkera</I> as "mousy," although I can't say I've been close enough to a mouse to smell one. Personally, I don't normally use <I>Dekkara</I> as a descriptor because I'm not confident in my ability to single it out.
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Re: Brett as Walnuts?

by Bob Ross » Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:00 pm

Thanks. I've avoided it too -- just thought you might have gotten an insight since you mentioned the word.

Many thanks, Bob
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Re: Brett as Walnuts?

by Victorwine » Wed Sep 06, 2006 6:07 pm

Why is it when a wine is tainted, most people believe the cork is to blame? There are air-borne and surface-borne micro- spoilage organisms just waiting to pounce on an open bottle of wine, and guess what it doesn’t matter what type of enclosure was used to initially seal the bottle. Yes cork is responsible for the infamous TCA, but this is not the only cause for a tainted wine, and besides this micro-spoilage organism (responsible for TCA) also could contaminate winemaking equipment and storage vessels.

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