Delibrett…Herdade do Arrepiado Brett Edition Syrah 2007 – making a virtue out of brettanomyces
I’m heading towards the end of 3 weeks judging wine and, if there’s a fault that continues to provoke lively debate, it’s brett, full name Brettanomyces (also known as Dekkera). Brett is a naturally occurring yeast which can impart a bandaid or animal quality (from barnyard to horse sweat) to wine. For some, it’s a complexing factor, for others, it spoils wines (see Jamie Goode’s in depth coverage of this issue here). For me, it’s a matter of fact and degree taking into account the overall balance and harmony of the wine and quality/typicity expectations given its origin/style.
Brave then that Alentejo producer Herdade do Arrepiado‘s Brett Edition Syrah 2007 makes a virtue of it – the bottle features a horse and the word “Brett” sports a registered trademark logo. The etched back label is transparent in more ways than one. It squares up to the debate and shares the winemaker’s stance on this wine – to summarise – brett adds complexity to the nose without compromising the fruit. I have to admit that this wine didn’t do it for me – I found the animal quality distracted me from the fruit, but each to their own. It wouldn’t be the first time that my views have diverged from other wine afficionados in recent weeks, and it won’t be the last!