Brett & Mouse what is it and what are the differences | Aardig Wijntje

Misunderstandings in wine world #1: Brett & Mouse

There are those who falsely claim that naturally made wines are full of flaws. Of course, it is possible for wines to be under-produced, but this can be the case with both "conventional" and naturally made wines. Naturally made wines are not immune to bad winemakers; it is the careless actions in the delicate process of winemaking that can negatively affect the outcome of a wine.

Yet common mistakes are often directly associated with natural wines, which is the case with brett, for example. In the upcoming series of articles, we will explore some common misconceptions, starting with the terms brettanomyces & mouse and the differences between these "mistakes.

What is brett, or brettanomyces?

Brettanomyces is an alternative strain of yeast that, like other yeasts, deposits on the skins of grapes. Like unnatural yeast cells, spontaneous brettanomyces yeasts convert sugars into alcohol, among other things. The final residues of brettanomyces yeasts are responsible for earthy aromas of horse stable, damp leather and a smell of stable. Excess brett can overpower the smell and taste of wine, so to speak.

Yet there are also plenty of wine enthusiasts who find that brett is part of a particular wine style or, for example, can add complexity to a wine. So whether brett is actually a fault in wine? When the degree of brett is not excess, we do not consider it a "flaw" at all. As long as the fruit aromas remain present! Brett can not only occur in natural wines, but can also be found in conventional wines. However, because spontaneous fermentation is more often the standard in natural wines, it is more common in natural wines.

What is mousiness?

Mouse is a bacterial infection that can occur when a wine is exposed to oxygen. Mouse often develops when moving wine from one barrel to another; this can be from tank to barrel, barrel to barrel or barrel to tank. In addition, mouse also often develops during the bottling of wine. Generally, mouse settles in wine when the wine returns to an environment that does not require oxygen for living organisms to survive.

Mouse and brett are still sometimes confused with each other, but it is not possible to smell mouse. You can taste the aromas on your own after about 5 seconds. The mousey taste is reminiscent of sour milk and dead dusty mouse. The degree of sensitivity of this taste varies from person to person; some are more sensitive to it than others. Mouse can be controlled by adding sulfite. In conventional wines, therefore, you will also not encounter mouse very much, if at all, because these wines use a lot of sulfite and preservatives.