2018 En Primeur: the ideal wine profile… including for Brett

Monday April 08 2019 by Vitisphere

 The onset of Brett on batches of fermenting 2018 wine occurred very early on in the year and was kept under wraps in Bordeaux. The onset of Brett on batches of fermenting 2018 wine occurred very early on in the year and was kept under wraps in Bordeaux. - Photo credit : Nicolas Richard

The 2018 vintage in Bordeaux, which miraculously survived out in the vineyard, displays the kind of ripeness and balance that should have appealed to tasters from across the globe at En Primeur week. Whilst the cellar masters at the Grand Cru estates were delighted to have such beautiful samples to show, they kept their fears of an ideal vintage for the spread of Brettanomyces bruxellensis to themselves. They also keep silent about the rapid development of Brett they may already have experienced during alcoholic fermentation which was very often sluggish with high alcohol content and the release of sugar.

Higher than normal pH values

It’s true that pH values are higher than usual. You have to be very careful with microbiology, but there is no widespread tendency for a massive outbreak of Brett,” said Simon Blanchard, consulting partner with Derenoncourt. The oenologist is all the more cautious as he considers the 2018 vintage difficult to characterise. “High pH levels and fermentation difficulties are not widespread. There is an issue with inconsistency because of very variable rainfall in the spring, which caused differing degrees of mildew pressure and concentrations”, said the consultant.

Sylvie Biau, co-founder and head of analyses at the Sovivins laboratory, is much more concerned. She believes that “2018 is the ideal breeding ground for Brett, like all rich vintages, with high pH and high alcohol levels leaving residual sugar”.

 

 

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