Have you met the Brett Nazis? Some reside in Connecticut
Have you ever encountered a Brett Nazi? If you compete in wine competitions you will most likely meet one. It seems that these Brett Nazis have banded together somewhat like a radical militia while masquerading as American Wine Society Judges. At one famous Connecticut Wine Competition they use one as a regularly picked judge for its competitions.
How do you know if you when you meet one of these judges? It is simple to figure out. They sense Brettanomyces in everything they drink. And they make a note of that on the judge’s reports. So while two other judges think your wine is fine, the Nazi judge ruins your chances for a medal by pronouncing that your wine is suffering from a Brett condition. Knowing that the Brett Nazi Judge holds considerable weight and wanting to be politically correct. After all they are all members of that elite group “Official American Wine Society Judges” there is a certain reputation they must uphold. One cannot go against a brother judge, even if there is not a trace of Brett in the wine. As you can see the Brett Nazi has considerable power in swaying the others.
Many of us that compete quite frankly have had enough of this nonsense. Having Brett is a very real problem and it usually does spoil a wine. However the most esteemed and educated expert judge should also know that a certain amount of Brett in a wine can be desirable. Not all varietals but certain ones. Many years ago I was drinking many Vin du Pays from Languedoc-Roussillon. These wines largely comprised of Grenache with Syrah and Carignane. They often have traces of Brett. It is desirable as this is character of the wine from that region. It is not a flaw. Furthermore, being new at it, when I made my first Syrah I was trying to figure out how to get some Brett in the wine. The French call it, “Sweaty Saddles”. Sadly I never did achieve that in my Syrah. I felt that it was missing that quality of a wine from Languedoc that I liked so much.
How do we combat the Brett Nazis?
Here are a few ways we as winemakers can fight the Brett Nazis. For one we can withhold entering in competitions and then telling the Judging Director to make better choices in the future. You see, the Judging Director’s are the fellows that pick the judges for a competition so they are perfectly aware who the Brett Nazis are on their list. While they live in the shadows, they can’t help exposing themselves at competitions everywhere. However, there seems to be a preponderance of them in Connecticut. We know who you are.
Another way to combat the Brett Nazi’s is to expose them in public. Let’s face it they may think they do, but their palate is no better than yours or mine, they were not born with the “GIFT “. Although, they usually believe they are special. The truth is most likely they have found their way into a very nice little closed society by knowing someone. In this Blue Blood Group they get all kinds of perks and they get paid too.
Do not be afraid of the Brett Nazi, he can be beaten. We just have to demand that Judging Directors stop using delusional judges. They are easy to identify. Their wardrobe mostly consists of Hart, Shaftner and Marx . They have white hair, perfectly capped teeth and speak perfect English. They reside in tony towns like New Cannan and Wilton. By looking at their lily white manicured hands during season you can tell they haven’t been making any wine. I bet they haven’t been grape stained for many years if ever. Makes you wonder if they even know how to make wine. Imagine that! They might have been born with a silver spoon in their mouth but not a superior palate. Judging Directors, We Competitors have had enough.
The final way to combat the Brett Nazi is to eliminate him from judging competitions. This can be done by proving he is a complete fraud. This task can be easier than you think. Actually, I am surprised no one has used this method before. This is what has to be done. If you have competed in a wine competition lately and your wine has been accused of having Brett like I have, when you know the wine has none and other tasters cannot detect any is to have it lab tested. I have done this and there was no Brett found. Expose Him!
As you can see this will be a hard fight for us to win. But at least one Brett Nazi who lives in Connecticut has been exposed. Maybe the “Sweaty Saddles” he tastes is his own Bullshit. He should recluse himself from completions or be removed from future competitions by diligent Judging Directors.
I wouldn’t hold my breath. But then again we can always publish the Judge’s notes and the lab report here if necessary.
Here is a great article on the subject of Brettanomyces bruxellensis. Click here