A collaboration with another local, Chris Catlow, of Sentio wines to try something new for Bridge Road Brewers, wine-making. We deliberately set about to make a simple table wine that could be a platform for the Brettanomyces, fermented in stainless, cold conditioned for a couple of months, and bottled unfiltered. 13% Chardonnay using 100% Brettanomyces and bottle in Bridge Road’s finest 330ml brown glass. THE BACKGROUND
At Bridge Road Brewers we have always been interested in trying new ideas and challenging pre-conceptions, from the outset by making craft beer in a small country town where for half a century beer came in two forms, heavy and light. We have continued to experiment with new and different beer styles, including barrel fermentation with wild wine yeasts, and more recently with 100% Brettanomyces fermentation for our Mayday Hills range.
More recently we teamed up with another local, Chris Catlow, of Sentio wines to try something new for Bridge Road Brewers, wine-making. The merits of yeast and it’s often (in our opinion) underrated influence on flavour profile are always top of the tree when we discuss wine and beer with local winemakers. Chris is a big fan of the amazing lambic beers of Cantillon and doesn’t mind the stuff we make here in Beechworth. He jumped at the chance to work on our idea of making a Chardonnay using 100% Brettanomyces. A wine to challenge the preconceptions of Brettanomyces and the way it influences wine flavour. It is firmly our belief that with the right conditions Brettanomyces is a positive part of many great wines, and in fact is probably present and not detected in many wild fermentations throughout many well known wines.
We deliberately set about to make a simple table wine that could be a platform for the Brettanomyces, fermented in stainless, cold conditioned for a couple of months, and bottled unfiltered.
Chris set about sourcing a small parcel of Chardonnay from the Alpine Valleys, he processed the fruit at his winery and delivered the must to us at the brewery.
Our challenge was to create a flavour profile that was absent from the spoilage compounds that can be generated due to the presence of Brettanomyces. To achieve this we selected a favourable strain of Brettanomyces (Brettanomyces Claussenii), pitched in the correct conditions in appropriate quantities. Fermentation was also undertaken in the absence of any Saccharomyces strains, which can generate the pre-cursor compounds that can result in spoilage compounds.
We set about pasteurising the must (juice) to ensure any native Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces strains were killed off, providing us with a clean medium to pitch our house culture of Brettanomyces Claussenii into an enclosed stainless fermenter to allow for a clean Brett fermentation.
The wine was then crash chilled at held cold under CO2 for about two months, before being transferred to bottling tank and bottled in our double pre-evacuation counter pressure filler, ensuring extremely low levels of oxygen.
In our mind; mission accomplished, we’re pretty certain this wine will provoke some interesting thoughts and discussion about Brettanomyces. The effectiveness of the Brett to undertake primary fermentation without the associated spoilage compounds is clear, this wine is exceptionally dry, and although the flavour profile is very different than one would normally expect, is free from any horse blanket, donkeys bum, goats back or creative barnyard aromas you can imagine.
Although you may feel compelled to swig this wine from the stubby, we’d prefer you do what should be done with any good beverage (including our beer) and serve it in a glass at a cool but not cold temperature.