The seminar was ground-breaking for UC Davis, which previously always called Brettanomyces in wine a "spoilage organism." This was the first time the university acknowledged that brett is an important part of some wines' terroir.

2013 REDUX / Darth Vader is My Lover: Revelations About Brettanomyces in Wine

Palate Press has selected our favorite stories from 2013 and will publish Redux articles over the holidays, starting with a week featuring Palate Press Columnists. The editorial board hopes you enjoy these highlights as we look forward to bringing you the best stories for your palate in 2014.

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My whole wine world is shaken.

What does Syrah taste like? Are floral aromas pretty? Is a “typical Bordeaux” supposed to taste like medicine and ashes? I don’t know anymore.

Lucy Joseph, of UC Davis, presenting the diverse aromas of brett.
Lucy Joseph, of UC Davis, presenting the diverse aromas of brett.

I’ve been to a Brettanomyces tasting at UC Davis. I described it on Twitter as spending a day in a room full of laboratory-created stink cells. I couldn’t get the taste out of my mouth for hours.

But the psychological impact … well, I may be scarred for life. As I said at the tasting, “It’s like learning that Darth Vader is my father.”

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