Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

The horse he rode in on

with 11 comments

Emilia Rosso 2014, Trebbiolo, La Stoppa ($23.10, 11896501)
A blend of Barbera (60%) and Bonarda (40%) from organically farmed three- to 20-year-old vines. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Matured five months in stainless steel. Unfiltered and unfined. A small squirt of sulphur dioxide is added at bottling. Reducing sugar: 1.5 g/l. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole.
Some barnyardy funk on opening but also mulberry, raspberry candies, old wood, earth and hints of game and papier d’Arménie. As is sometimes the case with this cuvée, there’s a bit of spritz that mostly dissipates, especially if the wine is carafed. That aside, it’s medium-bodied and very dry, full of tangy fruit, tart acidity and medium tannins with a nice rasp and an appealing astringency that lingers through the minerally finish. Virtually begs for casual fare – think pizza, sausages, grilled pork – and can handle tomato with aplomb. Just don’t serve it too warm. A return to form after the verging on off-dry 2013, this has some of the rustic appeal of the much missed Gutturnio, which cuvée it replaces. (Buy again? In multiples.)

Preparing this note for posting has my mouth watering, so much did I enjoy the wine. Several friends have also expressed delight with the 2014 (“back to being eminently quaffable” to quote one of them). All of which gives the lie to another local blogger’s claim that (translating here and below) “No one could like this. Undrinkable!”, something said blogger knows is untrue as he goes on to cherry-pick Cellartracker comments in support of his position while ignoring the majority of favourable reviews appearing alongside them. (Not that I place stock in scores, but the Cellartracker average is 89 points for the 2013 and 2014 and 87 points for the 2012. Wine Spectator reportedly rated it 89 points. Hardly undrinkable.)

Maybe the wine’s not to the blogger’s taste. Fine: de gustibus non disputandum est. Maybe he doesn’t “get” natural wines. Maybe he is unaware that wines from this area and nearby parts of Piedmont sometimes have – and are prized for – the funky, fizzy qualities he objects to. Maybe his particular bottle was actually defective, a possibility that doesn’t appear to have occurred to him. Or maybe his declaring not just his bottle but every bottle to be a “foul horse,” his suggesting that the winemaker, agent and SAQ were asleep at the switch, his screaming in all caps that the wine should “be withdrawn at once” point to another agenda.

Notwithstanding such irresponsible reporting, the 2014 Trebbiolo has been selling well and is already in low supply at or long gone from stores like the Laurier and Beaubien Sélections, whose customers tend to be more clued-in than others. If you look, you’ll find bottles here and there on the island in addition to the 60 or so on And if it’s the kind of wine that pushes your buttons, look you should.

Written by carswell

October 7, 2016 at 15:17

11 Responses

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  1. Well, you have to know the guy a bit. From his tasting notes, we can read that he is super sensitive to brett, not a fan of anything funky and likes to “stir the pot” (to put it kindly). That coupled to the fact that he sees everything either super black or super white, I would say that I’m not super surprised by the reaction.

    You two have palates that are on the exact opposite side of the spectrum…

    Julien Marchand

    October 10, 2016 at 20:37

    • Have been reading that blog for years, Julien, so I know where the author is coming from. And, as much as I appreciate his sometimes holding the SAQ’s feet to the fire, his wine reviews have never influenced my buying habits. So, no, I’m not surprised he doesn’t like the wine and I wouldn’t have mentioned it if he’d limited himself to that. But he didn’t. He said no one could like the wine when he knew full well that many people do. He accused the winemaker, the agency and the retailer of incompetence. He said the wine — a strong seller — has no place on retail shelves. And he did so on the basis of a single bottle that may or may not have been defective. He also displayed his complete ignorance of a long winemaking tradition. Such irresponsibility and dubious ethics — and such reputation smearing and controversy manufacturing in, I suspect, search of clicks — deserve to be called out.


      October 16, 2016 at 13:12

  2. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed 2 bottles of the 2014 Trebbiolo so far over the past couple months, a bargain of a wine I look forward to each year (setting aside issues with high residual sugar in the 2013 vintage). I just bought 2 more as I noticed the SAQ was running low in outlets around my neighbourhood. My tasting experience was much the same as carswell’s (though, as always, dumber). A delicious rustic wine that keeps me going back to the glass and makes me want to have fun eating and drinking for hours.

    I notice the blogger in question has also given bad reviews to COS and Hatzidakis wines. Hmm… At least I know I can ignore his blog.


    October 11, 2016 at 19:14

    • Thanks for the input, andrewm. I’ve de-bookmarked his blog and unfollowed his Twitter feed.


      October 16, 2016 at 13:14

  3. L’odeur d’écurie dans le vin est un défaut.
    Il se peut qu’il y ait des bouteilles qui sentent moins l’écurie.
    D’autres journalistes sont tombés aussi sur deux bouteilles de suite contaminées aux Brett, mais n’en ont pas parlé.
    Au sujet de Cellartracker, il est normal que plusieurs donnent de bonnes notes, mais ce qui est notable c’est que plusieurs aient noté ces fortes odeurs d’écurie, de ferme, dans ce vin et ce sur plusieurs millésimes.
    Au sujet de LA bouteille défectueuse: on juge ce que l’on a dans le verre.
    Il y a des gens qui aiment ce défaut ou qui le détectent moins, mais c’est un défaut que les vignerons essaient de combattre. Certains avec moins de succès.
    La vigneronne et l’agence n’ont pas nié le problème. J’y reviendrai dans un autre article sur ce sujet.
    Les levures de type Brettanomyces sont plus courantes depuis quelques années à cause des changements climatiques, des pH plus élevés, des modes de vinification différentes et de l’usage plus restreint des sulfites.
    Dans les années 70-80 (vous n’étiez peut-être pas nés) nous aimions les saveurs chevalines des vins de Cordier, des Château Talbot et autres. Ils ont découvert qu’elles étaient l’oeuvre des Brett et ces producteurs ont corrigé le problème. Ils n’ont plus ces odeurs.
    Vous pouvez aimer ces odeurs, c’est votre droit, et je respecte votre goût pour les vins dit «funky» déviants, chevalins…
    D’ailleurs, quelle serait la traduction de funcky pour un vin?

    Restons ouverts à la discussion, mais pas au bitchage.
    Nous avons des opinions différentes, nous pouvons en discuter avec respect.

    Marc André Gagnon

    October 17, 2016 at 10:17

    • Theo here from oenopole.

      First I’d like to point out that the publisher of this blog was already an adult in the 70’s and 80s, so, yet again, you make presumptions that are very frustrating, if not annoying.

      I will go on the record with this:
      You lack the journalist integrity of investigating the situation BEFORE you published your “article”. You wrote us at oenopole, and Elena at La Stoppa, AFTER you published your “article”. This infuriates me. Not the fact that the wine contains some Brett, and I especially do not care if you like it or not. That is subjective, and your opinion. But we could have had a discussion and pointed out very important facts that might have had you come to a different conclusion, one that does not accuse either oenopole or the SAQ off “sleeping at the wheel” or the winemaker doing sloppy work. Strong words my friend for someone who did not do their homework. Actually, your tone was more evocative of someone who likes to mock. Very professional indeed.

      Speaking of not doing your homework, if you publish other people’s comments (that long list of negative comments on La Stoppa, most off them not even concerning Trebbiolo), are you not supposed to cite your references? I like your reference to ” a quick research on the Internet” as your source of information. To use your tone, amazing work ethics my friend.

      Best regards

      Theo Diamantis

      October 17, 2016 at 15:34

      • Ce fut un simple commentaire, une critique, sur un vin que tu vends et non un article sur la production d’un vignoble.
        Question d’éthique alors: pourquoi laissez un vin défectueux sur le marché?
        Et pourquoi ne pas vouloir qu’on en informe le consommateur?

        Mais soyons positifs. Faisons avancer le débat.
        La question est toujours en suspens, tu n’y a pas répondu.
        Elle est simple.

        Pourquoi trouve-t-on encore aujourd’hui ces vins contaminés au Brett et/ou qui refermentent en bouteille?
        Comment faire pour améliorer la situation et mieux informer le consommateur?

        Marc André Gagnon

        October 17, 2016 at 17:34

  4. Count me among those who very much appreciates this vintage. Enjoy the easy drinking and rustic vibrance.

    Not sure why we are bothering discussing a blogger who wishes to demonstrate he has inferior opinion to flawed cursory internet search. At least we know what a troll looks for in wine.


    October 17, 2016 at 20:57

    • Or, as an emailer put it, “his idea of a ‘debate’ seems to be the assumption that he is right and discuss from there.” That and tactics like disparaging others and then imploring everyone to keep things civil are quite Trumpian in nature, earning him a place in the basket of ignorables.


      October 18, 2016 at 00:47

  5. […] colour the mildly astringent finish. Perhaps a tad lighter and less rustic than the classic 2014 but still authentic, food-friendly* and fun. (Buy again? […]

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