Originally Posted by cpfan
Thank you for your comments. I have a couple of problems with your notes though.
- Cellar Craft is a Vineco company. Grand Cru is a Spagnols brand. Never the two shall meet (until Constellation sells Spagnols to Peller). What kit was this?
- Winexpert makes several Cab Sauvs. Which one was it?
- What yeast substitutions did you make?
LOL - at myself for my rattling things off the top of my head! I went and scrounged the original "instructions'....
@Tony - the reason I changed things from the kit packages is due to my personality. I like food and drink, and I especially feel the need to make pre-packaged better. My husband bought me a home winemaking book that is very thorough (but not overkill) in explaining how the different yeast strains bring out different qualities in varietal wines. And from the forum here, I gather that the wine kit producers put in the most "fail safe" yeast - which makes sense; they want to make sure your yeast will ferment out in broad temperature ranges. The grand cru merlot, I used the included yeast packet and I have convinced myself that this has contributed to the lackluster flavor (and I didn't degass all the way and I know that it was a "basic" kit too!).
RJ Spagnols Grand Cru Merlot - Instruction sheet says "Grand Cru - Heritage Estates - Vino Del Vida" and bottom - yes - says RJ Spagnols. The only variations I made to this one was changed the oak and used french oak and I used 1/2 c. at primary and again at secondary.
Wine Expert Cab Sav. - Wine Expert - the sheet says both "Selection Orignial Series " and "Selection International". I bought this one from Doug - vendor from this site - I believe though - it was a "Selection International" for $99. Yeast used was Pastuer Red. I added 1/2 c. oak at primary and then added the sawdust packet enclosed again after adding fining agents and let bulk age briefly.
Red Zinfandel - Williams Brewing - Used Yeast R212 and added yeast nutrient per book recommendation. Added coarsly chopped, raisins during primary ferm. (my notes on this are bad). I show that I added 1/2 c. french oak chips after 1st racking (which now it's coming back to me). Again added 3/4 c. oak at next racking and left to bulk age for a month.
**TASTING UPDATE** - last night had inlaws visiting so I decided to have a tasting party (not really) - but I opened up a 2010 Gnarly Head Authentic Red (which is a blend) and I opened up this 2011 Zin. to compare which most of us prefered --- and we all agreed that my Zin was much smoother and had a much better taste. Yes, I know that they are completely different wines.....But, that Gnarly Head bottle sells here reg. price approx $10/bottle and I really have to say that even it is was the Gnarly Head Zin - mine would have tasted better. Promising! I may have to change my vote on purchasing again in the future over time...
NEW WINE IN PRIMARY
Since my post on this topic, I had since started a MERLOT/CAB. BLEND of some juice concentrates purchased from Williams Brewing. This time we are trying their merlot and cab - juice concentrates. In primary fermentation right now is 12 Gallons: 75% Merlot and 25% Cab - not going to add raisins this time. Added 1 1/2 french oak chips. Made a starter with Pastuer Red yeast with nutrient. Doing well so far - been 3 days.