1st CabSav --- any tweaks/tips?

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Bmd2k1

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gonna start my 1st CabSav vino -- it's a Master Vintner Sommelier Select Old Vines w/Skins.

Wondering if anyone has any CabSav tweaks they love?

Kit comes with a couple different Oak chips though the bags aren't labelled (2x light toast and one darker looks to be medium toast) --- though I plan to bulk age for 6months on a med toast american oak spiral. (not sure if I will use the chips in primary or not at this point --- any thoughts appreciated!)

Was planning to just use the provided EC1118 -- (since my current 1st use of RC212 for a Chilean Triple Red blend is still crawling to SG=1 or below...with my added babysitting.)

Thanks in advance and Cheers!
 
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Jim Welch

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I’d use the chips in primary if that’s what the instructions call for. The only tweak I’d use is swapping out the yeast, I’m presuming it came with EC1118. I like to use either BM4x4, BM45, or RC212 in a red wines. Also I like to double the yeast (I.e. 2 packs) and I make yeast starters but I come to winemaking from being a long time brewer so I want fermentation to start ASAP but not many winemakers do all that from what I read here. I’m not saying you can’t make good wine by just sprinkling a single pack of yeast on the must either, many do.
 

winemaker81

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Generally, follow the instructions. With the exception of the sorbate, which is completely unnecessary in a dry wine, the kit components are designed to produce a solid result. Add things but don't subtract.

If it were me? I'd do the following:

Yeah, swap the yeast. Reserve the EC-1118 for another use.

Use the fermentation oak. Oak during fermentation provides what is called "sacrificial tannins" that combine with proteins and other constituents and precipitate out. This leaves the grape tannins in place, which stabilizes color.

I have no idea if it works with skin packs, but there are various enzymes that extract more from the skin and pulp. I used Scottzyme ColorPro last fall and got amazing color from all my reds. Others may chime in with suggestions.

Use the aging chips for about 6 weeks. I assume this is an 8 week kit? If so, the chips are designed for that duration. Rack the wine, remove the chips, and taste it. If you think it needs more oak, then add the American medium spiral. At that point, bulk age for another 6 months.

I'd gently stir the wine and taste it monthly. If you think it's got enough oak, remove the spiral, otherwise keep going. At the 3 month mark and before bottling, add 1/4 tsp K-meta.
 

Bmd2k1

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gonna start my 1st CabSav vino -- it's a Master Vintner Sommelier Select Old Vines w/Skins.

Wondering if anyone has any CabSav tweaks they love?

Kit comes with a couple different Oak chips though the bags aren't labelled (2x light toast and one darker looks to be medium toast) --- though I plan to bulk age for 6months on a med toast american oak spiral. (not sure if I will use the chips in primary or not at this point --- any thoughts appreciated!)

Was planning to just use the provided EC1118 -- (since my current 1st use of RC212 for a Chilean Triple Red blend is still crawling to SG=1 or below...with my added babysitting.)

Thanks in advance and Cheers!
Couple early things noted for this kit:

- 2 different types of oak included - but there is Zero indication on the packaging or instructions what type American/French/Hungarian or what the toast level is
- the included grape skins single large pack is ALot more liquidy than the RJS packs...


Cheers!
 

winemaker81

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Huh. Do the instructions say what to do with the oak?

I've never used a skin pack, so I've no knowledge.
 

Bmd2k1

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Huh. Do the instructions say what to do with the oak?

I've never used a skin pack, so I've no knowledge.
The instruction do NOT call out there being 2 different types of Oak -- and only mention adding Oak to secondary. Not which type or both -- details are rather lacking. So I've emailed Master Vintner and am awaiting a response :)

Cheers!
 

winemaker81

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Ok, I 'spose they don't see the need to label since the usage is clear. 😞

Another option is to use all 3 for fermentation oak, and the spiral after the wine is cleared.
 

Bmd2k1

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Curious....

Anyone add raisins if you're already adding grape skins? Or too much?

Cheers!
 

winemaker81

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Anyone add raisins if you're already adding grape skins? Or too much?
That's a good question. My first thought is don't do it. The skin pack is assumedly wine grapes, while the raisins are eating grapes. It's a totally different growing paradigm. The quality is worlds apart as eating grapes are grown for quantity while wine grapes are grown for quality.

Since you have a skin pack, you have little, if anything, to gain by adding raisins.
 

Meadini

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This spring I added 5 lbs blueberries to a lug and a half cs skins on a second run. It’s not the same as a kit, and it might throw your kit out of balance but I like the early results.
 

winemaker81

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This spring I added 5 lbs blueberries to a lug and a half cs skins on a second run. It’s not the same as a kit, and it might throw your kit out of balance but I like the early results.
According to the folks that make it, blueberries are acidic, so that sounds like a good addition for a 2nd run, which needs additional acid. Adding to a kit? It might unbalance it, depending on the amount.
 

Bmd2k1

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Thanks for all the feedback.

For this my 1st Cab -- going with the provided light toast oak chips in primary enclosed in disposable tea bags, the provided grape skins, using the provided EC1118 & will be bulk aging for 6months(min) on 1 American oak med toast infusion spiral.

Kicked er off 9a this morning ✌

Cheers!
 

Venatorscribe

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With a premium kit I wouldn’t fluff around with too many additions as it will be finely balanced as opposed to some of the cheap and nasty kits we stumble across. I see you have gone with EC1118. That’s a pity - but anyway it will ferment like buggery and give you a result. The only concern I have is your plan to soak American oak spiral for six months. These spirals are really harsh and six months will result in a dusty and off-oak taste. When these spirals were released some years ago I started doing similar but have now reduced my spiral soak time down to a couple of weeks. And am seriously considering giving it a total miss and revert back to my old method which involved using Hungarian or French oak chips. A bit more pricey but we’ll worth the upgrade.
 

MHSKIBUM

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gonna start my 1st CabSav vino -- it's a Master Vintner Sommelier Select Old Vines w/Skins.

Wondering if anyone has any CabSav tweaks they love?

Kit comes with a couple different Oak chips though the bags aren't labelled (2x light toast and one darker looks to be medium toast) --- though I plan to bulk age for 6months on a med toast american oak spiral. (not sure if I will use the chips in primary or not at this point --- any thoughts appreciated!)

Was planning to just use the provided EC1118 -- (since my current 1st use of RC212 for a Chilean Triple Red blend is still crawling to SG=1 or below...with my added babysitting.)

Thanks in advance and Cheers!
This is probably coming too late but something I've done with my last four red kits - 2 cabs, 1 merlot, and 1 shiraz (probably cheaper ones than the one you're making) is extended maceration. Rather than just leaving the grape skins in during the primary fermentation, I've been allowing the skins to remain through primary, secondary and through the clearing stage, even extending the final stage by an extra two weeks. That's a total of six weeks for cheap four week kits and 10 weeks for an eight week kit.
None of the wines are mature enough to give a final judgment but my teeny samples so far have been extraordinary.
I got great tips on extended maceration through this forum and ended up buying a Speidel fermenter that has a wide mouth so I can keep an airlock on the fermenter for the full 10 weeks.
The only tricky part is prior to degassing/adding clearing agents, you have to temporarily remove the grape skins from the must so it doesn't get tangled on your drill stirring rod. Store it in a sanitized pot and return it and any juice to the must to complete extended maceration.
 

Bmd2k1

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With a premium kit I wouldn’t fluff around with too many additions as it will be finely balanced as opposed to some of the cheap and nasty kits we stumble across. I see you have gone with EC1118. That’s a pity - but anyway it will ferment like buggery and give you a result. The only concern I have is your plan to soak American oak spiral for six months. These spirals are really harsh and six months will result in a dusty and off-oak taste. When these spirals were released some years ago I started doing similar but have now reduced my spiral soak time down to a couple of weeks. And am seriously considering giving it a total miss and revert back to my old method which involved using Hungarian or French oak chips. A bit more pricey but we’ll worth the upgrade.
Interesting on the spirals...

Though very limited experience with them so far.....the 2 reds I recently bottled Both turned out great after bulk aging for 6months on a single American Oak Med Toast spiral... a triple red Cali blend (Trinity) & a Tempranillo.

Cheers!
 

Meadini

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I have several on their spirals for 3 months. Did you notice any extra flavors from the oak after that amount of time?
 

Bmd2k1

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I have several on their spirals for 3 months. Did you notice any extra flavors from the oak after that amount of time?
I didn't start sampling till after 2 months -- according to infusion site the spirals give up all their goodness after 6weeks but vino will "benefit" from additional exposure -- the taste/character/nature of the wine(s) did improve/change over the next few months -- but I'm not sure I would describe it as "extra" flavors. Maturing & fuller flavors may be a better description. (These are my first 2 vinos....so I'm also pretty dang raw at this & my palette needs additional experience.)

Cheers!
 
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