Cellar Craft A Small Tasting Comparison of Merlots

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Sep 22, 2016
Reaction score
First time poster here though have been lurking on the forum for many months. I am not really a winemaker as the kit instructions are always followed but have drunk the wine from about 200 kits over the past 15 years.

Yesterday, a group of 6 of us were celebrating the end of summer and amidst the good company and good food we decided to compare some merlots. The questions were very simple ...

First, what was preferred between an Eclipse Stag's Leap Merlot and a Cellar Craft Showcase Merlot (both bottles have been made to kit instructions and aged 16 months in the bottle). I won't go through the tasting notes but will say everyone agreed that both were very drinkable wines and also they had different flavour profiles. It was unanimous within the group that the Cellar Craft was preferred if only by a slight margin.

The second question had to do with the benefits of aging (in the bottle). The 16 month old Cellar Craft Merlot was compared to a 3 year old Cellar Craft. Again everyone found the longer aged Merlot smoother and "better". But when asked was it worth the effort to store for three years versus drinking at 16 months the result was mixed. Three of us felt it was worth aging longer while the other three said that the small improvement did not justify the trouble and expense to store, maintain a bigger inventory etc.

I appreciate that these are rather subjective views from a group of "amateurs" (though we all drink lots of wine!). And as the saying goes, your mileage may vary.

Regards ... Doug
I was always happy with the Cellar Craft kits I made back when I was making them. Some were better than others (Cabernet-Merlot) of course. I think the best way to do it is to wait 18mo minimum and then ease into them (and others) so that you can enjoy them out to that 24-36 months time frame to see what they can become with some decent bottle age.