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Bottled my 2018 WE Lodi Eclipse Cabernet kit today

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I started this kit on July 30, 2018. The kit has grape skins and I kept the skins on until August 24th, so about 26 days. I pressed the skins to get as much juice as possible. After I racked, I added about 1 cup of oak chips.

I racked again on October 10th, then racked to a neutral oak barrell (thanks @Johnd ) I added 1/4 tsp of Kmeta on October 26.

On January 4, 2019 I did a tasting with my son and we were both very pleased at the nice fruit. Some bouquet, not super, but decent. I thought the wine was very solid! But I still wanted a bit more tannic bite. I ordered some dark Winestix and placed 1 in the barrel on Jan. 22nd. I did add another 1/4 tsp of Kmeta at this point.

I tasted again on March 1st. I must say I was quite disappointed. The color had faded some and looks oxidized. It's not brown or anything, just much lighter than the deep ruby it was in January. The bouquet is diminished and the fruit on the palate is so soft, its almost not there. Still plenty of alcohol and no vinegary smell, so its drinkable, but I don't know what happened in those few weeks from January to March.

I was worried the wine would continue to fade, so I went ahead and bottled today. The wine was the same color, flat tasting and really very little on the nose. I could taste the sulphur on the finish for the first two sips. I let it open for 5-10 minutes in the glass and it tasted better and no sulphur. But still hugely disappointed considering where this wine was in January.

Where did I go wrong?
 

Johnd

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Not sure you did go wrong. Wine goes through many changes as it ages, the perception of fruit and tannin wax and wane, until it eventually settles in. Your wine is only 8 months old, a babe in the woods, perhaps it will be more to your liking with time.
 

CDrew

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Is it a kit thing?

It sounds like you did things right.

I, too, was a bit disappointed by my first(2017) real Primitivo effort and it is from grapes. It's finally improved a bit but only in the last month or so. I was seriously considering pouring it out, but the flavor recently is much more pleasing, though the color is not a dark as I had hoped.

Here is my thread on the topic which may offer reassurance:
https://www.winemakingtalk.com/threads/2017-coming-around-maybe-in-a-good-way.67468/

Good luck, but I agree, taste it again in 6 months. If it isn't showing signs of improvement by then, maybe it won't, but it doesn't hurt to wait it out a bit.
 
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Is it a kit thing?

It sounds like you did things right.

I, too, was a bit disappointed by my first(2017) real Primitivo effort and it is from grapes. It's finally improved a bit but only in the last month or so. I was seriously considering pouring it out, but the flavor recently is much more pleasing, though the color is not a dark as I had hoped.

Here is my thread on the topic which may offer reassurance:
https://www.winemakingtalk.com/threads/2017-coming-around-maybe-in-a-good-way.67468/

Good luck, but I agree, taste it again in 6 months. If it isn't showing signs of improvement by then, maybe it won't, but it doesn't hurt to wait it out a bit.
Thanks. I'm not giving up on it. It's bottled and I'm working on a label design. I certainly hope it improves. The color thing really surprised me though. I wasn't expecting that.
 

CabEnthusiast

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Thanks. I'm not giving up on it. It's bottled and I'm working on a label design. I certainly hope it improves. The color thing really surprised me though. I wasn't expecting that.
wine goes through periods of time where it might be awful then a year later its the best thing in the world. Its normal!
 

jsbeckton

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Hmm, think I have done about 15 premium kits and have not had any issues with color fade. Wonder what happened.
 
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wine color.jpg To answer a couple of questions, 1)It's really not that oaky. That's why I added the Winestix. I used the "dark" Winestix and I just used one. I can taste the carmel from the oak, but that's really it. Nothing harsh or tannic. 2) The color isn't horrible, but as you can see from this picture, there is some brownish tinge on the edges. It was a nice ruby before the Winestix went in.
 

Johnd

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View attachment 53753 To answer a couple of questions, 1)It's really not that oaky. That's why I added the Winestix. I used the "dark" Winestix and I just used one. I can taste the carmel from the oak, but that's really it. Nothing harsh or tannic. 2) The color isn't horrible, but as you can see from this picture, there is some brownish tinge on the edges. It was a nice ruby before the Winestix went in.
Few questions. If I’m reading correctly, you sulfited on October 26 when it went into the barrel, and again on January 26, did you top up in that time frame? What toast Wine Stix did you use?

Another thought: You only left the Stix in for 5 - 6 weeks, they are supposed to be in for 2 - 3 months to allow for extraction of the short and long grained wood.
 
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@Johnd I did top up each time I opened the barrel. I had planned on leaving the Winestix in longer,and bottling in April or May, but when I saw the color I was concerned something was wrong and decided to go ahead and bottle. The Winestix was a "Dark" Toast French Oak.
 

Johnd

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@Johnd I did top up each time I opened the barrel. I had planned on leaving the Winestix in longer,and bottling in April or May, but when I saw the color I was concerned something was wrong and decided to go ahead and bottle. The Winestix was a "Dark" Toast French Oak.
I’ve never used the “Dark”, Medium Plus is as far as I went up the scale. So you didn’t sulfite for 90 days? That could’ve been the issue, but if you were well topped during that time, probably not. Wonder if that dark Stix just stained your wine brown???
 
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I’ve never used the “Dark”, Medium Plus is as far as I went up the scale. So you didn’t sulfite for 90 days? That could’ve been the issue, but if you were well topped during that time, probably not. Wonder if that dark Stix just stained your wine brown???
I'm thinking that might be the source of the color.
 

tradowsk

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I had a similar issue with a WE merlot kit (that's still bulk aging currently) where the taste was really flat. Turns out it just needed more time. About a month after I opened a thread here about it, I tasted it again and it was much better. It also had a slight brownish tint to it from the heavy toast spiral I added, so that is probably what changed the color. Just let it relax and settle down in the bottle and you will be fine
 
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