bulk aging longer

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winemaker81

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Some folks recommend bulk aging wines longer so the bottles are more consistent. Wine undergoes a lot of chemical changes in the first year, and having the wine undergo most or all of those changes as a single unit is supposed to improve consistency in the bottles.

I was not sold on the idea, but lately have been leaning more towards it.

Two weeks ago I became a believer. I made the Winexpert LE 2018 Corazon kit. In the last year I've been sampling bottles every couple of months, and it has the potential to age for a number of years. I'm extremely pleased with the wine.

We had a family get-together a couple of weekends ago. I brought a bottle of the Corazon.

I was embarrassed. The bottle exhibited strong kit taste, something none of the previous bottles did. I ended up pouring the last third down the drain, something I've not done in a LONG time.

Today I opened a bottle, used 1/4 to marinate chicken breast. Of course, I had to sample the wine first -- quality control, ya know! You guessed it! No kit wine taste.

Maybe I'm jumping to a conclusion. But while there are many other potential factors, I'm leaning towards bulk aging 6 months for all wines, 9-12 for reds. While I cannot be positive it will help, I know it will not hurt.

This also makes me wonder where the kit wine taste comes from. I was certain it comes from the grape concentrate, now I'm open to suggestion.
 

Bmd2k1

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I'm a newbie vino maker -- and am leaning heavily on a Long Time home kit vintner (20+ years) for Alot of my learning and protocol development -- he swears by bulk aging all his reds for 6months -- and then bottle aging for minimum of 2months. (whites he typically bulk ages 2-4months)

At this point my 1st vino (Trinity Red Blend) - started in Oct2020 - just recently finally found it's way out of bulk aging on 1 oak spiral and into bottles and will be ready to pop the first cork in MidJuly.

I sure do appreciate ALL the Amazing info/feedback/real world experiences from folks here!

Cheers!
 
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winemaker81

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I don't think anybody has ever conclusively "proven" where kit taste comes from. I find that aging, as you indicated, in bulk helps it not to be there.
Agreed.

Evidence indicates kit taste is a result of the grape concentrating process, since "kit taste" exists only in kits.

My WE Australian Chardonnay and Australian Cabernet Sauvignon exhibited zero kit taste when bottled at 7 months. This leaves open if the new WE concentrate process is better, or if bulk aging made the difference.
 

winemaker81

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I'm a newbie vino maker -- and am leaning heavily on a Long Time home vintner (20+ years) for Alot of my learning and protocol development
Count your blessings that you have someone to learn from.

Yes, open a bottle of your Trinity Red in July, and record notes on the taste and smell. Put those notes away. Every 2 months, open a bottle, record notes, and stash them. Do not look at previous notes.

A year from July do the same, then pull out all your previous notes and read them in order. You are going to be freaked out.

Take a look at my Oak Stix Experiment. Read the tasting notes, it will clue you in on what your results will be.

 

Bmd2k1

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Count your blessings that you have someone to learn from.

Yes, open a bottle of your Trinity Red in July, and record notes on the taste and smell. Put those notes away. Every 2 months, open a bottle, record notes, and stash them. Do not look at previous notes.

A year from July do the same, then pull out all your previous notes and read them in order. You are going to be freaked out.

Take a look at my Oak Stix Experiment. Read the tasting notes, it will clue you in on what your results will be.

Dang Awesome insight and tip! I will definitely be do that. :) Plus will check out your Oak Stix thread.

I'm really enjoying my new vino making adventure.

Coming from making Hard Cider -- I find the toughest thing is the Wait ....lol.


Thanks and Cheers!
 
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Chuck Rairdan

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Recently sampled my bulk aging reds and I can say without doubt there has been a huge transformation within the past few months, rounding the bend so to speak. Currently at about 9 months. The wines are much better integrated and that 'hot' (these are 15% abv) sensation and young fruit profiles have transitioned to a smooth and lively complexity.
Btw, this year I'm also transitioning to finishing my wines without SO2 additions. Last time I amended was after MLF and I believe the wines are maturing better without maintaining the conventional SO2 levels. There are minimal (about a 1/2 inch) fine lees in the carboys remaining from the MLF rack that I stir periodically and this appears to consume some of the dissolved O2 and keeps these fines from going reductive. Next year I plan to only add the initial shock dose of SO2 to the must. This SO2-free approach requires thorough and consistent sanitation, but based on others and my own early experiences, I'm liking the perceivable differences.
 

mainshipfred

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The last kit I did was in 2017 so I'm no expert. But if I recall previous posts I seem to remember folks saying kit taste is not as noticeable in whites. So my theory is since whites don't usually go through MLF it's the malic acid in the reds that we are not used to. Although I can't rule out the the processing.
 

heatherd

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I don't think anybody has ever conclusively "proven" where kit taste comes from. I find that aging, as you indicated, in bulk helps it not to be there.
I can taste it in all of my pasteurized kits but cover it up with oak and tannins. Some folks think it is from k-sorbate, but I'm thinking its from pasteurization of the juice.

When I taste my two non-pasteurized Finer Wine kits, they don't have kit taste after adding the stabilizers of k-meta and k-sorbate. That leads me to believe it is not the sorbate but it is the pasteurization.
 

winemaker81

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Some folks think it is from k-sorbate, but I'm thinking its from pasteurization of the juice.
I don't add sorbate unless backsweetening, so that's not it. I don't taste it in whites either, so my theory is there is something in the process that extracts from the skin & pulp that produces the off flavor.

I've also noted that I can't recall kit flavor from kits made before 2017, so I'm wondering if it's a relatively recent change in the process.
 

heatherd

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I don't add sorbate unless backsweetening, so that's not it. I don't taste it in whites either, so my theory is there is something in the process that extracts from the skin & pulp that produces the off flavor.

I've also noted that I can't recall kit flavor from kits made before 2017, so I'm wondering if it's a relatively recent change in the process.
I didn't taste it in my first kit in 2012, but that was a sweet one. I have tasted it in many kits between 2012 and now.
 

winemaker81

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I didn't taste it in my first kit in 2012, but that was a sweet one. I have tasted it in many kits between 2012 and now.
Huh. Since 2011 these wines had no KWT:
whites - 9
fun wines - 4
ports - 4

between 2011-2016, 6 red kits with no KWT
between 2018-2020, 7 red wine kits, 4 of which had KWT (3 RJ Spagnols, 1 Winexpert)

I've not experience KWT in the whites, fun wines, or ports. The ports are 100% juice (no water added) and while the fun wines are lower quality, they're designed to be lighter ABV (~7%), which I chaptalized to 10%-11%.

It appeared there was a pattern of KWT being a more recent development, but your results scotch that. For the Corazon, I have just the 1 bottle that had KWT. Other than the extraction process, I can't think of a source for KWT.
 

mikewatkins727

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The last kit I did was in 2017 so I'm no expert. But if I recall previous posts I seem to remember folks saying kit taste is not as noticeable in whites. So my theory is since whites don't usually go through MLF it's the malic acid in the reds that we are not used to. Although I can't rule out the the processing.
I can taste it in all of my pasteurized kits but cover it up with oak and tannins. Some folks think it is from k-sorbate, but I'm thinking its from pasteurization of the juice.

When I taste my two non-pasteurized Finer Wine kits, they don't have kit taste after adding the stabilizers of k-meta and k-sorbate. That leads me to believe it is not the sorbate but it is the pasteurization.
I don't add sorbate unless backsweetening, so that's not it. I don't taste it in whites either, so my theory is there is something in the process that extracts from the skin & pulp that produces the off flavor.

I've also noted that I can't recall kit flavor from kits made before 2017, so I'm wondering if it's a relatively recent change in the process.
I didn't taste it in my first kit in 2012, but that was a sweet one. I have tasted it in many kits between 2012 and now.
Huh. Since 2011 these wines had no KWT:
whites - 9
fun wines - 4
ports - 4

between 2011-2016, 6 red kits with no KWT
between 2018-2020, 7 red wine kits, 4 of which had KWT (3 RJ Spagnols, 1 Winexpert)

I've not experience KWT in the whites, fun wines, or ports. The ports are 100% juice (no water added) and while the fun wines are lower quality, they're designed to be lighter ABV (~7%), which I chaptalized to 10%-11%.

It appeared there was a pattern of KWT being a more recent development, but your results scotch that. For the Corazon, I have just the 1 bottle that had KWT. Other than the extraction process, I can't think of a source for KWT.
MORAL: Don't do kit wine.
 

winemaker81

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MORAL: Don't do kit wine.
Unfortunately, that's not an option for everyone. There is cost, availability, and large equipment needed for red grapes.

I made kits for 20 years after being unable to get decent grapes, and am thankful that my LHBS pointed me at the local grape buying group. If the group disbands, I will have scramble to find a good source.
 

mikewatkins727

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Unfortunately, that's not an option for everyone. There is cost, availability, and large equipment needed for red grapes.

I made kits for 20 years after being unable to get decent grapes, and am thankful that my LHBS pointed me at the local grape buying group. If the group disbands, I will have scramble to find a good source.
Didn't think of that, guess I'm a little slow today. I'm a Country Wine dude if that's any excuse.
 

winemaker81

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Didn't think of that, guess I'm a little slow today. I'm a Country Wine dude if that's any excuse.
Nope, you're not slow. Unless you've experienced the difficulties of getting good grapes, it's not obvious. The folks in CA make it sound easy, because for them it is easy. When I lived in Upstate NY, ditto, I could get anything that grew in the Finger Lakes. Moving to NC was an adjustment ... although having steady employment was quite important at that time (and hasn't changed!). ;)

I'm thankful I can get good grapes now.
 

heatherd

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Huh. Since 2011 these wines had no KWT:
whites - 9
fun wines - 4
ports - 4

between 2011-2016, 6 red kits with no KWT
between 2018-2020, 7 red wine kits, 4 of which had KWT (3 RJ Spagnols, 1 Winexpert)

I've not experience KWT in the whites, fun wines, or ports. The ports are 100% juice (no water added) and while the fun wines are lower quality, they're designed to be lighter ABV (~7%), which I chaptalized to 10%-11%.

It appeared there was a pattern of KWT being a more recent development, but your results scotch that. For the Corazon, I have just the 1 bottle that had KWT. Other than the extraction process, I can't think of a source for KWT.
My ports don't have KWT that I can tell, but they have other very strong flavors that would mask it like the heavy-toast oak, espresso powder, flavor bag, and fortifying alcohol I used. Mine were kits.
 

mainshipfred

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Unfortunately, that's not an option for everyone. There is cost, availability, and large equipment needed for red grapes.

I made kits for 20 years after being unable to get decent grapes, and am thankful that my LHBS pointed me at the local grape buying group. If the group disbands, I will have scramble to find a good source.
Supposedly there is going to be a source in Ashland VA starting this fall. Looks like a 3 hour one way trip for you if your source dissolves. Again, supposedly, they will have spring grapes in 2022.
 
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