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Jose' Miller

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I am new to wine making and started with some cheaper kits and some fruit bases. I just can't find the taste I prefer. I love a nice dry Merlot with an oak tannin bite. I am not experienced enough for figuring out what I want. Do you have suggestions for a good quality Merlot kit for a nice dry wine with a oak tannin bite? Is there a good kit out there to give me what I want? Are there adjustments to a specific kit that will give me the wine I'm looking for? I just can not get use to a sweet or even semi sweet wine. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
 

sour_grapes

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YES: WE Eclipse Stag's Leap Merlot.

I also added Used ~8 g FT Tannin Rouge in primary, and 2.5 g Tannin Riche Extra during bulk aging. Turned out to have a noticeable, but pleasant, amount of tannins.
 

salcoco

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select a goodkit, purchase your own oak chips, or cubes and oak it yourself once wine is clear. keep tasting it until it is to your liking.
 

heatherd

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What I tend to do for a dry red:
-Get a kit that comes with grape skins or buy some to add (Mosti Mondiali has a grape pack that you can buy at a homebrew store or online.)
-Add oak powder during fermentation, which doesn't add a lot of flavor.
-Add oak chips/cubes/spirals during clearing and aging, and leave them in until you like the oak flavor. For my taste that's two weeks for something like Zinfandel and maybe six weeks for Petit Syrah.
-If you want more tannins after those other steps are done, buy some tannin powder to add. I like Tannin Riche Extra from Scott Labs (http://www.scottlab.com/product-132.aspx)
-Give everything time to integrate before you bottle, like 2-3 weeks.

This works for me because I extend the time frames on the kit instructions. For fermentation, I use my hydrometer to know when its done at around 0.990ish for three days; I don't stress if it's a bit more. Then I add the potassium metabisulfite to stabilize. I stir to help it degass - this also occurs over time. I extend the clearing phase to bulk age the wine for 12 months, adding potassium metabisulfite at three, six, nine, and twelve months. Then I wait a couple weeks to bottle. Some folks rack on those intervals but I just rack when bottling, only transferring the completely clear wine to my clean/sanitized fermentation bucket, and then transferring all of that into my bottles. I don't add potassium sorbate to dry wines, and I don't use clarifyers very often because the initial bentonite and time do the trick. Gas is less likely to be present at 12 months, but I always taste my wine before I bottle to check for gas, which will be a "zippy" effervescent taste; when that does happen, I give it a good stir and some more time.

Scott Labs is a great source of knowledge. They have articles and videos as well as great product descriptions on their tannins. http://www.scottlab.com/products-169.aspx http://www.scottlab.com/forms-downloads-60.aspx
 

jgmann67

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. I extend the clearing phase to bulk age the wine for 12 months, adding potassium metabisulfite at three, six, nine, and twelve months. Then I wait a couple weeks to bottle. Some folks rack on those intervals...
I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. Why am I racking at 3 month intervals and making work for myself? The only reason I can come up with is that, since I use an AIO to rack, there’s a degassing component to it.

Don’t know if that matters when I age for 9-12 months, though.
 

Johnd

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I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. Why am I racking at 3 month intervals and making work for myself? The only reason I can come up with is that, since I use an AIO to rack, there’s a degassing component to it.

Don’t know if that matters when I age for 9-12 months, though.
I am of the same thought process, and don't rack unless there's a reason to, like substantial sediment on the bottom of the carboy. Never had a gassy wine after 9-12 months bulk aging. Otherwise, just keep up with the sulfite, thief a little wine out, mix sulfite into it, and return to the carboy. The longer those little deposits of sediment sit in the bottom of the carboy, the more compact and crustlike they become, and easier to leave behind when you do decide to rack.
 

pillswoj

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I rack every three months so I can gauge the sediment, if the carboy is completely clean after 3 months then the wine is ready to be bottled, also I know that I am not stirring the sediment back into the wine when adding the kmeta.
 

TallTexan

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CellarCraft Showcase Walla Walla Cab Merlot is my favorite dry red that I've made to date.
 

Brian55

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I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. Why am I racking at 3 month intervals and making work for myself? The only reason I can come up with is that, since I use an AIO to rack, there’s a degassing component to it.

Don’t know if that matters when I age for 9-12 months, though.
It doesn't. Skip the extra work, you and your wine will both be better off.
 

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