Kit Wine Taste

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mainshipfred

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I can't argue grapes are more work ( and maybe not just a little more) plus the additional equipment both crush, testing and chemicals add to the cost. But I have to say the extra work part is what I enjoy most. I can run the numbers just fine but I'm still not the best with the artistic part of knowing what and how much acid, tannin, oak, etc. to add to better benefit the wine.
 

jbo_c

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Most people seem to agree that this (issue) of kit taste is generally restricted to reds. I’ve personally never picked it up in a white at all. Even the low end ones.

Jbo
 

Brettanomyces

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I've searched around a bit, but I can't seem to find a clear answer. Just what does this "kit taste" taste like? How would you describe it?
 

kuziwk

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I've searched around a bit, but I can't seem to find a clear answer. Just what does this "kit taste" taste like? How would you describe it?
I would personally describe it as a candy type flavor, but without the sweetness...maybe like cough syrup a bit. My Rosso Fortisimo had this, but it aged out within a year and now it's tasting amazing. I should mention that I don't use sorbate. The other thing I noticed about kits also is there is little aroma until it has a chance to come together. The cheaper kits always seem to have less aroma also. It seems to be certain grapes though not specific with one kit manufacturer. All the showcase kits for example don't have his flavor it was just the one Rosso Fortisimo.
 

Brettanomyces

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I'm trying to imagine this in terms of wine. So, a candy like a Jolly Rancher, or a Twizzlers, or something? Surely it can't be like a Snickers bar, or one of those crazy sour candies.
 

mainshipfred

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I'm trying to imagine this in terms of wine. So, a candy like a Jolly Rancher, or a Twizzlers, or something? Surely it can't be like a Snickers bar, or one of those crazy sour candies.
You know what makes those crazy sour candies taste like that don't you, malic acid.
 

kuziwk

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I'm trying to imagine this in terms of wine. So, a candy like a Jolly Rancher, or a Twizzlers, or something? Surely it can't be like a Snickers bar, or one of those crazy sour candies.
Jolly rancher seems accurate, who knows though I haven't really tasted any young commercial wine...maybe it has a similar taste? Like I said I've only noticed it on a few different types of kits...while the other kits from the same line when green just taste young without the Jolly rancher.
 

ras2018

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I feel like a lot of people describe the flavor as “bubble gum”-y
 

Johnd

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There have been lots of threads over the years on WMT that deal with the issue of "kit taste", can't say that (collectively) we've ever come up with a firm answer to the question of the origin of the flavor, and some folks don't even taste it. The general feeling that I've gleaned from participating in and reading others posts on the topic, is that time generally aids in the dissipation / lessening of the taste. If you are one who is sensitive to the taste, at least take heart that time may be your friend.
 

Brettanomyces

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What happens with ML bacteria after the MLF process? Do they stick around, or do they die or get removed somehow? Is it possible that adding a commercial red (one that's undergone MLF) to a batch to top it up, then adding sorbate to stabilize (per kit instructions), leads to a "geranium" type taste that gets interpreted as kit taste?

Sorry if this is a dumb question, but being new to winemaking, I don't really know anything about ML bacteria in a detailed sense.
 

cmason1957

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What happens with ML bacteria after the MLF process? Do they stick around, or do they die or get removed somehow? Is it possible that adding a commercial red (one that's undergone MLF) to a batch to top it up, then adding sorbate to stabilize (per kit instructions), leads to a "geranium" type taste that gets interpreted as kit taste?

Sorry if this is a dumb question, but being new to winemaking, I don't really know anything about ML bacteria in a detailed sense.
My take on this question is, if you top up with wine that may have gone thru MLF (and I assume all commercial red wines have) then no sorbate gets added. And really, if the wine went dry, below 0.998 then there is no need for sorbate and I don't add it.
 

Brettanomyces

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My take on this question is, if you top up with wine that may have gone thru MLF (and I assume all commercial red wines have) then no sorbate gets added. And really, if the wine went dry, below 0.998 then there is no need for sorbate and I don't add it.
I get that. I'm not asking whether sorbate should or should not be added, I'm asking if this particular set of circumstances might explain the results (kit taste) people are describing. Two entirely different questions.
 

cmason1957

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I get that. I'm not asking whether sorbate should or should not be added, I'm asking if this particular set of circumstances might explain the results (kit taste) people are describing. Two entirely different questions.
I don't think it does. MLF and sorbate doesn't cause a significant taste issue, but a smell (rotting geraniums) issue. Kit taste is often described as a bubble gum type of taste, I've never eaten a geranium, but I doubt it would taste like that.

My personal opinion is that people know they are kit wines, and have heard there is a kit taste and hence any odd taste issues are attributed to kit taste. It may also be that the kit wines are being consumed so much younger than wines made from grapes. I do know that many kit wines have won many Gold medals at many competitions.
 

pillswoj

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I don't think it does. MLF and sorbate doesn't cause a significant taste issue, but a smell (rotting geraniums) issue. Kit taste is often described as a bubble gum type of taste, I've never eaten a geranium, but I doubt it would taste like that.

My personal opinion is that people know they are kit wines, and have heard there is a kit taste and hence any odd taste issues are attributed to kit taste. It may also be that the kit wines are being consumed so much younger than wines made from grapes. I do know that many kit wines have won many Gold medals at many competitions.
This exactly. I would never buy a wine less then 2 years old and I try not to drink my high end red kits before 2 years either.

I once tried a Beaujolais nouveau, it was terrible to me, if it had been a kit I would have called that kit taste.
 

Brettanomyces

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I don't think it does. MLF and sorbate doesn't cause a significant taste issue, but a smell (rotting geraniums) issue. Kit taste is often described as a bubble gum type of taste, I've never eaten a geranium, but I doubt it would taste like that.

My personal opinion is that people know they are kit wines, and have heard there is a kit taste and hence any odd taste issues are attributed to kit taste. It may also be that the kit wines are being consumed so much younger than wines made from grapes. I do know that many kit wines have won many Gold medals at many competitions.
Thanks. That makes sense. I must have overlooked the MLF+sorbate issue being one of aroma, not taste. Thanks for the correction.

Your idea would jibe with the lack of a fully consistent description of what's going on. I suppose when I try my first kit red, I'll know. Or I won't. That would be even better :)
 

mainshipfred

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What happens with ML bacteria after the MLF process? Do they stick around, or do they die or get removed somehow? Is it possible that adding a commercial red (one that's undergone MLF) to a batch to top it up, then adding sorbate to stabilize (per kit instructions), leads to a "geranium" type taste that gets interpreted as kit taste?

Sorry if this is a dumb question, but being new to winemaking, I don't really know anything about ML bacteria in a detailed sense.
I can't really answer your question but a few observations I've often pondered. I've tried twice to have a kit go through MLF, albeit it was when I first started and was using a White Labs liquid MLB, but it never worked. I'm pretty sure I'm correct that all grapes will naturally go through MLF without adding the bacteria, so why does it never happen in kits. When I make white wines I always add Lysozyme to inhibit MLF because I don't want it to take place. It just leaves me to believe the kits manufacturers whether through the processes of juice extraction or some chemical method prevent MLF from happening. Kit and even juice bucket manufacturers secrecy policies has always troubled me. It's like make my way or no way and this to a point hinders our ability to improve our skills. That's why I no longer use kits or buckets.

Craig, I'm not being argumentative but many of the sponsors in amateur competitions are kit manufacturers and marketing has to play some kind of role. Not that kits don't make good wine.
 

cmason1957

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I can't really answer your question but a few observations I've often pondered. I've tried twice to have a kit go through MLF, albeit it was when I first started and was using a White Labs liquid MLB, but it never worked. I'm pretty sure I'm correct that all grapes will naturally go through MLF without adding the bacteria, so why does it never happen in kits. When I make white wines I always add Lysozyme to inhibit MLF because I don't want it to take place. It just leaves me to believe the kits manufacturers whether through the processes of juice extraction or some chemical method prevent MLF from happening. Kit and even juice bucket manufacturers secrecy policies has always troubled me. It's like make my way or no way and this to a point hinders our ability to improve our skills. That's why I no longer use kits or buckets.

Craig, I'm not being argumentative but many of the sponsors in amateur competitions are kit manufacturers and marketing has to play some kind of role. Not that kits don't make good wine.
No offense taken, I appreciate what you are saying about sponsors being kit manufacturers. I was thinking primarily about the wine competition or wine club used to run. Kit wines often did well and the judges never knew if a wine was a kit or from grapes.

I think kit wines don't go through mlf due to the type of malic acid added. Some man made malic acid can't be consumed by malic bacteria. Also, not all grapes will go through Mlf, if not inhibited. Also, I think kit manufacturers do add lots of SO2 or some other chemical to inhibit the juice from fermenting wild yeast (perhaps even heating it, as you say they are pretty tight lipped).
 

1d10t

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Really? MLF creates histamines? I had not heard that before but it would explain why several family members can not drink commercial wines (1 glass = severe headache) but can drink my kit wines. Do you have a source for this information?
http://www.aim-digest.com/gateway/pages/general/articles/histamine.htm

The significance of histamine in wine

Histamine, when administered intravenously, can briefly cause vasoactive symptoms such as facial flushing and mild headaches, and asthma. These symptoms can occur at a concentration in blood of 0.1mg, but when ingested with food, the effect of histamine is considerably reduced.

On ingestion, histamine is readily metabolised by the enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract and liver (Malone and Metcalf 1986). As a result, a significantly decreased concentration is available to circulate in the bloodstream. An adverse reaction generally occurs only when a large amount exceeding the normal dietary intake of histamine is ingested, for example, greater than 25 to 250mg. While these amounts are far in excess of those observed in wine, individuals ‘intolerant’ or ‘sensitive’ to histamine will exhibit an adverse reaction from the ingestion of wine containing a significantly lower concentration of histamine (Wantke et al. 1994, Jarsich and Wantke 1996, Wantke et al. 1996).
 

Rocky

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I feel like a lot of people describe the flavor as “bubble gum”-y
That probably comes for the Potassium Sorbate. One of the first things I do when I make a kit wine is toss the Sorbate in the trash. I am not concerned about re-fermentation because I ferment all of my wines into the SG 0.990's. The one exception I have is a California Symphony Gewurtztraminer that I just started about two weeks ago. I did use the Sorbate because there was a "reserve" pack with the wine.

To me, kit taste vs. store bought wine is the ABSENCE of sulfite taste resulting in no headaches.
 
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