Kit Wine Taste

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jsbeckton

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In my opinion, that sweet grapy flavor never goes away. A kit wine it what it is after 18mo, well IMO anyways. I waited 5 years and they never got any better.
 

JWT_Can

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This is what I was worried about. I have about 50 bottles left so was hoping to try to mask it a bit with oak and tannins. The EP kits make for expensive sangria!
 

jsbeckton

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I moved to all grape and only wish I had done so sooner. I use my kit wine as top up wine as I can’t really stand it anymore. I tried extended maceration, tannin, different yeasts and barrel aging. None of that really improved the (“high end”) kits that I made, at least not noticeably.
 

mainshipfred

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Peoples tastes are definitely different. I don't make them anymore and haven't for the 4 years. To me it wasn't a sweet/grapey taste but something different that I get in every red kit wine I taste, not so much in the whites. I used all my remaining kit wine to top up.

Edit: @jsbeckton We must have posted at the same time. As you can see I used it to top up as well.
 

winemaker81

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To me it wasn't a sweet/grapey taste but something different that I get in every red kit wine I taste, not so much in the whites.
Same here.

I don't top with my older kits. I drink them when I want to remain sober, as I'll drink a lot less of them than a wine I really like.

🤪
 

Gilmango

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I have read a lot of the past posts on kit taste. I have a EP super Tuscan and amarone at 18 months old and still have a strong sweet grapey flavor (though it is dry). I was going to put the wine back in carboy and add some finishing tannin and oak cubes to try and balance this overly fruity flavor. Any experience here or words of wisdom? The aroma has improved a lot but I am worried the flavor will never age out...
Damn, that's bad news on the EP Amarone and Super Tuscan. Those were 3 of the first 6 kits I've made (did the Amarone twice). Luckily, I did not taste a strong sweet grape note on those when I put them in secondary, but maybe that was just in comparison to the very first kit I made, an RJS International Cru Nebbiolo, which not only seems to have no especially discernible Nebbiolo flavors, but has a ton of strong sweet grape flavor. I tried knocking that sweetness down with extra oak and tannins, which definitely helped, but did not make it go away (and as the oak and tannin settles back the sweetness is more to the forefront). And that wine finished at 0.992.

Fingers still crossed about the EP kits, which tasted quite a bit better and actually tasted dry (maybe 3-9 weeks of EM helped). I may sneak another taste to reassure myself. The last 2 kits I bout were from Finer Wine Kits which I'm hoping that makes a difference (if it's the pasteurization which brings the kit taste). I did not taste it when i moved the FWK Super Tuscan to secondary, by Barbera is still in primary. I'm hoping Finer Wine Kits is a solution (with no pasteurization, and 100% varietal vs. unknown blend often from unknown location(s)), as I'm a little scared of going all grapes given the extra equipment/space needs and the seasonality.

EDIT - A little scared, I tasted the 3 RJS EP kits, plus the 1 Finer Wines kit that I have bulk aging today. Honestly, they all tasted good to me, I'm not a super taster, but I did not taste the sweetness which was off putting in the RJS Int'l Cru Nebbiolo, my first kit and only one I bottled. I even revisited that wine for comparison sake, only after tasting the bulk aging wines, and the sweetness was there, almost on the middle of tongue on both sides (not where one normally tastes sweet I think, but that is where that first wine just hit differently). Worth noting that the first wine was the only one I used the EC-1118 champage yeast on. All the others I sampled were done with BM4x4. So I came away relieved. I won't get into the RJS EP v. FWK Super Tuscan battle beyond saying that they both tasted very good, with the FWK (younger by 3 weeks) tasted a bit more polished and closer to being ready to bottle but I will likely wait 3-6 months before I do that.
 
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winemaker81

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I just tasted the new formulation WE Reserve Australian Cabernet Sauvignon kit, which I started exactly 1 year ago today. The wine sat on 2 oz medium toast French cubes for 7 months, bottled in April.

I'm very pleased with it. NO KWT! There's a perceptible fruitiness that blends in nicely with the oak I added.

This wine and a WE Australian Chardonnay were made for my son's wedding reception in October. I'm going to tell him that I'm substituting box wine because this is too good to waste on a bunch of drunks!

Yup. I am going to tell him that. He'll look at me say, "Right, Dad," and roll his eyes. 😂

He and his fiance will be here for dinner and taste the wine tonight. They will be pleased.
 

Bmd2k1

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I just tasted the new formulation WE Reserve Australian Cabernet Sauvignon kit, which I started exactly 1 year ago today. The wine sat on 2 oz medium toast French cubes for 7 months, bottled in April.

I'm very pleased with it. NO KWT! There's a perceptible fruitiness that blends in nicely with the oak I added.

This wine and a WE Australian Chardonnay were made for my son's wedding reception in October. I'm going to tell him that I'm substituting box wine because this is too good to waste on a bunch of drunks!

Yup. I am going to tell him that. He'll look at me say, "Right, Dad," and roll his eyes. 😂

He and his fiance will be here for dinner and taste the wine tonight. They will be pleased.
Awesome! Enjoy :)

Prost!!!
 

JWT_Can

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I moved to all grape and only wish I had done so sooner. I use my kit wine as top up wine as I can’t really stand it anymore. I tried extended maceration, tannin, different yeasts and barrel aging. None of that really improved the (“high end”) kits that I made, at least not noticeably.
Your comment got me thinking. I have about 10 bottles of Baco Noir from grapes that were thin and overly tart (but dry and no grapey taste). I used this as a blend at about 3:1 kit:grape wine and the blend tastes really nice! Adds some pleasant acidity and removes the sweet grapey flavor.
 

Venatorscribe

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I just tasted the new formulation WE Reserve Australian Cabernet Sauvignon kit, which I started exactly 1 year ago today. The wine sat on 2 oz medium toast French cubes for 7 months, bottled in April.

I'm very pleased with it. NO KWT! There's a perceptible fruitiness that blends in nicely with the oak I added.

This wine and a WE Australian Chardonnay were made for my son's wedding reception in October. I'm going to tell him that I'm substituting box wine because this is too good to waste on a bunch of drunks!

Yup. I am going to tell him that. He'll look at me say, "Right, Dad," and roll his eyes. 😂

He and his fiance will be here for dinner and taste the wine tonight. They will be pleased.
Interesting. Based on your comments I've just ordered this kit. Did you make it straight up or pimp it up slightly to enhanced flavours. Cheers
 

Gerry Congleton

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I have about 20 bottles left of my last batch of Cabernet Sauvignon that has not improved over the last 7 months. I've given some away to use for cooking, but do not think it has an acceptable taste to drink now (maybe never). Maybe I'll try putting it back in a carboy and try to improve it (with your advice).
Part of what I have read has said that the more expensive kits are more likely to have a much better chance of having a better taste.
Now, I am looking to buy a better wine kit and would like some suggestions. I don't know what price range makes sense, but I located one from Australia that was VERY expensive. Wondering if the cost was increased because it is from Australia??? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Since my botched batch of Cab. Sauvignon, I have been successful with a small batch of Chardonnay and Riesling. The Riesling made fro others.
Thanks for your ear.
 

winemaker81

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Now, I am looking to buy a better wine kit and would like some suggestions.
Based upon my preliminary results the WE 10 liter (Reserve) kits come out good. The Cabernet Sauvignon & Chardonnay I made are exactly 1 year old and both are good, and will improve with age.

I have a FWK Barbera going and so far it's looking good, but it's only a month into the process so there will be a LOT of changes (hopefully in a positive direction). However, feedback from others with more time into the FWK indicates they are good, and at a lower price than the WE 10 liter kits.

Regarding unknown brands, I do it like that line from Dilbert -- "Change is good. You go first." I listen to the feedback from the more adventurous folks and go from there.
 

MHSKIBUM

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I've been tweaking cheap Costco kits for a couple of years, at first shorting the water (topping to 19 litres rather than 23) and bulk aging at least eight months with very positive results. In the past eight months I've been adding grape skins, either the dry packs or skins and seeds from crushed black table grapes with seeds.
The crushed table grape skins seem to introduce equal colour and dimension as the dry grape skins for a lot less money. The table grapes seemed to make the wine, though still dry, have a slightly sweeter finish in side by side comparisons.
I held a blind tasting of a kit Merlot, a kit Cab Sauvignon vs two under $20 Ripassos. Nine out of nine tasters (including two people I consider seasoned oenophiles picked my six-month-old kit wines above either of the commercial wines.
 

Khristyjeff

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I held a blind tasting of a kit Merlot, a kit Cab Sauvignon vs two under $20 Ripassos. Nine out of nine tasters (including two people I consider seasoned oenophiles picked my six-month-old kit wines above either of the commercial wines.
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Congrats on your wine-making success! I'm a big fan of Ripassos so I will probably have to try your tweaks. What price range are the Costco kits you use?
 

MHSKIBUM

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I live in Canada so all prices are in $Cdn. I buy 60-bottle kits (50 bottle yield because of shorted water) both the Argentia Ridge and Cellar Master brands from Costco. They sell, respectively, for $104.99 and $99.99 including taxes and shipping to most places.
I wait for a sale when prices drop $20/kit. That happens two or three times a year. A Costco flyer has Cellar Master kits on sale from 10/11/21 to 10/24/21. The expiry dates usually leave 10 months so I stock up.
For red wines, I buy whichever black seeded grapes I can find at a low price. Unfortunately, I don't know the grape types because I buy them at an Asia store that identifies them only as black grapes. The ones in the regular supermarket are usually Thompson but most often seedless. Include the seeds and some stems for their tannin.
Wineries never wash their grapes but because they've been sitting in a store, I do. I buy a pack which is usually around $5-$6 or less when in peak season per 30-bottle batch. I have yet to find an efficient way to crush and not mush them (Voice of experience: do not use a blender). I remove most but not all of the juice for my morning fruit juice.
My first efforts introducing table grape skins in the primary fermenter before adding the yeast and removing them before 2nd fermentation worked above my expectations. However, if you can extend the maceration for 30-40 days before bottling or bulk aging, the result will be amazing. After many attempts to sew a narrow cheesecloth bag to fit through the narrow mouth of my carboy, I broke down and bought a 30-litre Speidel fermenter — a great investment.
I'm investigating buying a Kegerator or putting Speidel in a spare fridge to cold soak kit juice and shorted water on skins for a week prior initiating fermentation. Haven't decided yet whether this will replace 30-day extended maceration post 1st fermentation or be an additional step on its own. Luckily, these kits are cheap enough to experiment.
The toughest part is allowing the wine to age at least a year. Extended maceration according to all venerable sources I've found makes 1-2 years of aging essential to mellow the tannins, BUT at $2 a bottle, it's hard to justify not drinking it young when it still beats anything under $15 at the wine store.
One added note: cheap kits come with cheap corks. If you drink them fast, no problem but if you intend to lay them down in a bottle more than 2 years, high quality corks are a must.
 
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