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strowheim

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I'm thinking about making a kit wine (selection series Pinot Noir) without any fining chemicals. This means I wouldn't use any bentonite or chitosan/kielosol.

I would let it bulk age for 6+ months to make sure it clears on its own.

The reason for doing this is to eliminate as much as possible the "kit wine" taste that all my wines seem to have (and that I notice in other kit wines as well).

Do you think this is a good idea? Should I add the bentonite and not the clearing agents?
 

Tom

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Well, you dont need clearing agents. You DO need k-meta. Yes this can work only with k-meta.
 

Wade E

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Its not the fining agents that are causing the kit taste though, its the process that they use to process the juice thats does it! These juices go through a high tech vacuum processing that removes the water to a different extent depending on each kit, smaller kits have had more water removed vrs bigger kits. They range from 30%-70% and in the process of removeig that much water taste and body suffers. Also the cheapr smaller kits have less TDS(total dissolved solids) that give the wine much more body. The bigger the kit generally the better the wine but that doesnt always stand true as you need good quality juice at that also. If you are buying the high end kits then this KT is much less then the middle line and buying an all juice kit doesnt mean its the best kit out there cause most of those are just concentrated kits with the water added for you and designed for people with not so great water supplies so they dont have to buy water to add to it. What kits are you buying cause I find the RJS Cellar Craft Winery Series and the RJS En Primuer kits to not have any or very very little kit taste and if it does have any it goes away with some aging.
 

rawlus

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i dont think you'll gain quality by leaving out the supplied fining agents. if you cannot deal with the kit taste, you need to spend more money on the raw materials and get higher quality ones. bentonite does so much more than just simply fining, i could really see a wine go backwards in quality by deciding to leave it out - especially whites where bentonite works against haze issues.
 

cpfan

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strowheim:

Just being nosy here, but where did you get the impression that clearing agents are associated with kit taste?

Steve
 

strowheim

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strowheim:

Just being nosy here, but where did you get the impression that clearing agents are associated with kit taste?

Steve
Steve - I dreamed it up in my head. I figured throwing shellfish in a wine couldn't possibly be good for it.

All - Thanks for the info. I always try to buy kits with the largest amount of concentrate I can... I've done two RJS and one Winexpert. My next batch will be straight from grapes (Chilean) so I should be able to really tell the difference. right now though I've been very disappointed and cant even drink the kit wine... that fake kit taste just kills it for me.

really turned off at this point
 

robie

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If your instructions call for bentonite before fermentation, it is necessary for the yeast and its suspension. I would not leave it out. The other clearing agents can be left out if you bulk age long enough. KMeta is NOT a clearing agent and should not be left out.
 

rawlus

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Steve - I dreamed it up in my head. I figured throwing shellfish in a wine couldn't possibly be good for it.

All - Thanks for the info. I always try to buy kits with the largest amount of concentrate I can... I've done two RJS and one Winexpert. My next batch will be straight from grapes (Chilean) so I should be able to really tell the difference. right now though I've been very disappointed and cant even drink the kit wine... that fake kit taste just kills it for me.

really turned off at this point

how old in the bottle are the wines you're trying? more than 2 years?

if you dont like the shellfish there are other alternatives. siligel is one.
 

strowheim

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how old in the bottle are the wines you're trying? more than 2 years?

if you dont like the shellfish there are other alternatives. siligel is one.
the oldest one was about a year old..

does it ever go away?
 

rawlus

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in my experience, red wines in general are best after 2 years. there are some exceptions and it can vary a bit based on the kit size, wine type, overall quality, etc. but as a rule, the reds will not be at their best under 2 years. period. i think that kit taste does eventually subside in most reds after proper aging. but, your expectations have to also be adjusted to a $2-5 bottle of wine as well. most of the "good" commercial red wines i have, are at least 5 or 6 years old. meaning im drinking 2005's and these are very balanced, soft tannins, complex, supple, sophisticated. no harshness, tactile texture without being coarse. etc. the majority of these wines are from small producers and cost me at time of purchase, between $20-60/bottle with the majority in the $30 area. so, my expectation is that i cannot recreate that experience at $3 a bottle. but i can make something pretty decent for 10x less and save the $30 bottle for something other than quaffing....

since the kit taste is very subjective, different people will have different opinions on it. ive found that to people who dont know the wine was made from a kit, they are none the wiser provided the wine has sufficiently aged. i think knowing its made from a kit, from the winemakers perspective, you can tend to fall into a cycle of looking for flaws every time you taste the wine ("let's see if it's still crap"), rather than gaining some perspective and noting the progress ("its getting more balanced now, softer"). so, for me, i think its a mindset issue a bit too.

but generally, kits will usually not stand up to great grapes or juice. but grapes and juice can be much more psychotic and less consistent year to year (and more expensive, and more equipment and testing intensive)... lol. for everyday quaffing wine, a good quality kit cannot be beat for consistency and ease of production. for something more complex, individualistic, sublime, and age-worthy, grapes, frozen must, fresh juice are better options IMHO.
 

MN-winer

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I like the way rawlus has explained this. Good work!!

I still, to this day do not get what "Kit taste" is and I'm glad I don't. My wines taste fine and I'm happy with them and friends and family who have tasted them don't mention anything. I generally have been not as happy with the low quality kits, but its nothing about Kit taste, but generally not being complex and very thin.
 

strowheim

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I've done 2 RJS and a Winexpert. Winexpert was a Cab Franc (silver award winner label on the box)... its about 4 months old now, we decided to age it in the bottle, but we tasted it right after the bottle shock was supposed to be done, and there is significant kit taste. i'm aware this is a very very young wine, so i'm okay with it not being great, but i have a feeling that kit taste will not go away. i dont really know how to describe it.. its more of a smell than a taste, honestly.

I have another, a RJS Cab-syrah-zin blend cellar classic harvest that is still bulk aging. i'll bottle it tomorrow likely so we will see if it still has a kit taste

the other is a rjs Orange Chocolate port which is still aging.

i've tasted other kit wines that my friends have made, they all have the same kit taste... and I cant stand it. so i dont know what to do.
 

Wade E

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Almost all the W.E kits have a colored label on them. It just means that it wone a prize at some point in time.
 

Tom

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I've done 2 RJS and a Winexpert. Winexpert was a Cab Franc (silver award winner label on the box)... its about 4 months old now, we decided to age it in the bottle, but we tasted it right after the bottle shock was supposed to be done, and there is significant kit taste. i'm aware this is a very very young wine, so i'm okay with it not being great, but i have a feeling that kit taste will not go away. i dont really know how to describe it.. its more of a smell than a taste, honestly.

I have another, a RJS Cab-syrah-zin blend cellar classic harvest that is still bulk aging. i'll bottle it tomorrow likely so we will see if it still has a kit taste

the other is a rjs Orange Chocolate port which is still aging.

i've tasted other kit wines that my friends have made, they all have the same kit taste... and I cant stand it. so i dont know what to do.
One way to get rid of it is buy the bigger kits. Remember its TRUE
"You get what You pay for"
Get one with skins..
 

Wade E

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In my experience, W.E. kits are the biggest problem as far as kit taste goes. I only make the RJS Winery Series and EP kits now and in only 1 of those did I detect ant and it was gone in 6 months ( way before you should even think of drinking 1 of these wines anyway as they need to mature for at least 8 months minimum.
 

jdammer

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Can you old pros describe the wine kit taste to me?

I'm not a very sophisticated wine drinker. Been drinking it for about 5 years but have never really had an education on tasting and describing wine. I just know what I like. Some insight on kit taste would be great.
 

Wade E

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Its sometimes known as a "Jolly Rancher" sweetness.
 

jdammer

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Hmm maybe I'll go pick up a few bottles from the store and sit down and compare them to mine.
 

strowheim

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I've always experienced it as a smell, as opposed to a sweetness.. i'll need to crack another bottle to comment on the smell, however it doesnt seem to effect the taste to me.
 
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