Question Re: Older wine kits

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Twisted Canuck

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Hi all, I'm brand new to this racket, but it is a family tradition so I'm into it....I bought a startup kit, and wine kit at Costco three weeks ago, and my first two batches are doing great....no problems there. Figured if I was going to screw up the first couple of batches, I'd use some cheap ones!

The question part comes here: A buddy of mine hooked me up with a ton of wine making gear from a relative that was getting out of it (age/illness related). So now I've got ten 23L glass carboys, 4 primaries, bottle washers, cleaning solution, corks, labels, hydrometers, thermometers and basically a whole truck load of stuff. All for $300 which made me happy. This still isn't the question part, but I'm getting there......OK we're there!:h

Included in all this gear, were five Cru Select wine kits, Shiraz, Cab/Sav, Chateau Du Roi, Reisling Traminer, and a late harvest Reisling. So I was pretty happy about that, until this evening when I started the first one.

The juice is brown. It smells like prune juice. Kinda Nasty. I opened the other kits up, and they all look the same in the bag, kinda brown. I don't know how old these are, (I did buy fresh yeast assuming they were old), but didn't think they'd go bad in a sealed bag....wrong? Am I wasting my time with these, should I just dump them down the drain and be happy with the gear I got, or what? I'm thinking its a waste of my time, but open and eager to hear what anyone has to suggest or recommend.

Thanks! TC
 
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mmadmikes1

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Dump them, Hope you didn't buy the Cab Sauv /Merlot kit from costco. If you did make it into 5 1/4 gallon batches. they are weak and boring, On second thought you have plenty of fermentors now , make em if they turn out bad, then dump them or give the wine to people you don't like
 
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cpfan

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Cru Select boxes have a date code on the variety label. If they are really old (prior to 2001?), there may be a date sticker on the bottom of the box. The date is date of manufacture.

There should also be a date on the yeast package.

Steve
 

Twisted Canuck

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Thanks for the replies....

Yes, the Cab/Merlot is from Costco, and I sort of expected it not to be premium (you generally do get what you pay for).....but I figured since I was just starting, no point in getting something more expensive to screw up while I was learning!:D I figure it will be an ok wine if you drink a lot fast......kidding.

I couldn't find a date code on the boxes, one of the first things I checked, I will have another look....either way, they are going down the drain.

So, suggestions for a decent wine kit?
 

cpfan

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Cru Select is very good. En Primeur is even better. Both are from RJ Spagnols,

Do you know what brands are easily available to you?

Also what kinds of wine do you like? Vineco, RJ Spagnols, Winexpert, and Cellar Craft are all good manufacturers that may be available to you.

Steve
 

Twisted Canuck

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I like a variety of wines, primarily drink reds but like a white on occasion....I try different ones regularily, and would be lying if I said I had developed a discerning palate...(now if we were talking single malt whisky, I'm a bit more informed :D)......

As to what is readily available, there are a couple of shops locally that sell what the call 'premium' wine kits, but don't ask the brand because I don't recall off hand. I'll be dropping in here regularily and asking advice, and giving updates on my adventures. I have lots of questions, such as adding oak to your wine, using cork/synthetic, and so forth. Lots to learn, but as mentioned I have 10 carboys to fill so I'm looking forward to it.
 

cpfan

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Find out what brands they carry, ask the staff what is popular.

Ask about lmited editions. The major manufacturers release them Dec thru April, and you will probably have to order in advance. But they are usually great.

Read the kit forums here. You will gain an understanding of what is popular.

Amarone (a full bodied Italian red) is very popular on the various forums. Personally I'm not a big fan of it (at least so far). I have some 2 year old bottles that need to be tried again.

Steve
 

Twisted Canuck

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One of my neighbors makes wine as well, he gave us a bottle of aforementioned Amarone to try...in fairness, it wasn't aged very long at all (6 months? maybe?), and like yourself, I was not a big fan.

I've enjoyed my Australian Shiraz, and Chilean (*or Argentinean?) Malbecs, might look for some nice kits to try of those.....
 

cpfan

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I really enjoyed the Cru Select Australian Shiraz Viognier that we made a few years ago. I didn't use all of the oak that came with the kit.

But there are many other good Australian Shiraz kits around. We made the Vinterra Shiraz and it was very good - very much enjoyed by some friends.

I heard some good things about the Ken Ridge Showcase Argentine Malbec, but don't recall when/where.

Steve
 

Twisted Canuck

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Thanks for taking the time for me Steve, I appreciate it. I'm sure we'll get to know one another thru this forum, and I look forward to your input...always nice to have a mentor when you take on something new.

TC
 

cpfan

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You're welcome TC, glad to help.

I'm surprised that some of the others have stayed out of this thread. It's unusual for a 2 person thread like this, especially on a non-technical topic.

Steve
 

Wade E

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Sorry I somehow missed this post for so long? Looks like Cp has taken good care of you, that really bites that all those kits were bad though as the RJS Cru Select kits are very goo kits. Hey Steve, They make a Shiraz/Voignier? Thats a strange combe imo1
 

Twisted Canuck

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Oh well, might as well get the tough luck out of the way up front, and get on with making some wine to ease the pain....!
 

cpfan

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Wade:

Co-fermenting Shiraz (or Syrah) and a small amount of Viognier is a traditional technique from the French Côte-Rôtie region. Legally up to 20% Viognier but typically 5% or less.

I believe that in Australia and the Western US, where Viognier has become popular, that the S-V blend has also become popular. Since the amount of Viognier is so small, it may not be mentioned on the label.

Steve
 

Wade E

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Good info Steve. I stopped drinking commercial stuff awhile ago but I really should keep to date on this stuff.
 

cpfan

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Good info Steve. I stopped drinking commercial stuff awhile ago but I really should keep to date on this stuff.
Wade:

I first learned that when RJS released their RQ Shiraz-Viognier. Then when visiting Columbia Crest in Prosser WA, I noticed that they had Shiraz and Viognier, so I asked about blending the two, and she said we use a little Viognier in the Shiraz you just tasted.

BTW, the last commercial wine that I bought was "Goats do Roam". I just had to try it, and enjoyed it. Sorta like having to try "Cat's Pee on a Gooseberry Bush" NZ Sauv Blanc. It was OK, but I preferred Stoneleigh.

Steve
 

cpfan

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I checked my files and couldn't see the RJS sell sheet. I believe that they mentioned better colour (whatever that means) and a slight floral aroma from the Viognier.

Here's a comment from a web-site called Suite 101 (http://australian-nz-wine.suite101.com/article.cfm/shiraz_viognier)

By contrast, Shiraz Viognier is produced by the method of co-fermentation. Here the red Shiraz grapes are mixed with the white Viognier grapes before the wine is made. The addition of white grapes at this stage is thought to preserve the brightness of the red pigments during fermentation, as well as altering the development of some of the flavour compounds.
Steve
 

Wade E

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I dought it because, I could e wronghere but Im almost possitive the Voignier grape is a White grape!
 

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