recommended first batch varietal

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overpinot

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I'm looking for recommendations for my first batch of kit wine. is it better to start with something that will cellar for only a couple months, meaning cheaper kit? I don't want to mess up a more expensive kit, but I also want a quality product so that I can show myself (and my wife) that quality can be made. Any suggestions? How will it compare to a $12 to $15 bottle?
Thanks
 

millwright01

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I started my first learner batch as a Mist. Quite cheap and also had good instructions to help gain the confidence. I like the WE Chilean Merlot. It is a good early drinker and only gets better with age. That is my own tastes anyhow. The kits have easy to follow instructions and it runs about $120 Cdn at my local shop. Personal preferece on wines would dictate what you would like. I'm not a big Pinot fan myself so haven't tried any. As you get to be more experienced the wine will get better I'm finding. The subtle hints you learn from places like this greatly increase the quality of the wines. Have fun and welcome.
 
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Green Mountains

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I'm looking for recommendations for my first batch of kit wine. is it better to start with something that will cellar for only a couple months, meaning cheaper kit? I don't want to mess up a more expensive kit, but I also want a quality product so that I can show myself (and my wife) that quality can be made. Any suggestions? How will it compare to a $12 to $15 bottle?
Thanks
What type of wines do you and your wife like? Reds? Whites? Dry? Sweet?

If red then the Mist idea is a good one. These are generally sweeter and drinkable early. If you two enjoy whites then it'd be OK to try a nice varietal such as a Pinot Gris or something less dry such as a gwertztraminer or Leibrafamilch. They are generally much more enjoyable earlier. Ours were delicious at about three months.
 

NSwiner

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I would say go with the best yuo can afford right so you aren't disappointed . Once you have that started get one of the cheaper 4 week kits to have to drink while your waiting for other to age . If you tell us what types of wine you like that would be more helpful like Darren said .
 

overpinot

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Our preference is red, particularly cab, cab-shiraz blend, zin, and pinot. I saw some posts about a unique "kit" taste and that's what I want to avoid. I'm assuming that may be more a function of drinking too early, but don't want to spoil the expectations on the first batch.
 

jdeere5220

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I can only speak for the Wine Expert kits: the more expensive "quality" red kits require the most aging. If you are a Shiraz fan (as am I), there are a couple of "Selection International" Shiraz blend kits. Should be drinkable at 3 months aging, and really good at 9-12 months. So put that in a bottle, then start one of the Island Mist kits so you can be drinking that in July. That's my strategy anyway!
 

St Allie

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most kit makers here suggest that you can buy a lower end white in a kit and there won't be a hugely appreciable difference between it and a higher end white.. however you tend to get what you pay for with the red kits. Leave a red at least 6 months bottled before opening ( 4 months average for newbies lol) drink whites a bit earlier.. 3 months in bottle. put down a few whites to stop you touching the reds too early!!

personally I don't mind a lower end pinot noir ( tweaked a bit) as an early drinker.. valpolicella is an easy drinker too.

make what you'd normally drink is my suggestion..

Allie
 

Green Mountains

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Again, your first post called for something that would be ready in a couple of months....go with one of the Winexpert Island Mist kits or similar. It'll be something to cut your teeth on, won't set you back much and quick to drink.

Darlene's advise is great too. Buy a NICE kit....something that isn't cheap and put it away for awhile after you bottle it..... you'll see that this little hobby can be instantly gratifying (if you consider months to be instant) and also capable of creating intense wines that you are proud to gift to friends and relatives.

We just gifted an RJ Spagnols Pinot Gris that we bottled on March 24th, 2008. Our neighbor was like "HOLY SHITE....YOU made this?"

Dig in, you'll have a ball.
 

Wade E

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The mist kits are very thin on body and sweet and also low on abv and they are designed for a summersa day on the deck. Lots of us make these for our wives and such and also usually up the abv to around 10% by addin g about 3 lbs of sugar. It will void the warranty though just so you know. If looking for a red kit get a more expensive kit as even young it will be better then a cheaper kit with some age on it. I only make the grape skin kits as they provide the body and mouthfeel that most red kits without grape skins lack big time. These grape skin kits also dont have the kit taste as much or any at all compared to the just concentrate kits. I really only make the RJ Spagnols Winery series or En Primeur but to truly appreciate them do yourself a favor and let at least a few of them make it to 1 1/2 years old. For a good place to get wine kits and equipment try http://finevinewines.com/ Like St Allie said the white wine kits are another story and although the bigger kits are better, the difference isnt anywhere as noticable so a mid range kit will come around fast and be very good.
 

St Allie

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i'll just put my hand up and say.. i have made the mist kits and upped the SG to 1.080..

for me personally.. they are too sweet and the kit taste is awful.. ( the ones I made were heron bay brand) My mum loves them.. ( mind you... she'll drink anything .....:re )

Allie
 

Green Mountains

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Allie, that's funny. I've only made one kit so far of the WE Island Mists. It's in the bottle and sweet as hell. Next time I'll use half the fpack in primary to up the abv and lessen the sweetness on the other end.

Our plan is to use it as a summer Sangria "starter". Just add fruit.....
 

St Allie

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Darren..

I prefer dry reds. My mum prefers white, sweet to medium wines,..

we just don't like the same wines.

Allie

(upping the abv.. doesn't improve this kit in my opinion.)
 

Green Mountains

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EEk....not good to know.

We're dry red people too. Oh well, it will help round out the wine rack and make an excellent GIFTING wine.
 

overpinot

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Thanks for these great suggestions. We decided on an Austrailian Chardonnay of mid-range quality so that it would be drinkable this summer. I think after getting that started I am going to go with a longer aging red. That way I'll have some home-grown product to select while the red is aging. The Mist looked a little too sweet and fruity for our palates.
 

Papa b

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My first kit was "California Connoisseur Merlot", easy directions to follow take about a month and taste good, for about 89 bucks can't go wrong, and remenber keep everything clean, clean, clean
Papa b
 

cpfan

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My first kit was "California Connoisseur Merlot", easy directions to follow take about a month and taste good, for about 89 bucks can't go wrong, and remenber keep everything clean, clean, clean
Papa b
For the last couple of years that I ran the FoP, this was the second best seller. One customer would bottle one batch and start another one. The first was all gone a month later when she came back to bottle the next one.

Steve
 

Papa b

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doesnt surprise me Steve, it was really,really good for the price,and it get better with a little bit of aging, you know what? i'm going to make another California Connoisseur Merlot now I hope it taste as good as the last one
 

overpinot

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It's that "clean, clean, clean" thing that's driving me crazy right now. Which sanitizer to use, how do you use it without getting stains on everything if using the iodophor (which my local shop promotes), etc. i know there are numerous threads on these subjects on this and other forums, but no clarity.
 

Papa b

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personally I will use B Brite or one step for cleaner and Potassium Bisulfite for sanitizer 3 tbsp per gallon, and You are right the iodophor I dont use because the said stains,good luck and welcome to the forum
 

cpfan

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I use iodophor and have for a long time. So far I haven't stained anything badly. Of course, I've been lucky and haven't clumsily knocked a bottle of the concentrate all over.

I don't use K-meta (potassium meta-bisulphite) because of the strong irritating smell. It bothers my throat.

Papa B:

I have made few (if any) Calif Conn kits for myself over the years; however, I am a big fan of their big brother Ken Ridge Classic, and have now made a Cheeky Monkey. The KRC Merlot was the best selling kit in my store. Yes, the top two kits in sales were both 4-week merlots from Vineco.

Steve
 

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