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RJ Spagnols Riesling Tweak Suggestions

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tjgaul

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I'll be starting a basic RJS Grand Cru Riesling (style) kit next weekend. My goal is to get a fairly acidic dry Riesling with good bouquet and (hopefully) some minerality. In doing a little research I noticed that some of the Finger Lakes Rieslings that I like best were slow fermented over anywhere from 45 to 120 days. I previously made a California Connoisseur Riesling last summer that is just now coming around. Due to the ambient temperatures at the time, the primary fermentation was over in 4 days and I think it diminished the wine to some degree. Of all the kits I've made so far this one most clearly has the "kit" flavor. I attribute it, at least partially, to too rapid of fermentation.

My plan was to keep the temps low and let the wine ferment over 30+ days if possible. I'll be fermenting in a good cool (pretty consistently 60 degrees) basement. I have a 6.5 gal carboy that I plan to use for the primary and have CO2 to blanket if necessary.

I'm looking for advice on:

1) the best yeast to use
2) acids and volumes to add (I have citric on hand)
3) best starting temp for the must
4) any tips on infusing minerality to the wine.

Also, any comments, concerns or advise on a slow and cool fermentation would be appreciated.

Tim
 

salcoco

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Cotes de Blanc would be a good yeast to keep the aromatics. I wold wait until post fermentation with bench trials to get the acid profile you desire. Start fermentation at 65-70 deg and wait until ferment starts then go cold . make sure you use yeast nutrient. I don't think you will need to add co2.
 

tjgaul

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I happened to have K1-V1116 on hand so I went with that yeast. As suggested, I started the must at 64 degrees and added some nutrient. Once the must was all set and ready for the yeast I took the carboy to the basement and pitched it dry. By the next morning the temperature had already dropped below 60. It took almost 2 days for the yeast to complete hydration and sink into the wine. It is now maintaining 58-59 degrees and making bubbles at a slow, but steady pace. So far, this is pretty much what I was shooting for. It smells really good right now. I'll let you know how it turns out at the end of primary.
 

tjgaul

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Tweaking - YES!

Have you read Tweeking cheap wine Kit's?
Heck yes . . . . I've gone through most of the thread and have borrowed many ideas. Love your theory, "make a plan and follow the flow." I've been doctoring up my reds with extra oak and various fruit (raspberries, blackberries and cherries). The ports have been getting the most tweaks, including dark chocolate.

Don't have a post fermentation plan for this Riesling yet. I think I have to wait until it completes primary and taste it before formulating the tweaking plan. I have an idea of what I want it to taste like, but I'm not sure how (or if) I can get there . . . . yet.
 

joeswine

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Best thing to do is either add 1/2 grapefruit zest to either the primary or secondary ,let it sit for a few weeks then rack and move forward with your plan.
 

tjgaul

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Thanks Joe,

I will add the zest this weekend. I'm only a few days into primary and keeping it cool so it continues at a moderate pace. The zest should have adequate time to do its thing before the first racking.
 

tjgaul

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Added the grapefruit zest and it smells fantastic in the wine. I just want to stand with my nose over the airlock breathing in all those delicious bubbles. Can't wait to see what this is like in a few months.

I plan to allow this to bulk age a while since I am currently sitting on a good supply of Riesling and Gewurztraminer already in the bottle. Hoping that some bulk aging will make a difference in a basic white wine.

TG
 

tjgaul

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It's been a while since I gave an update on this project. I actually showed a little backbone on this kit and let it age almost 6 months in the carboy. One gallon was pulled off to blend with a Gewurztraminer and the remainder was bottled on 10-9-17. I made this kit dry with only a teaspoon of glycerin and a teaspoon of citric acid added at the end. It tasted good on bottling day and I expect it to improve with time.

Luckily, since I have several other whites on the shelf at this time, I hope to be able to keep my paws off of it and let it continue to age a few more months. Once we break into this batch I will give an update. So far, so good.

I'm about to start a Viognier and a Moscato and I think both will get some lemon and/or grapefruit zest added. It seems to brighten the wine and give some added nose in my opinion.
 

Trick

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Tweaking - YES!



Heck yes . . . . I've gone through most of the thread and have borrowed many ideas. Love your theory, "make a plan and follow the flow." I've been doctoring up my reds with extra oak and various fruit (raspberries, blackberries and cherries). The ports have been getting the most tweaks, including dark chocolate.

Don't have a post fermentation plan for this Riesling yet. I think I have to wait until it completes primary and taste it before formulating the tweaking plan. I have an idea of what I want it to taste like, but I'm not sure how (or if) I can get there . . . . yet.

Glad to see you are playing with the chocolate. I added dark chocolate into my latest red batch (a cheap cab/merlot blend). However, it generated a lot of oily things on the top. Did you see that in your batch and any idea how to deal with that?
 

tjgaul

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Glad to see you are playing with the chocolate. I added dark chocolate into my latest red batch (a cheap cab/merlot blend). However, it generated a lot of oily things on the top. Did you see that in your batch and any idea how to deal with that?
I used dark bakers chocolate and shaved it using a cheese grater. I put some in the primary and more in the secondary with an F-pac during the first round of bulk aging. I did not notice any oily residue on top. It seemed that the chocolate sank to the bottom fairly rapidly. I definitely got hints of chocolate on the nose and in the flavor. It was fairly pronounced in the port since it was a small batch (1 gal) and was more subtle in the merlot (5 gal). I will have to pay close attention on the next chocolate addition to see if any oiliness occurs.

I generally stick pretty tight to a 3 month racking routine so any existing residue may have all come off in the first racking without me noticing.
 

skyfire322

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Added the grapefruit zest and it smells fantastic in the wine. I just want to stand with my nose over the airlock breathing in all those delicious bubbles. Can't wait to see what this is like in a few months.

I plan to allow this to bulk age a while since I am currently sitting on a good supply of Riesling and Gewurztraminer already in the bottle. Hoping that some bulk aging will make a difference in a basic white wine.

TG
Did you filter the zest out during racking? I'm actually thinking about trying this!
 

Trick

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I used dark bakers chocolate and shaved it using a cheese grater. I put some in the primary and more in the secondary with an F-pac during the first round of bulk aging. I did not notice any oily residue on top. It seemed that the chocolate sank to the bottom fairly rapidly. I definitely got hints of chocolate on the nose and in the flavor. It was fairly pronounced in the port since it was a small batch (1 gal) and was more subtle in the merlot (5 gal). I will have to pay close attention on the next chocolate addition to see if any oiliness occurs.

I generally stick pretty tight to a 3 month racking routine so any existing residue may have all come off in the first racking without me noticing.
Thx for the reply. Maybe I bought the wrong chocolate bar which contains too much oil (even it is 90% coco).
Anyway, it should not be a huge deal since I can always pay more attention during next racking to skim it out. I should say in taste, it is not bad.
By the way, I just heated it with the fruit (black berry) and melted the chocolate completely before dumping it into the must.
 

tjgaul

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Did you filter the zest out during racking? I'm actually thinking about trying this!
The zest is so small and light after fermentation that it simply stayed in with the gross lees. It only takes a little zest. I believe I used the zest of half of one grapefruit. It's not much material in 6 gal of must. However, it does add to the nose during fermentation.
 

Elizajean

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remember a little goes a long way ( and zest)
I'm already through secondary, ready to degassed and stabilize. Could I add zest at this point? The lees are still there for the next month or so.
 

tjgaul

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Zest can be added in primary, secondary or early bulk aging. I would go a little lighter the later it is added. It should not be a problem racking it out. It's my theory that you get more action out of it in primary as it stays in suspension and is getting some action from the yeast. It's just a theory, but I like it. You might try searching on joeswine thread for tweaking cheap kits. He is a proponent of lemon & grapefruit zest in most white wines.
 

Tetrarch

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I happened to have K1-V1116 on hand so I went with that yeast. As suggested, I started the must at 64 degrees and added some nutrient. Once the must was all set and ready for the yeast I took the carboy to the basement and pitched it dry. By the next morning the temperature had already dropped below 60. It took almost 2 days for the yeast to complete hydration and sink into the wine. It is now maintaining 58-59 degrees and making bubbles at a slow, but steady pace. So far, this is pretty much what I was shooting for. It smells really good right now. I'll let you know how it turns out at the end of primary.
How long did it take to ferment at this lower temperature?
 

joeswine

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when using chocolates enhance the best grade powered chocolate you can affords also add 1 tablespoon or teaspoon ( depending on your volume )of instant coffee to boost the aroma over time (cool trick) time.
 

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