RJ Spagnols RJS 2017 RQ1 Cabernet Sauvignon

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tjgaul

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I pre-ordered the RQ1 L-Elegance Cab Sauv kit this past fall and received it in early February. Started the batch on 3-5 and racked to carboy on 3-18. The kit came with oak chips and 2 bags of dried grape skins. At the first racking I transferred to a 6.5 gal carboy (much safer for degassing), added K-Meta and clearing agents, but skipped the sorbate. Topped the carboy with CO2 and left for 2 weeks. Re-racked on 4-1 to 5 gal carboy and 3L jug. This wine is fabulous already. Much better than at least half the store bought Cab Sauv I've had. I am exceptionally happy with this kit and can't wait to see what it is like once it fully clears and has a little age on it.

This kit was $113 / $150 with shipping and I think it's the best buy I have made so far. Certainly a high quality kit that produces a bold, fruit forward cab. At this point the only flaw I detect is that the finish is a tad short, but I think that will improve with time. It will be hard to wait very long to bottle this batch. I'm glad I have the 3L set aside separately. That will likely be bottled (and consumed) in the not too distant future.

Anyone else out there that is making this kit?
 

CabSauv

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Thanks for your review. I am a cab junkie and currently making a WineXpert cab sauv but already exploring other kits to try in the future. I bet the dried grape skins are what set it apart from other kits you've done. I imagine the dried grape skins would bring out the color and natural tannin. I am adding tannin to my kit to make sure I get what I'm looking for.
 

tjgaul

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Having just made 2 Cellar Craft kits (Pinot & Amarone) that come with good sized packs of hydrated grape skins, I was a little disappointed when I saw that the RJS limited edition kit included dried skins. The skin packs seemed awfully measly in comparison. However, the results I am seeing have removed any reservations I had about the dried skins.

At the time of the 2nd racking I was all set to make some modifications . . . adding more oak, F-pacs or possibly dark chocolate. Upon tasting and seeing my wife's positive reaction I decided that no mods were needed. I hope I find similar results in the future.
 

Brian55

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I pre-ordered the RQ1 L-Elegance Cab Sauv kit this past fall and received it in early February. Started the batch on 3-5 and racked to carboy on 3-18. The kit came with oak chips and 2 bags of dried grape skins. At the first racking I transferred to a 6.5 gal carboy (much safer for degassing), added K-Meta and clearing agents, but skipped the sorbate. Topped the carboy with CO2 and left for 2 weeks. Re-racked on 4-1 to 5 gal carboy and 3L jug. This wine is fabulous already. Much better than at least half the store bought Cab Sauv I've had. I am exceptionally happy with this kit and can't wait to see what it is like once it fully clears and has a little age on it.

This kit was $113 / $150 with shipping and I think it's the best buy I have made so far. Certainly a high quality kit that produces a bold, fruit forward cab. At this point the only flaw I detect is that the finish is a tad short, but I think that will improve with time. It will be hard to wait very long to bottle this batch. I'm glad I have the 3L set aside separately. That will likely be bottled (and consumed) in the not too distant future.

Anyone else out there that is making this kit?
We have this kit on deck, waiting for the primary fermenter to become available. We've had excellent results in the past with various RJ's kits containing the dried skins. Expecting this one to excellent as well.
 

tjgaul

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If anyone is interested in this kit, Southern Homebrew has a few leftovers for sale along with a couple other RJS RQ 2016 styles. I liked this enough to buy a 2nd kit to do as soon as a carboy is free.
 
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Tim,

Thanks for the tip. 'Just placed an order based on your recommendation. I've been a little disappointed with some other CS kits in the past, so the pressure is on!

What yeast came with the kit, and what did you use? I'm assuming that you had no problem with it fermenting to dry?

Greg
 

tjgaul

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Cellar Dweller,

Good Luck. I hope your batch comes out as good as mine did. I did not do anything special with this kit. Just followed the directions and let her go. I will check my notes tonight and post anything I noticed out of the ordinary. I believe the yeast was EC-1118, but I'll check on that too.

Tim
 

tjgaul

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Here's an update and an admission. I made a very rookie mistake.

Started this on 3/5/17 with an initial SG of 1.108 at 65 degrees, a little chilly, but I wanted it to be fruit forward. Yeast provided was RC-212 and I made short cycle yeast starter. The kit came with dried skins and oak chips, I added 1/2 cup Zantes yellow raisins and 2 cubes of grated dark baker's chocolate.

2 days later the temp was up to 77 and then 80 the following day with good action at each punch down. Continued to punch down 1 to 2 times per day until 3/18. This is where I flubbed up. Since the action had ceased, the must had gotten to a decent temperature and it had been 13 days, I assumed it was finished and did not take a hydrometer reading (duh!). I racked to a 6.5 Gal carboy for degassing and clarification. I added the K-meta, kieselsol and chitosan, but did not add K sorbate (thank God). On 4/1 I racked it to a 5 gal carboy and a 3 L jug.

On checking the SG this AM I found it to still be at 1.010 - yikes! Still some RS left in there for sure. Fortunately, 5 gal is still under airlock and has not been treated with sorbate so the plan now is to leave it under airlock for at least a few months and monitor the SG. If the SG does not come down to dry then I will have to sorbate it when it comes time to bottle.

I already bottled the set aside 3L jug so I'll be opening those bottles fairly soon to avoid the possibility of bottle bombs. It tastes so good that this will not be an inconvenience. Live and learn. Luckily, round 2 is on its way to me so I have a chance to give it another try. Hope this is helpful.

I'm not sure what I will do different this next time around except to start it a bit warmer and possibly leave it in primary a little longer. Attached are my notes.

RJS_RQ_Notes.jpg
 

sour_grapes

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I'm not sure what I will do different this next time around except to start it a bit warmer and possibly leave it in primary a little longer.
Well, live and learn!

-Does it taste at all sweet? A little sweetness can, indeed, smooth out the rough edges of a young wine.

-I assume you are using a hydrometer to measure SG?

-I am unfamiliar with RJS's instructions. Most kits (and winemakers) allow the wine to sit in "secondary" for a while before adding clearing agents and sulfites. (I put secondary in quotes in hopes of avoiding confusion with malolactic fermentation.) So, you rack from your primary fermenting vessel (bucket) into your secondary fermentation vessel (carboy), and then let it slowly finish the alcoholic fermentation over another week or more. Only then do you add sulfite and fining agents. Do RJS instructions differ from this protocol?
 

tjgaul

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Paul,

It does have a slight amount of sweetness to it and I have to say that I like it. If it dries out some more that would be fine.

Yes - hydrometer to measure SG and I usually take a temp at the same time to correct for variance.

You are correct on the instructions. I use either a Big Mouth Bubbler or the Fermonster with airlock for primary. Since I usually leave the wine in the primary longer than required and get to a fully dry SG reading I tend to go ahead and add the stabilizers and clarifiers right after racking to the carboy, although the instructions are generally as you described. If I rack at SG at or above 1.00 then I will definitely wait a week or more before putting in the additives.

While I am kicking myself for not following protocol and taking an SG at what I thought was the end of primary fermentation, I am happy that the wine tastes good and has plenty of time to sit in the carboy. I would expect to see some renewed fermentation as the basement warms up this summer and the sulphites disseminate.

Tim
 

jgmann67

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The campaign for judge ended... not in my favor. But, on the bright side, I can finally kick off my RQ French Cab.

Will probably drop yeast tomorrow morning after letting the dried grape skins soak overnight.

This is a first time for me working with dried skins. So, any tips would be appreciated.
 

Brian55

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The campaign for judge ended... not in my favor. But, on the bright side, I can finally kick off my RQ French Cab.

Will probably drop yeast tomorrow morning after letting the dried grape skins soak overnight.

This is a first time for me working with dried skins. So, any tips would be appreciated.
I've always treated them the same as the gooey skin kits with excellent results. Drop them into the bag with your oak chips. Much easier than dealing with a bag full of grape jam. I miss the old RJ's kits with the plastic containers, nice and easy to add to the bag, and simply rinse out with water.
 

Boatboy24

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The campaign for judge ended... not in my favor. But, on the bright side, I can finally kick off my RQ French Cab.

Will probably drop yeast tomorrow morning after letting the dried grape skins soak overnight.

This is a first time for me working with dried skins. So, any tips would be appreciated.

Sorry to hear that, Jim. But as you say, there is a bright side. As was already said, just dump 'em in the bag.
 

jgmann67

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The wine is a good 72*. No change in the SG (was hoping it would go up a bit overnight). Dropped the dried skins and oak chips in the bag. I'll do oak cubes (Fr medium+) in finishing.

I'm considering the possibility of doing a 50/50 blend with the RQ French Merlot.
 

jgmann67

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It's been a few days now. My SG is about 1.030+/-. Still a few days from racking. I may rack to a carboy on Friday evening depending on where we are gravity-wise.
 

jgmann67

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Dropping slowly at this point. Not a lot of activity. I may brewbelt it. Going away this weekend and don't really want to leave it go the extra days.

SG this morning was 1.020.
 
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jgmann67

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Dropped to around 1.01 and since I'm going away this weekend, we moved it to a carboy. Very dark and fruity.

Starting to think about oak cubes now.
 

jgmann67

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ImageUploadedByWine Making1496363076.677241.jpg

We're in clearing now. Very dark and full. FG is 0.991. Very happy. Will probably do tannin and French Med+ Oak cubes in the finish.
 

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