WineXpert selection limited italian brunello

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May 24, 2009
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Wanted to try an italian brunello,but can't afford $50+ for a bottle.
Planing to start this kit(as soon as it arrives LOL) has any one made this before? could not find any info in previous posts.
was it made according to instructions, was it tweaked in anyway,minumum /maximum bulk ageing time.
would it be rated close to that $50 bottle etc..
Looking forward to hear results
Jim aka winekit:h
the DOC version of Brunello di Montalcino (DOCG) is Rosso Di Montalcino (DOC), it is aged a shorter preriod of time, and producers sometimes down-classify their Brunellos to Rosso status if they are not developing to what they feel is appropriate for a brunello.

Both are 100% sangiovese - rosso do montalcino is much less expensive. the rosso's only require 6 months in oak and at least one year total aging. brunellos are required at least 2 years in oak and at least 4 months in bottle although 4+ years of age before release is more typical from what i've seen.

i have not yet made this kit, though i just got a call today that my LHBS has one set aside for me. minimum aging time i would say is 18 months based on the varietal alone, 3 years would be divine i bet.

i would not apply any tweaks other than perhaps leaving out the kit oak and using something of higher overall quality during aging (assuming you don't have a barrel), i usually use spirals but beans are probably more popular.

i would not filter this wine and if you had sangiovese grapes, i bet that would be a nice tweak to add a few pounds during primary. :)

sangiovese is known for light body, color and its difficulty in getting full extraction - maceration times of 3-4 weeks is not uncommon as well as cold soaks, fooling around with temps, blending, use of oak, ML in barrel, etc. have not seen this juice so i don't know how the TDS will look, but if you do not have grapeskins, zante currants may be a good alternative. (i am not personally a fan of fruit tweaks other than adding grapes)

also, sangiovese is sort of intended to be a lighter style, so bulking it up too much, to try and be a cabernet or carmenere may be a fool's errand.
I made it last year. It's just starting to show its stuff now. It is one of the better red wines I've made from WE. And no I didn't tweak the kit at all just followed the directions.
italian brunello

Thanks for the input! I had anticipated at least a 1-2 year ageing,but of course wanted to hear from those who had made it. I don't tweak higher end kits,they are good as is(imo).the 7-9 liter kits, due to price, allow for some experimentation,they are usually thin anyway.
The wife and I had a bottle of vdv fume blanc with dinner tonight.Think a very dry pinot gris but with more body (i added liquid from 4 simmered(20min) black ripe bananas and 10 oz gold raisins(soaked overnite then chopped) to 1/2 the kit ,the other half made according to instructions. It has only been in the bottle 3 weeks (bulk aged 2months).
we liked it so much ,plan on making lots more!
I just love wine makin,like cooking,when done you get to drink/ eat it !!
Sometimes a winner, of course a few need more work, thats the challenge,and fun!
thanks for the replys!
Jim aka winekit:pic

I made the first Brunello 2 years ago and just started drinking it. It is very tasty. I never had a store bought one, so I can't compare, but it is a great wine. I'm making another this year and will let it alone for two years. I let my reds age 2 years and they all are delish. You just have to make a lot of wine for a couple of years, it is worth it.
italian brunello

:pic:picThanks Ed,
I really enjoy Australian reds ,black swan & alice white are my favorites. i have an aussie cab & shriraz just started bulk aging on them.
The Italian brunello, I heard, was a great wine,so i decided to try one (kit).
I have country type wines that have aged 2 years now,patience is a necessary virtue in wine making.
your right about getting ahead in the beginning then just maintain a production so to speak.
thanks for the input!
JIm, aka winekit
I have not made this kit. I also have this kit on order and am looking forward to making it.

However, this kit is not a true brunello, as it would cost $500 if it were.
It is brunello "style", meaning it is likely from sangiovese grapes (California?, Washington?, wherever), but put together in a way to taste "like" a brunello.

Still, you should be very happy with this kit, just don't put a bottle of it next to a $80, true brunello and expect them to be comparable.

I would love to have about 10 pounds of sangiovese grapes to add, since the kit does not have a grape pack.... What was Winexpert thinking to not include a grape pack with this kit?

Does anyone know where one could get 10 pounds of sangiovese grapes without having to buy a whole container (5 gallons) of frozen grapes?
Sorry Robie, but I don't agree with you. For the Limited Edition Selection Italian Brunello, the grapes/juices/concentrates will have been sourced from Italy.

Tim V from WE has said that the effort of adding grapes skins to the Limited Edition kits is not viable. Although Cellar Craft and RJS do limited edition grape skin kits, Winexpert and Vineco do not. I guess it's just company philosophy.


I respond with all due respect to you and to everyone else on the forum. I am not trying to be a wise guy.

You could easily be right about the grapes being from Italy.
When I said "California, Washington, wherever" that certainly can include Italy. I know that WineXpert and Mosti, to name only two, do source grapes from Italy.

Speaking of origin, I have seen wine kits (not giving any names here), which are said to be, for example, an Australian Shiraz blah-blah-blah wine kit, that in small print, said the grapes were sourced from California. Turns out the wine was Australian Shiraz blah-blah-blah... "style".

Maybe many of us see something different in our mind when we see the word - brunello. I see - Brunello di Montalcino (DOCG), a specific group of mutants of the sangiovese grape, and from the specific DOCG region of Italy. Others may see any grape from that specific group of mutants of the sangiovese grape as long as it is grown somewhere close by. Wine from these latter grapes could certainly claim to be brunello "style" and you would not get an argument from me. Brunello style and brunello DOCG are not the same

With such a valuable grape as the brunello, wouldn't they want to make wine from it and bottle it themselves? What do you suppose 5 gallons of Brunello di Montalcino grapes would cost? I would guess about $350. (Brehm sells some Napa Cab/Sav grapes for $285 for a 5 gallon frozen pail.) Aging aside, what would you have to charge for a kit that makes 30 bottles of wine from the same DOCG grape that is in a commercial version that costs $75 per bottle?

I am not trying to be a smart guy. I just believe our expectations need to be in line with what we are receiving in a kit. Is the WineXpert Brunello kit capable of making a really great wine? I seriously believe it is and that's why I ordered the kit. Do I believe the kit is composed of true Brunello di Montalcino? No, I don't, and for the price I am not at all disappointed.

All that aside:

I wonder what Tim V. is actually saying? Is he saying that a Crushendo pack of sangiovese grapes would not improve the LE brunello or is he saying it would not be cost affective to add the pack? Sure wish we had a choice, though. I, for one, would pay an extra $25 for the grape pack. IMO, it is too good of a potential wine to NOT include the grape pack, but that's just me.

When is someone going to come out with a grape pack, which can be bought separately? :fsh

I know, separate grape packs sells are not likely to happen.
FWIW - M&M Juicegrape currently has DOCG certified frozen must including Sangiovese from Le Marche (east of tuscany) - prices are about $178/27L pail. M&M has many DOC and DOCG certified frozen musts so i am sure if Sangiovese from Montalcino was available they'd have it.

that being said, i would tend to agree with robie that while this sangiovese in the WE brunello is likely italian fruit, it is not DOCG Brunello di Montalcino - and for arguments sake, brunello di montalcino cannot be made outside of the town of Montalcino anyway. So it is a brunello-style wine likely using italian fruit sourced from another winemaking region of italy.

i plan to start this kit in a little bit and will update the thread with my observations as i go along if it would be helpful for anyone.

if you want to obtain grape packs separately, my advise would be to obtain chilean fruit now - a lug or two (~$20/18lbs) - malbec is my personal choice, hand crush or have it destemmed and crushed by your supplier, divide into freezer bags and freeze until use with red kits... this will ultimately produce a better outcome than a prepacked foil bag of sterilized and cooked grapeskins IMHO. the type of grape doesn't matter as much as the purpose of the skins is to impart tannins, color, etc. merlot makes a good all-purpose type, i use malbec.

No matter what we call it or which way we turn it, the brunello kit should still be a good kit. I am looking forward to starting mine.

I have the same idea as you about making my own grape packs. I'm sure kit makers like us have been doing it for a long time. I was thinking merlot grapes for the packs, since they are somewhat of a neutral flavor profile. Of course it would be better to have sangiovese grapes, but I can't see buying a whole frozen pail of sangiovese grapes, since I don't know when I'll buy another Italian grape kit. Still, merlot grape packs seem like they would be the best one-size-fits-all.

Likely, I'll buy a pal of Brehm frozen merlot grapes, divide them into 10-pound packs, and re-freeze them. Just wish I had a standalone freezer.
By the way, doesn't it take two of those pals to make 6 gallons of finished wine? $178 times 2 = $356. That is about what I would have guessed.

No matter what we call it or which way we turn it, the brunello kit should still be a good kit. I am looking forward to starting mine.

I have the same idea as you about making my own grape packs. I'm sure kit makers like us have been doing it for a long time. I was thinking merlot grapes for the packs, since they are somewhat of a neutral flavor profile. Of course it would be better to have sangiovese grapes, but I can't see buying a whole frozen pail of sangiovese grapes, since I don't know when I'll buy another Italian grape kit. Still, merlot grape packs seem like they would be the best one-size-fits-all.

Likely, I'll buy a pal of Brehm frozen merlot grapes, divide them into 10-pound packs, and re-freeze them. Just wish I had a standalone freezer.

Wow, terrific stuff guys. Just wanted to assure you that newbies like myself are reading this thread with great interest. So where does one go to buy actual frozen merlot grapes?
jdeere - fresh grapes from chile will be available in may - so that will be what i make my grape packs from. you could do it with frozen must, but you'd have the dilemma of what to do with the juice in the bucket and the pricepoint - starting with fresh grape, and destem, lightly hand-crush, then freeze is the simplest way i think.
The Brehm frozen must for reds has already been de-stemmed and crushed.
It comes 5 gallons to a pail. You can get them from several sources, such as You will need two pails to make a good 6 gallon batch of wine.

Using Brehm frozen grapes as an example, 5 gallons of must only makes about 3 to 3.5 gallons of wine (let's say 3.25 gallons for example). Using those same numbers, valid or not..., 27 liters of must would make something like 17.5 liters of wine. So, you would need more than one pail to make a 6 gallon batch of wine. You are right in saying it wouldn't take two "full" pails to make 6 gallons. It would take about 35 liters to make 6 gallons, if there is any relationships between Brehm and Italian musts.
If I'm understanding you all correctly, you are talking about making your own "crushed grape pack" to add to a kit, correct? I assume this is intended to improve the body, tannin, and flavor of a kit that includes just juice, no skins.

So unless I mis-understand I would think you could do several kits like was said above with just 1 5-gal pail of grapes. He is just making a grape-pack to add to his kit juice, not making an entire batch of wine from the frozen must. So you could put just a portion of the frozen grapes into each kit.

Do I have it right? If so, what do you put the grape skins in before adding to your kit juice? Or do you just put them in loose?
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so. things may have got a bit sidetracked here but that's okay.
i brought up the DOCG Sangiovese frozen must from M&M Juicegrape only as an example that one could get frozen must from a DOCG region with certificate and such and that it was not too terribly expensive.

the separate convo was about making your own grapepack to boost mouthfeel, color, depth, character and perhaps tannin in a concentrate-only kit. while this could be done with a frozen must i don't think it is ideal for me. for one, it is difficult to handle a pail of must for other than fermentation - you have to thaw it to break it up into "grape packs", there is a considerable amount of free-run juice that you'd either have to also freeze or figure out a way to use immediately. and so on.

ideally, for me, homemade grape packs are best made from fresh grapes like the chilean varieties available now or the domestic from washington, california, oregon, new york in autumn - a few lugs of fresh grapes can easily be destemmed by hand then lightly crushed (cracked really) to minimize the loss of free-run juice, then conveniently bagged and frozen in sort of pre-measured kit-sized portions.... you could get several gallon bags out of one 18lb lug of grapes and then add one, two or three bags to a kit based upon your needs and objective.

that's how i do it, that's what i'd recommend... frozen must is an alternative, but i think it's more complicated working with wet ingredients (thawed frozen must) rather than mostly dry ones (fresh grapes) and i don't know how the thawing and refreezing of the frozen must will affect it's quality - the grapeskins and pulp may begin to really disintegrate by that point.
Sorry, but I am having a little laugh at your expense right now because I can just see the wheels of your mind turning. And that's because I really picture myself when I first realized I could make my own grape packs... The idea is not really that new, though, kit makers have been doing it long before I came along.

Rawlus is right. Problem is, when you have a hankerin' to get started, the month of May is a long way off (A whole month!!!), and Fall, FALL? that will never come!!! :slp Forget Fall!!!

I just got word from FedX that my WE LE Brunello kit has shipped! Now really, do you think I can wait until May? :ib

(I'll save my will power for patience for when I have to wait 2 years to drink it!!!) :sh

Yes, fresh grapes are best, but I figure I will get a pail of frozen for now, Thaw it, separate it into 5 or 10 pound grape packs, vacuum seal them, and freeze them. I should get several packs out of the 5 gallons of must. I bet I'll have enough first-run juice left over to make a small batch of fresh grape merlot, maybe 2 gallons. (Not a bad idea of making that first batch of fresh grape wine a small one, just in case I screw it up. Regardless, I'll still have my grape packs)

I'm just kidding around, but I am really anxious to get started on that kit. The brunello I had tasted from a kit was terrific, and that kit was not even an LE. I'll bet that even a non-premuim kit of brunello (or most any wine) will improve with an added grape pack.

If I had the time, I would go the fresh grape route, but just not this time around.
LE Brunello WE

I have opened fist bottle yesterday - 6 months old.
I know ... it should be aging more - it won't be :gb
It soooo good. I'm making Vineco KFS Brunello with grapes right now. Cannot wait to compare (sec fermentation).
It is good to hear your kit turned out so well. That's encouraging.

My Brunello is only about 4 months old, now. I haven't tried it, yet. I have already bottled it, though, which is pretty quick for me. I like to bulk age everything for a year or so.

Sh-h-h-h-h-h! I did some unusual experimentation on this kit. Other than to tell I used BM45 yeast, I'm not yet saying what the other experiments were; I'll say when I determine the outcome. (Of course if it really flubs, you will never hear a word about it and I'll disavow any knowledge thereof!!! :n)

I hope what I did will make a significant difference, so it will be worth sharing.

I was hoping W.E. would sell this LE kit again this year.

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