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WineXpert Selection Luna Bianca

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lilvixen

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Aw yeah, finals are done, and the grad semester is over. My goal is to start 3 kits before the spring semester starts. Here we go!

Up first, we have the WE Selection Luna Bianca, as recommended by this forum for an oaky chardonnay. It comes with an f-pack and 120g of toasted oak dust (species not listed). The juice smells great, and it's surprisingly dark in color. Adding the oak made it even darker.

Preliminary OG: 1.092
Added half the f-pack (as suggested by the forum) to have a dry final product instead of off-dry.
Official starting OG: 1.096
Must temp: 70*
Yeast: D47 (rehydrated)

The house is set to 65-67* in the winter, and D47 has a temperature range of 57-68*, so I'll keep an eye on it. I may throw in the EC-1118 in a couple days just to make sure it finishes, since the temperatures are low compared to the kits I made over the summer, and I read a few reviews that D47 gets stuck. I normally sprinkle yeast, so rehydrating adds another variable for me, but with a must temp of 70*, I wanted to give the yeast a good start.

Question: If I decide to pitch the EC-1118, what's the lowest SG of the must that's recommended? I've read if you pitch too close to dry, you can get off-flavors and stuff.

I'm planning on following FineVineWines battonage instructions with this kit, which is why I opted for D47. I assume I can still do this if I also pitch the EC-1118, right?
 

Johnd

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Aw yeah, finals are done, and the grad semester is over. My goal is to start 3 kits before the spring semester starts. Here we go!

Up first, we have the WE Selection Luna Bianca, as recommended by this forum for an oaky chardonnay. It comes with an f-pack and 120g of toasted oak dust (species not listed). The juice smells great, and it's surprisingly dark in color. Adding the oak made it even darker.

Preliminary OG: 1.092
Added half the f-pack (as suggested by the forum) to have a dry final product instead of off-dry.
Official starting OG: 1.096
Must temp: 70*
Yeast: D47 (rehydrated)

The house is set to 65-67* in the winter, and D47 has a temperature range of 57-68*, so I'll keep an eye on it. I may throw in the EC-1118 in a couple days just to make sure it finishes, since the temperatures are low compared to the kits I made over the summer, and I read a few reviews that D47 gets stuck. I normally sprinkle yeast, so rehydrating adds another variable for me, but with a must temp of 70*, I wanted to give the yeast a good start.

Question: If I decide to pitch the EC-1118, what's the lowest SG of the must that's recommended? I've read if you pitch too close to dry, you can get off-flavors and stuff.

I'm planning on following FineVineWines battonage instructions with this kit, which is why I opted for D47. I assume I can still do this if I also pitch the EC-1118, right?
You can, but your temps are in line for the D47, why add the 1118 unless you need to?
 

jgmann67

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My novice opinion: if it sputters (is stuck for a few days) at 1.01 - 1.02, drop the E1118. But, if it's still moving downwards, you should be fine. I'd leave it be.... get a brew belt, a stir daily. I had a wine that slowed to nearly nothing at 1.000 and dropped more yeast - went to zero with no off flavors.

I did this kit and had absolutely no issues. It's good early, but the sorbate fades and it really finds its stride at a year+.
 
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lilvixen

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Thanks, Jim.

I peeked at it this morning, and it's holding at 67*. If I jiggle the bucket to shift the thick layer of oak dust, it fizzes and bloops, so we have ignition. I'll give it a stir and check the SG after work tonight.

I have a Brew Belt, but it's on a Malbec in order to warm it up for one last round of degassing before bottling. I'll keep an eye on the Luna Bianca and throw on the Brew Belt if the D47 slows too much and/or I add the EC1118. I'll definitely use the Brew Belt when fermenting my next kit, the Eclipse Lodi Cab.
 

lilvixen

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I gave it a stir tonight. The thick oak dust cap from this morning has mostly sank, and the must color is a muddy brown. There is a very thin foam cap, and it's fizzing slightly. Temp is down to 66*, SG 1.092.
 

lilvixen

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It's picking up steam: it's at 69* and 1.076. All the oak dust has sank, and there is no foam, only fizz. It also doesn't smell yeasty and stinky like the reds I've made thus far, which I like.
 

lilvixen

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I racked today at 0.997. It smells incredible! Due to sinus issues, I'm awful at discerning specific fruit smells, but it is definitely fruity. As I was racking, I did catch whiffs of banana. Yum. I thiefed a sip before racking and tasted it, and it's going to be good! I'm super excited about this one.

It'll sit in secondary for 10 days, then I'll proceed with the battonage instructions: a dose of kmeta and stir every 3-4 days for one month. After clearing, fining, and stabilizing is complete, I might add some oak cubes.
 

jgmann67

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Brought a bottle of the Luna to Christmas dinner... it got rave reviews. My sister in law couldn't believe it was home made.

I'll do this one again for sure. The only tweak to the kit was dropping half the Fpac in the primary. Otherwise, we did this by the numbers.
 
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lilvixen

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I'm hoping to bottle this this weekend. I haven't tasted it since I racked in Jan, but I assume it'll be fine. I finally got around to designing my own labels (taking advantage of someone else's generosity in creating free vector art), and I'm pretty proud of the look. I'll start using these for all my bottles from here on out.

Whim35Chardonnay.PNG
 

RiverRat

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It'll sit in secondary for 10 days, then I'll proceed with the battonage instructions: a dose of kmeta and stir every 3-4 days for one month. After clearing, fining, and stabilizing is complete, I might add some oak cubes.
Did you follow the above process? What are your reflections upon sampling three months later? I have a Luna going right now - stage 3 - and think I will try bulk aging. Any suggestions as to how long I should let her sit?

I used most of the f-pack in the primary, but did not finish it off in secondary (I was afraid it spoiled). Since she fermented dry, I did not add sorbate. Is it possible to back sweeten while she's bulk aging as long as I add the sorbate first, or is there a cutoff time to back sweeten? If permissible, any thoughts as to the type of sweetener? Honey, perhaps?

Thanks for keeping a running journal - I am really excited about this one!
 

lilvixen

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I bottled the Luna Bianca today, but the printer wasn't playing nice, so I don't have labels yet.

To catch up my notes above from Christmas:
It finished at 0.997 in secondary (this is where most my wines finish, I don't know why). I added 1/4 tsp kmeta on Jan 4 and stirred up the lees from secondary. I continued twice-a-week stirrings for 3 weeks before life got in the way. I then added the kit kmeta and sorbate, the remainder of the fpack that I stored in the freezer, and degassed at 74*. Final SG: 1.000. There was a ton of CO2, and I had my first volcano, as until I added the BrewBelt for degassing, the wine stayed below 67*. My notes say, "very fruity, needs oak." It's not in my notes, but I must have added the kit clarifiers as they aren't with the instructions.

On Feb 5, I racked off the lees and added 2-3 oz M+ American oak cubes and 1/8 tsp kmeta. Today, I racked off the oak and fine lees and added another 1/8 tsp kmeta before bottling.

(Really bad) Tasting notes:
Hubby and I sampled an ounce each after racking, and at 68*F, it was sharp, subtly fruity, and perfectly creamy and buttery. I deemed it good enough to bottle, so I got 29 bottles with about a glass left, which I put in a split in the fridge. We had a half glass each after dinner: the sharpness was gone, and it's definitely better at the right temperature. It's still perfectly buttery and creamy to me, and while there are hints of vanilla and oak, I'd prefer more. Hubby says it's perfect as is.

I haven't made any Chard kits before, so I can't say what, if any, of my tweaks made a difference, but when I make this again, I'll use the same yeast and allow it at least 3 weeks on secondary lees, because I love the resulting mouthfeel. I'll add more oak next time just to have a bit more there, but it's good. It has a faint, similar odor to the few previous kits I've bottled, but the smell dissipates with some breathing time in the glass. It's good to us now, so we'll give it a month to get over bottle shock, and then we'll throw a bottle or two a month into the rotation.
 

lilvixen

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@RiverRat, for the backsweetening, I haven't done that to any of my wines outside of the fpack in this one, so I'll let someone more experienced chime in on that. I believe you can backsweeten at any time as long as you add sorbate.

Regarding bulk aging, from the posts and threads I've read, 3 months of aging is fine for white wines, and after tasting the Luna Bianca before bottling today (started 4 months ago), hubby and I like it now, so while it should continue to get better, it's good now, so we'll slowly add bottles to our rotation after allowing it to recover from bottle shock.
 

lilvixen

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Apparently I don't use my printer as often as I should, and the inks gave out as I was printing. The labels were supposed to be green, but then they turned blue... then pink... then grayscale. I mean... I meant to make my labels rainbow colored because reasons.

IMG_20170402_213333_rs.jpg
 

lilvixen

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We took a chance on a bottle of this tonight, and it's yummy! It didn't pair at all with dinner (whoops), but it was great by itself after dinner. I kept thinking, "oh yeah, I'd buy this again!" Two thumbs up success!
 

jgmann67

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We took a chance on a bottle of this tonight, and it's yummy! It didn't pair at all with dinner (whoops), but it was great by itself after dinner. I kept thinking, "oh yeah, I'd buy this again!" Two thumbs up success!

About how old is your wine? At 6 months, mine was good. At a year, in was very good with no sorbate taste at all. Now there are only a few bottles left and the wine is nearly two years old (I think). Going to savor them.
 

lilvixen

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Jim, I pitched the yeast in mid-Dec, so it's 4 months old. It's only been in the bottle 2 weeks, so I was more worried about bottle shock (although I have no idea what that tastes like) than youth, as the sample glass was good at bottling.

I have no doubts the Luna Bianca will age well, and it'll have plenty of time, since we're predominantly red wine drinkers. I don't see us going through more than a bottle a month, so we'll be able to experience it as it ages, and I'll know how long I should age it when I make this again in a couple years. I'll try to remember to keep up this thread so it's a backup to my notebook.

Despite the Luna Bianca's youth, if I were to do a blind taste test with this next to some of the $8-10 commercial chards I've liked, it'd be a good competitor: the mouthfeel is fantastic, and the fruit is light but intriguing - I'm still sensing banana flavors, which I haven't tasted in a chard before, but I'm totally loving. The Luna Bianca would only lose a couple points from me for the lack of oak flavor compared to the commercial ones, because I like strongly oaked chards, but outside of that, it tastes great as is. I'm very pleased.
 

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