I started one of these 5 months ago. According to my notes it came with toasted oak sawdust and I added it on Day 1 to my primary.
The RM is aging in a carboy now and I've only tasted it a few times. It doesn't have as much oak flavor as I like, but I think if someone doesn't like much oak it's fine. A couple of weeks ago I got a new 40L Vidai barrel in which I have a CC Amerone. My plan is to start another Red Mountain kit right after Christmas and when it's done fermenting, remove the amerone and barrel both Red Mountains together.
Thanks for the information on the oak. I do like a bit of oak too but don't like it that much from the smaller format stuff. At least with your new barrel you can get the level of oak your looking for. I might be tempted to swap out the oak for cubes myself.
I got the red mountain cab. kit today. And yes it does have 2 types of oak. I will be leaving the oak shavings out and only going with the oak cubes on this kit. I'm not a big fan of all the oak/tannins that shavings give to a wine when their used. If the oak cubes don't give me enough during primary fermentation I'll add another ounce to the wine during bulk aging.
I love this wine. We had opened a bottle from April 2007 last night. One thing, if you let it age you will be happy. Also, I find that it also likes some time to open up. I just got a new Wine Weaver (aerator) and it did the job perfectly.
The chalk flavor is indicative of the Red Mountain Valley. As I understand it, that area was isolated, and flooded for a long time (geological terms, not quite as long as wine terms). The water receded slowly, leaving a residue behind that contributes to that profile.
All of this talk reminds me that I haven't made one of these since 07, and that time if flying. I'll have to add this to my next batch (which will also include the WE Petit Verdot, so it will be a "cabby" bunch.)
Just bottled the Red Mountain kit tonight. I have never had a kit with so much gas. I used my drill and whip followed by a vacuum pump several times. It spent 6 months in the carboy so I was not expecting this.
I have made both the Cab and Syrah. Both have turned out to ge very good. The Cab is two years old and its really good. It does take some time to open up in the decantor. The Syrah is at the 18 month age and it's also going to be great. I would make both kits again.
I know every year of this kit will have its subtlties but It is fun to know what you all think. I am new to this craft so I have already pre-decided not to medel with this kit much in terms of balance ect...that said: Any subtle changes people like to make to this kit? I like oaky, smokey, full wines.
My acid seemed low to start at .42 (i am pretty good with chemistry but not a master with red wine titrations yet so take this with a grain of salt) with a SG of 1.104 (at 8hrs post grape pack addition) and Brix of ~24. I did nothing to adjust...only 3 days into primary now. Kit sounds awesome