So you insist on drinking your kit wine early . . .

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jbo_c

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Thought I’d start a place where we could record suggestions for making a “quick drinking” kit. The question of which kit gets asked a lot, but there are things you can do as well. Here are a few of my notes. Add yours.

1) Lower your expectations a little. Seriously, if it takes a year or two for Gallo, 8 weeks really isn’t going to be enough to make the good stuff.

2). If you enjoy white wine, make a white. In general, they will be ‘ready’ earlier, particularly the lighter styles.

3). If you’re making a red, generally a light, less tannic grape/style will drink better sooner.

4). Use a lower end kit. Generally less grape solids and lower tannins, so will drink better earlier.

5). Use a high end kit anyway(didn’t see that coming, did you?). Most of the high end kits will show as well at 6 months as the lower end kits even though they have the capacity to age and hold longer. So if you have enough self control to have some left, you’ll be drinking better wine in month 7. I’m sure I’ll get resistance on this one, so I’ll say this is based on a study by a large kit manufacturer, though it was done quite a while back. I used to have a copy of a graph depicting it, but it’s long lost.

6). Spend WAYYY more time degassing than the kit directions would lead you to believe is necessary.

7). Then spend a little more time degassing. #1 fault I’ve seen in “early drinkers”.


Somebody else add their own advice . . .
 

Johnd

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I'd say that the biggest two issues are degassing and clearing the wine quickly. If you can effectively degas the wine, the clarifying agents that come with the wine kit will work very well, at least in my experience. My best advice would be to get a good vacuum pump (or AIO) to ensure that the wine is REALLY free of CO2, clear it, then bottle it. I
 

jbo_c

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9). Don’t add (much) extra oak. This is surely the first tweak most people make with kits. But if you put too much, the only solution is time, so if you haven’t dinked around with the oak and have a really good idea what you’re doing, a quick drinker isn’t the best place to experiment.
 

Ajmassa

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Don’t fear o2. Rack it an extra time or two. And higher temps while in bulk. Typical optimal cellar temps of 55°-60° will slow down the aging.
But most importantly - DECANT! Decant it for hours. I noticed a huge difference on young kit with an afternoon of decanting.
 

jbo_c

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That’s interesting advice, AJ. I need to do a blind tasting to see how much difference I think it makes for me.

Thanks.

Jbo
 

kuziwk

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I have a theory that the kits without skins tend to be ready sooner because the tannins starts to polymerize, flavours start to age together before we even start fermenting while it’s in the bladder. The minute we add skins, it’s a whole different ball game hour which takes at least a year to start to show. Far too many times I’ve been disappointed by tasting big skinned kits early, only to be blown away after a year and sometimes a year and a half later. The wines almost seem to taste more tannic as they age with a longer finish, I believe it has something to do with the tannins polymerizing and getting longer compared to the young bitter tannin molecules. Funny though as I don’t taste much if any at all with bitter tannic flavours in young wine, they just don’t taste that tannic at all really. This could be because the fruit which ages out masks The bitter tannins in the beginning, or because I’m so used to all things bitter as I avoid sugar in foods like the plague.
 

Cellar Vader

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But most importantly - DECANT! Decant it for hours. I noticed a huge difference on young kit with an afternoon of decanting.
I'm a little late in noticing this thread, but you hit this right on the head. I made 2 batches of the WE Vintners Reserve Bergamais (now 3 mos old) for my "quick-drinker" while I sit on all my other kits. The difference that (now hold your breath on this one) 24 hours makes after opening a bottle of this stuff is STARK! This has turned out to be a rather good early drinker for me.
 

Ajmassa

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I'm a little late in noticing this thread, but you hit this right on the head. I made 2 batches of the WE Vintners Reserve Bergamais (now 3 mos old) for my "quick-drinker" while I sit on all my other kits. The difference that (now hold your breath on this one) 24 hours makes after opening a bottle of this stuff is STARK! This has turned out to be a rather good early drinker for me.
Exactly! And ya don’t need a refined palate to notice the changes. I had a Tuscan kit was about a year old but still just not there yet. The oak I added overtook the profile and there was still this chemically taste in the finish.
Throw in the decanter. Taste in 30 minutes. Noticeable difference. Few hours? Oak fully mellowed. Unnatural finish faded. Overnight? Oak mellowed to background allowing the wines other characteristics to shine and the weird aftertaste completely gone. Giving a glimpse into how it would taste as it aged

I’ll intentionally leave half drank commercial bottles open on the counter. Especially big reds only a few years old. Often the next night is much better than the first.
 

Cellar Vader

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Exactly! And ya don’t need a refined palate to notice the changes. I had a Tuscan kit was about a year old but still just not there yet. The oak I added overtook the profile and there was still this chemically taste in the finish.
Throw in the decanter. Taste in 30 minutes. Noticeable difference. Few hours? Oak fully mellowed. Unnatural finish faded. Overnight? Oak mellowed to background allowing the wines other characteristics to shine and the weird aftertaste completely gone. Giving a glimpse into how it would taste as it aged

I’ll intentionally leave half drank commercial bottles open on the counter. Especially big reds only a few years old. Often the next night is much better than the first.
BINGO!
 

ali_emamy

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I love red wine, a while ago I started to make red wine from kits as hobby. I made 23 batches of red wine in three years from Winexperts kits, Cellar Craft, RJS, every year about 7-8 kits with different grapes variety; Malbec, Stagg's Leaf Merlot, Barossa Valley Shiraz, Lodi Cab Sav, ...., but now after few years I have stopped to make any more wine from kits, I believe all are same juice, only Winexpert, Cellar Craft... pack them into a box with different name/label, this is totally a scam! Even the store owner that I bought those kits from, confirmed my accusation. Honestly none of my wines in terms of quality, taste etc even is tiny closer to wine that you buy from stores. Every weekend I may open a bottle i.e. 2016 kits, I just dump it into the sink. I believe it's totally a waste. I don't know if you have come to the same conclusion? Just wanted to share with you, no intention for defamation.
 

dmguptill

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Exactly! And ya don’t need a refined palate to notice the changes. I had a Tuscan kit was about a year old but still just not there yet. The oak I added overtook the profile and there was still this chemically taste in the finish.
Throw in the decanter. Taste in 30 minutes. Noticeable difference. Few hours? Oak fully mellowed. Unnatural finish faded. Overnight? Oak mellowed to background allowing the wines other characteristics to shine and the weird aftertaste completely gone. Giving a glimpse into how it would taste as it aged

I’ll intentionally leave half drank commercial bottles open on the counter. Especially big reds only a few years old. Often the next night is much better than the first.
I completely agree with this. Works with acid too. Had a juice bucket wine, at 2 years now, that I added a bit too much acid to. Could taste the tartness when I opened a bottle a few nights ago. Tonight, after being open a few days, totally different wine. The acid faded into balance, and the whole thing smoothed out.
 

winemaker81

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Daroowala

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To make a young cheap wine drinkable I have resorted to fairly aggressive aeration techniques. A blender works really well.
 

Trevor7

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Another choice is a wine aerator. I use one for most reds -- it doesn't always make much difference, but in some cases the before-and-after wines taste completely different.
Aerators were once described to me as "having the ability to turn a $13 bottle of wine into a $16 bottle."
 
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I'm a little late in noticing this thread, but you hit this right on the head. I made 2 batches of the WE Vintners Reserve Bergamais (now 3 mos old) for my "quick-drinker" while I sit on all my other kits. The difference that (now hold your breath on this one) 24 hours makes after opening a bottle of this stuff is STARK! This has turned out to be a rather good early drinker for me.
I noticed the same thing with my Bergamais. I think the problem with mine was over sulfiting, so it makes sense decanting would help with this.
 
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