I didn't know one day I would be making Merlot! I always said, There are so many amazing Merlot wines you can buy for $20, $30 at stores that making another one doesn't make sense. It's different with country wines so I was making country wines only. Yesterday I ordered 2 gallons Merlot concentrate from Colomafrozen and it is arriving tomorrow. My another try with Colomafrozen and hopefully it is not gonna be stuck as my fruit concentrates. I know oak chips or cubes are used frequently because Merlot is low in tannin but neither I nor my wife like oak flavor so I just plan to add 1 tsp of tannin to 6 gallon must. I will shoot for pH 3.2 - 3.4. I found a thread where someone says about pretty high fermentation temperature, above 80 so I will try to accomplish this too. Any comments and tips are greatly appreciated.
You can certainly make Merlot!
Some thoughts on your batch:
-I like to use oak during fermentation to act as a sacrificial tannin, like either as dust or shredded.
-You can use light-toast oak if you don't want an oaky flavor.
-For powdered tannins, I use those during aging.
-Likely no need to add heat. Your selected yeast will have a range and it is fine as long as you are in that range.
-I like RC212 yeast for my reds.
If you get to the around $100 point all in with your chemicals, you may want to consider a Finer Wine Kit Tavola Merlot, as Label Peelers has them on sale right now for between $105-116 depending on the skins you choose:
Buy Merlot Finer Wine Kit Price: $74.99 Label Peelers is proud to offer the Finer Wine Kits brand of products. SKU: FWK-MER in NEW Condition.
-Has the RC212 yeast
-Doesn't require MLF
-Comes with superkleer
-Comes with skins, you can select none, one, two, three, or four; I'd either do one or two
-Comes with seeds
-Comes with oak
-Comes with all the chemicals you'll need
-Comes with super detailed instructions (Publish Online
-Comes with yeast starter
-Has these video instructions: Merlot Forte Finer Wine Kit
I have made and drank two batches of Sauvignon Blanc that are totally delicious. In progress are (1) Forte Pinot Noir, (1) Forte Cabernet Sauvignon, (1) Forte Bordeaux Blend, (1) Forte Super Tuscan, (2) Sauvignon Blancs, and (2) Grenache Roses. All are really good!
Just my two cents, hope your batch goes very well!