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RJ Spagnols Unacceptable kit odor in all RJS and WE

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Dans

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After 3 years of aging my WE Eclipse Cab Sav and RJS En Primeur cab sav I can finally make a judgment. Great hobby, a lot of fun but major disappointment at he end. Both, as well as a half of dozen of other Eclipse/EnPrimeur high end Shiraz, Merlot, Pilot Noir... are lacking aroma and flavor of commercial $10+ wines. Even Robert Mondavi Woodbridge Cab Sav is more enjoyable to drink. I barrel aged one EnPrimeur without sorbate. It came out acceptble. Whites are good actually. Fermented and aged wines in in a favorable environment and monitored throughout aging. I do consider my self a beer (brewing beer for the last 5 years) and wine connoisseur and have rather high expectations. I've tried kit wines made by others and my opinion was equally dissapoppointing. If you know anything about wines keep your expectations low. If you already make your kit wines, don't promote them connoiseurs. Lets not fool ourselves. Kit wines will never equal quality commercial wines.
 

jburtner

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What's the odor? Can you describe it and any other points of comparison?

As a reference which commercial wines are you specifically comparing to and finding better and what a out them is better?

Have you only done kit wines or have you done anything like frozen must or fresh grapes that you can also compare and add to your pool of comparison data?

Cheers!
-johann
 

joeswine

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Maybe you need help with your wine making skills?we go up against fresh juice and grapes all the time in competition and usually fare well.Most kits and commercial wine's don't have a lot of noise,not all but most.Last week at our great white wine contest,at the end Johnt brought out his cab and super blend ,WOW! Had it all from fresh grape's,some of the whites,,north veritas good flavors and small nose..True nose is a problem,bit nothing else should be that can't be adjusted.JUST ME.
 

Dans

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I've had a lot of commercial wines in the past. Some of the less refined wines that I really enjoyed were Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot, manage a trois red, J.Lohr Cab Sav (along Mondavi private selection - just ok). Sorry to say this but even even Yellow Tail's Big bold Red beats the top of the line kit wines. Just for reference and to rule out my lack of wine making skills, last fall I purchased cab sav lake County premium grapes, had my daughter crush them....opened a bottle around labor day weekend and the results were definitely satisfying already. Still young but didn't have the unpleasant kit taste and smell (I guess resembling geraniums).
 
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dcbrown73

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That's odd. My Eclipse Shiraz is only 9 months old and it tastes far better than Woodbridge or Yellow Tail product.

I would expect something else is tainting your winemaking process. The higher end kits like Eclipse are compared to $25-$35 bottles. Not the likes of Woodbridge and Yellow tail.
 

Dans

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All my kit wines have the same strange smell and taste that cover up the expected character of the wine. It is very natural to be proud and speak highly of our wines and brews. A lot of my friends loved my wines except for one who'should been a connoisseur for years. Let's not exaggerate here compare kit wines to $30 commercial wines. Maybe $10. If it wasn't for the kit smell my EnPrimeur Cab Sav could be comparable to Mondavi's Private selection.
 

dcbrown73

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Well, to each his own. Taste is a relative thing and "Connoisseur" is nothing more than a self-given title that has little relevance to what I like.

Snobbishness will get you nowhere.
 

pebbles2015

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I haven't been doing this long, 3 years, but my kit wines are much better than yellow tail.
I've heard that the sorbate causes a geranium odor if you try and age the wine more than 2 years. Besides if you don't have residual sugar, you don't need the sorbate.

I agree that opus one, caymus, clos du val, hess, aj pearce are all better than my wines, but I would rather drink my wines than many bottles. I consider my wines "cellar defenders" especially when drinking with non-wino friends.
 

Dans

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I wish we all had some self criticism instead of trying to put home made kit wines on par with high end commercial wines (and calling others names). Wine making is a great hobby as long as one uses fresh grapes.
 

Dans

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I just opened a bottle of WE LE2013 cab/Merlot. Red Mountain WA. Limited edition. Same problem. Same aroma and taste. High on tannins, light body and color, resembling a pinot Noir. I love wines from that region. This one is plain disappointment.
 

Johnd

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I just opened a bottle of WE LE2013 cab/Merlot. Red Mountain WA. Limited edition. Same problem. Same aroma and taste. High on tannins, light body and color, resembling a pinot Noir. I love wines from that region. This one is plain disappointment.
You said you had geranium odor / taste in you kit wines. Did you perhaps put a kit wine with sorbate in it into a barrel you had previously aged a wine that had undergone MLF?

My kit making has been modified to only making high end kits and adding the pressed cake from a same sized grape wine batch. It helps with the nose, as well as tannins and body, you should consider giving it a try...
 

pebbles2015

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I'm going to go out on a limb and say that home winemaking may not be for you. I don't think anyone is trying to pass of their homemade wines as first growth Bordeaux, but are appreciating them for what they are: decent wine that we can be proud to say we made. I live in rural WI and it's very difficult for me to get fresh grapes to make wine. Kits make it possible to enjoy my hobby in the dead of winter. I'm sorry you are so unhappy.
 

Dans

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My problem wines including the LE2013 weren't barrel aged. I didn't cut down on sorbate. Basically followed the recipe. The one I barrel aged still showed some of that smell even though the oak covered some of it. Barrel aged malbec was made with Corrado's juice. No problem there except low quality as expected and slightly over oaked.
 

Johnd

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My problem wines including the LE2013 weren't barrel aged. I didn't cut down on sorbate. Basically followed the recipe. The one I barrel aged still showed some of that smell even though the oak covered some of it. Barrel aged malbec was made with Corrado's juice. No problem there except low quality as expected and slightly over oaked.
I've not noticed a geranium odor, but I detect a similar, consistent taste in all of my kit wines. Guess it's what some call "kit taste". Personally, my kit wines improved noticeably when I quit using sorbate, and took another step forward when I began barrel aging and not drinking them too young. I've got some good ones that I like, some that I don't, others enjoy them more than I. They took yet another step when I started adding pressed skins and bailed out on all chemicals except sulfite. My grape wines are just starting their barrel rotations, and are quite good already, I expect them to surpass the kits, time will tell, but the grape wines cost a lot more to produce.......

I collect and drink a lot of very nice wines, which makes me very picky, but I still enjoy my better kits as "everyday" wines, and the Mrs. likes them too.
 

Dans

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Cutting down on sorbate seems to help. Doesn't make the problem go away though. At least in my case.
 

marathon

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Try making wine with 'long life' pressed grape juice from cartons that have been pasteurized. or cold chill pressed grape juice. You will 'never' get that kit taste. It also appears that there is a percentage of kit wine makers that can pick up the kit taste at any time and others who cannot. I can. All my kit commercial kit wine tastes like how you describe and I have never ever used any additives apart from k-meta as a preservative.
40+ years ago I used to make kit wines. No 'KT' taste then . But the commercial concentration process is different now. Hence my reluctance to continue with them. I happily buy grape juice from the 'Walmarts' of the world and tweak them. No 'KT'.


It would be very interesting if all wine makers who do or do not taste 'KT' could take the 'thiourea taste test'. I would bet that would throw some light upon this rather elusive 'KT' continued debate.

Just opened up a bottle of that Californian 'Barefoot' merlot which is at the cheap end of our extensive UK market. Beats my Kendridge showcase Amarone, bottled for over a year which has 'Kt' and tastes far worse as a wine.
 

AZMDTed

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After 3 years of aging my WE Eclipse Cab Sav and RJS En Primeur cab sav I can finally make a judgment. Great hobby, a lot of fun but major disappointment at he end. Both, as well as a half of dozen of other Eclipse/EnPrimeur high end Shiraz, Merlot, Pilot Noir... are lacking aroma and flavor of commercial $10+ wines. Even Robert Mondavi Woodbridge Cab Sav is more enjoyable to drink. I barrel aged one EnPrimeur without sorbate. It came out acceptble. Whites are good actually. Fermented and aged wines in in a favorable environment and monitored throughout aging. I do consider my self a beer (brewing beer for the last 5 years) and wine connoisseur and have rather high expectations. I've tried kit wines made by others and my opinion was equally dissapoppointing. If you know anything about wines keep your expectations low. If you already make your kit wines, don't promote them connoiseurs. Lets not fool ourselves. Kit wines will never equal quality commercial wines.
I'm curious, are you seeking advice or just telling those of us who enjoy our kit wines to stop fooling ourselves about their quality? An interesting first post.
 

joeswine

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I still think from reading all this that your chemistry is the problem not the kits either that or some how your process is flawed and it's consistent.n o disrespect intended.
 

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