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varietal % in kits

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I spoke to Winexpert and was surprised and disappointed at how little of the kit name is actually in there. For example, the Eclipse Ranch 11 Cab Sav I made is only 25% as described with the rest Cab Savs from other areas and countries, plus some other varietals as well. Similar information was given to me for my Eclipse Lodi Old Vines Zin, Select Int'l Brunello, and Sel Int'l Petit Verdot; 30%, 25%, and 20% respectively. They won't give much more info as it is "proprietary".

Seems odd that all kits would just be blends. Perhaps that's why my neighbors at a recent wine tasting I hosted stated that "they all start tasting the same" after awhile.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against a well done blend, but do I go for juice buckets, or even grapes to get pure/nearly pure varietal wines?
 

bkisel

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Or... make fruit/country wine?

[Didn't know that all kits could be blends. After 5 years of making kits, along with country wines, they (the kits) still taste different to me.]
 

cmason1957

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To be perfectly honest, I am surprised that you got the 25% number of of wineExpert, they don't often divulge that kind of information. I am not totally surprised by what they told you. They try to make each year, each kit taste the same and to do that you almost have to blend. To get true varietal knowledge, you probably have to stay with grapes. One year or wine club ordered several varieties from Chile, everybody noticed that all the reds tasted almost the same. Needless to say we did find a different supplier after that.
 

SouthernChemist

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I am a bit surprised you were told detailed information about the kit composition. They also seem rather low. That information would be pretty proprietary, I think, and I know I've seen others comment on how they could not find out the information.

Keep in mind that commercial wines sold at single varietals are not necessarily made from a single varietal. In the USA, at least, there can be small amounts of other varietals that do not even have to be listed.
 
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To be perfectly honest, I am surprised that you got the 25% number of of wineExpert, they don't often divulge that kind of information. I am not totally surprised by what they told you. They try to make each year, each kit taste the same and to do that you almost have to blend. To get true varietal knowledge, you probably have to stay with grapes. One year or wine club ordered several varieties from Chile, everybody noticed that all the reds tasted almost the same. Needless to say we did find a different supplier after that.
Do you think that the fresh juice buckets that come in to my (kinda) local wine kit store from Chile, Italy, or California are not 100% varietals then?
 

pgentile

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Do you think that the fresh juice buckets that come in to my (kinda) local wine kit store from Chile, Italy, or California are not 100% varietals then?
From reading the website of Regina juice from California, it sounds like the juice buckets are most likely blends of some sort. In some cases you might get close to 100% varietal but in most if not all, are a % of blending. Not sure on buckets from chile or italy..
 
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mainshipfred

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Not sure if it is the same in all states but in Virginia as long as the named varietal is 75% it can be called a single varietal. I believe there is another regulation for the same varietal for grapes from different vineyards but I can't remenber what that is.
 

cmason1957

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Not sure if it is the same in all states but in Virginia as long as the named varietal is 75% it can be called a single varietal. I believe there is another regulation for the same varietal for grapes from different vineyards but I can't remenber what that is.
I believe that is a labeling requirement for selling wine and maybe doesn't apply to juice buckets. I do know a couple of wineries that make wine from larger juice buckets and they do not call the resulting wines xyz, since they can't prove to the ttb that they are over 75% of whatever varietal.
 

mainshipfred

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I believe that is a labeling requirement for selling wine and maybe doesn't apply to juice buckets. I do know a couple of wineries that make wine from larger juice buckets and they do not call the resulting wines xyz, since they can't prove to the ttb that they are over 75% of whatever varietal.
I believe you are correct and it does have to deal with selling wine. I got the information from a commercial winemaker.
 

roger80465

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The only place I have found that guarantees 100% of the listed varietal is US Elite. I find the less 'tweaking' you do, the better the result. They also seem to mature faster.
 
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The only place I have found that guarantees 100% of the listed varietal is US Elite. I find the less 'tweaking' you do, the better the result. They also seem to mature faster.
Very interesting. How does the finished product from their kits compare to the major kit makers like Winexpert and RJS? Does it still have the "kit taste" that some people are sensitive to?
 

marathon

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I went down that route of what is in my kit, process. I asked the biggest kit manufacturer to tell me any kit that is a single varietal. They emailed and said none. They would not say what grape types were used or percentages of each. They would not confirm anything about what made up a kit. They were so elusive, that it made me wonder why they all had that kit taste.
The only way anybody is going to get an answer is to get an analysis of the juice. Some European kits do have labels like pure Spanish or Italian grape sourced. I just go to my local UK Walmart equivalent and I can buy fresh pressed chilled juice. One sells a pure merlot, another Spanish etc . Cheaper than a kit eg 3 litres for £3.( Asda/Walmart) The wine produced is fine and better than any kit I have completed, which I now have abandoned.
 

roger80465

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Very interesting. How does the finished product from their kits compare to the major kit makers like Winexpert and RJS? Does it still have the "kit taste" that some people are sensitive to?
Their product is good. They used to sell separate grape skin packs to add to the kits but I don't see them now. I would put these kits in a mid range similar to RJS Cru Select. They seem to be best at about 6 months and if allowed to age a year, they begin to fade. At $84 each, they are a good every day wine.
 
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