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WineXpert Which Chardonnay Kit?

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Buffman

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I'd like to make a versatile California Chardonnay. I'm considering a few more expensive kits and one cheaper. I'm looking at a few Selection Estate kits: the Sonoma Dry Creek Valley and the Small Lot British Columbia. The Sonoma Dry Creek Valley is unoaked. The (much) cheaper kit I'm considering is the Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay.

This will be my second wine kit, the first being Cellar Craft Old Vine Zinfandel, and I would appreciate any insights on these kits.
 

MN-winer

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I don't have a comment on the Chardonay's - sorry, but wanted to know what you thought of the CC Old Vines Zin kit that you made? I got that on primary now and it smells nice. I like the grape pack on a kit of this price.

The only suggestion is that you understand that the VR kits are thin and in my opinion not very interesting. I've done two of them and they really have minimally improved over the last year since bottling. My tastes have moved on.
 

Buffman

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Thanks, MN. I'm probably going with one of the Selection options (I think they are larger volumes of juice).

I've been bulk aging the Old Vine Zin since December; hoping for some time to bottle this week. I took a sample this weekend to check the gravity and flavor and its pretty good. It's just a little sharp and dry for my taste (it was my first red wine kit and I may have let it ferment too long before stopping it; I'd monitor it more closely toward the end if I made it again). I'm debating whether to just bottle and let it condition naturally or sweetening it with a simple sugar.
 

phermenter

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I'd like to make a versatile California Chardonnay. I'm considering a few more expensive kits and one cheaper. I'm looking at a few Selection Estate kits: the Sonoma Dry Creek Valley and the Small Lot British Columbia. The Sonoma Dry Creek Valley is unoaked. The (much) cheaper kit I'm considering is the Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay.

This will be my second wine kit, the first being Cellar Craft Old Vine Zinfandel, and I would appreciate any insights on these kits.
I made the Selection Estate Dry Creek and added an oak stave during two months of bulk aging. It's still not in its prime yet, but at about nine months I liked it well enough to have just ordered another batch. I've also enjoyed the Selection International French Chardonnay, but you'll want to give that a year in the bottle.

Personally, I would not make the Vintners Reserve or any of the smaller kits. They're really just not as good. They take just as much time and trouble, and saving a few bucks doesn't seem that important when you're sitting down to dinner and drinking good or just OK wine.

Jim
 

Edward Sacco

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I'd like to make a versatile California Chardonnay. I'm considering a few more expensive kits and one cheaper. I'm looking at a few Selection Estate kits: the Sonoma Dry Creek Valley and the Small Lot British Columbia. The Sonoma Dry Creek Valley is unoaked. The (much) cheaper kit I'm considering is the Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay.

This will be my second wine kit, the first being Cellar Craft Old Vine Zinfandel, and I would appreciate any insights on these kits.
I did the Sonoma dry creek a year and a half ago and its very good. I don't appreciate the oaked chards so i did it by the letter. Around 1 year it was great and we;re still enjoying it. About a case left. Time to start another batch !
God bless, Ed
 

Wade E

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If you like a buttery Chard do the Battonage method, it works pretty good.
 

Buffman

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Thanks, all. I picked up the Select Dry Creek Valley this afternoon. Plus I got a good deal on it from my homebrew shop: $130 (everyplace else wanted $145). Sweet!

Should I use the yeast package that comes with it? It wasn't refrigerated, which causes me a little concern. I'm thinking of subbing it out for a vial or two of White Labs Chardonnay liquid yeast (WLP730).
 

phermenter

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Should I use the yeast package that comes with it? It wasn't refrigerated, which causes me a little concern. I'm thinking of subbing it out for a vial or two of White Labs Chardonnay liquid yeast (WLP730).
The yeast should be fine. I've never worried about room temperature yeast if it's fairly fresh and never had a kit fail to ferment.

By the way, you will love the smell of this stuff as you pour it into the fermenter. It'll really get you looking forward to the wine.

I'd agree with Edward that it's best with some age, but I've found it pretty decent from 6 months on.

On my just-delivered batch, I plan to put five gallons in a carboy with oak for a couple months and bottle the other gallon sans oak. That way I can do a side-by-side test in a year or so and see whether I like it best with or without oak.

Jim
 

Wade E

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Personally I would have bought it at FineVineWines and you could have saved lots of money. Here is the equivalent to that kit for much less. There are actually 4 16 liter kits. 1 18 liter kit, and 1 All Juice . Could have bought one of a few of these kits and another carboy probably to your door for that price
http://www.finevinewines.com/ProdDet.asp?PartNumber=24453
http://www.finevinewines.com/ProdDet.asp?PartNumber=24452
http://www.finevinewines.com/ProdDet.asp?PartNumber=RE016
http://www.finevinewines.com/ProdDet.asp?PartNumber=140289
http://www.finevinewines.com/ProdDet.asp?PartNumber=MMS16
http://www.finevinewines.com/ProdDet.asp?PartNumber=EP2
 

phermenter

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Buffman, I think you made a good choice. I support buying at your local supplier whenever possible. I've heard nothing but good about FineVineWines, but if you don't support your local guy, he may not be there in a couple months.

Also none of the wines Wade suggests are of California origin as you originally requested. Most would have cost you well over the $130 you spent by the time they were delivered from the East Coast.

Jim
 

Wade E

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Shipping isnt that bad but yur right I missed the Cali. pointIve nevr really found any kits to really be area specific as they say though.
 
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