WineXpert WineXpert Chilean Merlot recommendation

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Ericphotoart

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I plan to ferment one more wine before the end of the year and I was thinking about WineXpert Chilean Merlot. I didn't see the option to get a skin pack when buying this kit. Do you think guys it is a good idea to get extra skin pack from Label Peelers? I don't mind extra aging time if using it. I have only one empty carboy so this was my option. My remaining 9 carboys are full and I intend to keep them full till spring '24. Chilean Merlot will be my first WineXpert kit. I used FWK so far and I am very happy.
 
Viable plan. If I'm thinking of getting a WE then I will double up on the skins pack from LP. In fact, in the fermenter right now is a FWK Meritage & a WE Carmenere. I had LP send an extra skins pack. How can it hurt?
 
I started the Chilean CS yesterday but I'm a little bit confused. I got 2 packs of Oak. One is Oak granular toasted (20g) and i pack of Oak chips medium blend (45g). The instruction says - "If your kit contains Oak Chips or Granular Oak, stir in now. If your kit contains oak cubes, they will be added at a later stage. " I didn't get oak cubes, so should I stir in both packs at the beginning or use oak chips during the aging stage? I stirred in Oak Granular before adding yeast but I'm not sure if this is correct.
 
I started the Chilean CS yesterday but I'm a little bit confused. I got 2 packs of Oak. One is Oak granular toasted (20g) and i pack of Oak chips medium blend (45g). The instruction says - "If your kit contains Oak Chips or Granular Oak, stir in now. If your kit contains oak cubes, they will be added at a later stage. " I didn't get oak cubes, so should I stir in both packs at the beginning or use oak chips during the aging stage? I stirred in Oak Granular before adding yeast but I'm not sure if this is correct.
Yes, add the chips and dust now. Pieces are small and will do their work quickly.

Cubes are much thicker compared to chips. Therefore they work over a longer time, such as bulk aging.
 
Fermentation is starting now so I will wait 24 hours add chips and stir. The instruction is quite generic and I think intended for a few different kits. This part is not totally clear.
 
Oak chips and dust provide sacrificial tannins - this protects the grape tannins during fermentation. You're probably losing some of the intended benefit by waiting. Most recipes I have seen call for the tannin (oak chips and/or powder/dust) to be added up front, before pitching the yeast.

As @Ohio Bob wrote, cubes and staves are intended for aging. Those impart flavors similar to what you would get if you aged in an oak barrel.

You are right that they include one set of instructions for multiple types of kits. The good part is when you get a kit that's missing instructions, you can use the ones you got from the same brand of kit. Ask me how I know this! 😁

Since yours didn't come with oak cubes, you could always buy some cubes and then oak the wine during bulk aging. I generally bulk age longer than the kit instructions say, so I have added my own oak cubes to some kits a few times, with good results.
 
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Thanks everyone. I intend to bulk age for at least 6 months if not longer. During the first racking I will check how this amount of oak influenced the overall taste of the wine and I will decide how to proceed. The fermentation started already but it's not vigorous probably due to a little lower temperature that I usually have. It's 65 F. I will need to increase it a few degrees.
 
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