2018 Vieux Chateau du Roi
October 2018 – This is a medium body red blend. Winexpert does three levels of this French blend — this is the Selection kit, which is their high end. I’ve done this one in the past — it produces a pleasing wine. Not as heavy as I often like, but a good general red.
I checked my records — this is my third time doing this kit … or, well, kits with this name. The first kit I made in 1996 had this name, sold by WineArt (which I believe was purchased by Winexpert). The second in 2011 was from R J Spagnols, and this one is Winexpert. In reading my notes, I see that I didn’t care for the 2011 incarnation. I also note that in 2011 I identified that I liked the R J Spagnols kits less than Winexpert.
Although R J Spagnols’ dessert wines kick butt.
This doesn’t mean I’m writing R J Spagnols off. Kits have improved in the last twenty-two years, so I’ll cut them slack.
|Kit||Winexpert Selection Vieux Chateau du Roi kit|
|Yeast||Lalvin EC-1118 yeast (included in kit)|
|Oak||30 g Premium Oak Dust
30g French Oak Chips
|Added 2 cups hot water to primary – stirred in bentonite.
Added grape bag, rinsing the bag well with water (added to primary). Filled to 5.5 gallons with water. Stirred for 2 minutes, reversing direction every 30 seconds. Tested SG.
Directions say to add oak before checking SG. That is stupid — it just makes a mess in the test jar (which in my case is a wine thief).
Added oak dust, stirring for 1 minutes, reversing at 30 seconds.
Sprinkled yeast on top.
|Racked to carboy.||10/07/2018
|Racked. The wine has been stable for several days, been dropping heavy sediment, indicating fermentation is done. SG is good so time to move on to the next step.
Added sulfite & sorbate, stirred for 4 minutes.
Added kieselsol, stirred for 2 minutes. Racked back into carboy.
|Added chitosan, stirred for 1 minute. This surprised me, as there were 2 packets. Directions mention the possibility of 2 package of kieselsol, but not chitosan.||10/14/2018
|Racked. Had enough sediment buildup to merit it. Added 1/4 tsp potassium metabisulfite.
Topped up with almost a full bottle of commercial pinot noir. As I said, sediment was heavy.
|Added 1/4 tsp Kmeta. Bottled.||11/25/2018
|Winemaking Notes||Diluted the kit to 5.5 gallons instead of 6.|
|10/13/2018||Tomorrow I add the chitosan. According to the instructions, 4 week kits need 14 days for clearance before bottling, 5 week kits need 20 days, 6 week kits need 27 days, and 8 week kits need 41. I think this is a 6 week kit — instructions don’t say and I threw out the box. However, these time frames are minimum values, so I’m thinking I’ll bottle in early December, which is about 6 weeks from now. Extra time in the carboy doesn’t hurt.|
|10/18/2018||I checked online, this is a 6 week kit, so the settling time before bottling should be 27 days (4 weeks). I’m still planning to bottle in early December, so we’ll be looking at 7 to 8 weeks settling.|
|11/25/2018||The color is dark purple — this is a very dark wine. Yet the flavor is fruity, a mixture of cherry and blackberry notes. It will be entertaining to see what it tastes like at the one year mark.|
|02/29/2020||At this point the wine is very drinkable. The fruit is dominant and I’m glad I didn’t add additional oak. While that would also produce a nice flavor, I appreciate the fruitiness this one has.|