2019 Merlot #1

May 2019

My niece asked me to make her a merlot kit. American Brewmaster had an R J Spagnols kit on clearance, $58 instead of $80. She decided she liked the price so I purchased it.

At the same time, I purchased a Winexpert Selection merlot kit (See 2019 Merlot #2), which is a higher quality kit. I am starting it at the same time so we can compare the kits.

Kit R J Spagnols Grand Cru Merlot kit
Bentonite 30 g
Yeast Lalvin EC-1118
Oak 33 g
Sulfite 4 g
Sorbate 5.5 g
Kieselsol 1 bag, size not indicated
Chitosan 125 ml

Added 2 cups hot tap water to the primary fermenter, sprinkled a bit of bentonite on top, then stirred. I kept this up, adding only a bit at a time. The result of exercising a bit of patience is no clumping.

Started “tea” of oak in a cup of hot water, which steeps for 10 minutes.

Added contents of grape juice bag. Rinsed it with warm water and added to fermenter. Topped up to 5.5 gallons. Kit calls for 6 gallons, but I typically do 5.5. Stirred for 4 minutes with powered stirring rod, reversing direction every 30 seconds.

Added oak “tea”. Sprinkled yeast on top.

SG 1.093
Racked into carboy. 05/22/2019
SG 0.994
Racked. Stirred for 4 minutes, reversing direction every 30 seconds.

Added sulfite and stirred 1 minute. Added kieselsol, stirred 1 minute. Waited 5 minutes then added chitosan, stirred 1 minute.

SG 0.994
Racked. Added 1/4 tsp K-sulfite. Bottled. 09/21/2019
SG 0.994

Yield 25 bottles
Alcohol 13.5%
09/21/2019 This wine is surprisingly tasty at bottling. It certainly will (and should) benefit from a year’s aging. It will be interesting to taste if any bottles survive to the 2 year mark.
09/30/2019 I delivered the wine to Shannon … she HAD to open a bottle. This bottle agreed with my impression that the wine will be very good given time to age.
06/15/2020 Shannon’s notes: Opened a bottle. It was very tart. The tartness over powered the flavor. Needs to be aged awhile longer.
07/15/2020 Under the advice of my uncle, I opened another bottle. It was less tart. I’m starting to notice more of a flavor. Not quite as smooth as I would like it to be. Still needs to be aged. It’s getting better.
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1 Response

  1. May 21, 2019

    […] – My niece asked me to make her a Merlot kit — we decided on a R J Spagnols kit (see 2019 Merlot #1) that was on […]