2019 Merlot #2

May 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 clearance.

At the same time, I purchased this kit, a Winexpert Selection Merlot kit, which is a higher quality kit. I’m starting this kit the same day as #1, so in a year we can compare them.

Kit Winexpert Selection Merlot kit
Bentonite 30 g
Yeast Lalvin EC-1118
Oak 60 g French Oak Medium (whatever that means)
Sulfite 4 g
Sorbate 5.5 g
Chitosan 125 ml
Aging Oak 3 oz medium toast Hungarian cubes

Added 2 cups hot tap water to the primary fermenter and sprinkled the bentonite on a bit at a time. Like with Merlot #1, no clumping.

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 then sprinkled yeast on top.

SG 1.092
Racked into carboy. 05/18/2019
SG 1.012
Racked. Stirred for 4 minutes, reversing direction every 30 seconds.

Added sulfite and stirred 1 minute. Added chitosan, stirred 1 minute. This kit does not include Kieselsol for some reason.

Added 3 oz Hungarian oak cubes, medium toast. I want to make this one a bit heavier. I’m going to let this set for a month then test it.

I skipped the sorbate — the wine is bone dry so it is not necessary. I suspect it’s included in all kits because some folks do not let their wine ferment out completely, and the addition of sorbate helps prevent a renewed fermentation in the bottle.

SG 0.996
Racked. Added 1/4 tsp K-meta. Bottled. 09/05/2019
SG 0.995

Yield 27 bottles
Alcohol 13.6%
09/05/2019 Another one that tasted good at bottling time. I think this one needs a year of aging … but I admit I’ll sample it at the 6 month mark.
02/29/2020 I felt the need to crack a bottle to see how this one is developing. Wow! I’m really happy I added the Hungarian oak cubes. The wine is a lot more complex at an early age than expected from a kit wine. Three months was just right. It will be interesting to see how this one develops over the next couple of years.

1 Response

  1. May 13, 2019

    […] 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 […]