2019 Vieux Chateau du Roi

May 2019

I stopped in American Brewmaster yesterday to purchase oak cubes, as I decided to add a bit more oak to the merlot I started last week. An R J Spagnols kit — Vieux Chateau du Roi — was on clearance. Of course I had to buy it.

The date on the kit is 03/03/2016 … yeah, it’s 3 years old. The owner was honestly surprised at the date.

I’ve done kits that were 2 years old with excellent results, so I’ll take a chance on this one … at 25% off …

Kit R J Spagnols Grand Cru Vieux Chateau du Roi kit
Bentonite 30 g
Yeast Lalvin EC-1118
Oak oak chip infusion bag
Sulfite 4 g
Sorbate 5.5 g
Kieselsol 1 bag, size unspecified
Chitosan 125 ml

As per instructions, put 1 cup hot water in a large cup and added the oak chip infusion bag.Added 3 cups hot tap water to the primary fermenter and sprinkled the bentonite on a bit at a time. This method is working great — no clumping.

Added contents of grape juice bag. Rinsed it with warm water and added to fermenter. Topped up to 5.5 gallons, as my per usual method. Stirred for 4 minutes with powered stirring rod, reversing direction every 30 seconds.

As per instructions, poured infusion bag into fermenter, then sprinkled yeast on top.

SG 1.082
Racked into carboy. 05/28/2019
SG 1.002
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.

Like with my other reds, I”m skipping the sorbate as it’s unnecessary in a dry wine.

SG 0.997
Racked. Added 1/4 tsp K-meta. Bottled. 09/06/2019
SG 0.996

Yield 27 bottles
Alcohol 11.7%
05/21/2019 This kit is dated 03/03/2016 … so it’s 3 years old. I suppose I’m taking a chance on it, but it’s a good risk. The juice was bright purple and smelled great, so I have great expectations.
09/06/2019 The wine tasted great at bottling time. I think it’s going to be a fast ager, but that’s ok as it gives me something to drink while other wines are aging.
02/29/2020 I had to open a bottle last week as I was curious how quickly this one aged. I was pleasantly surprised as the wine is heavier than expected. Previous kits of this name were lighter bodied. It’s still a relatively fast aging wine, but I expect it will be fine 5 years from now … not that I’m expecting I’ll have any left. Which isn’t a problem, as the plan was to make this one to drink while other reds are aging.
07/16/2020 This wine is 13 months old, been in the bottle a bit over 10 months. Unaerated, it has nice fruit flavor. Aerated? This really brings out the fruit on the finish. It’s also got a pleasant acid bite on the finish, that I like. This is a tough one. It’s too heavy for oily fish like salmon, but the acid bite would go good with fish. I’ll have to experiment as my impression may be wrong.