2021 Chardonnay

November 2021

The screwy 2021 grape season and Patrick’s wedding messed up my grape plans — delivery was on his wedding day, and I was fairly certain he’d not be pleased if Eric & I missed it, especially as Eric was both the best man and the minister.

Plan B? We have 2 barrels to bottle and need fresh wine to go in them, so we agreed to purchase Finer Wine Kits for the purpose. We had planned to buy juice buckets with the grape order, so we chose to purchase a white kit for each of us. Mine is this Chardonnay.

Kit Finer Wine Kits Chardonnay
Nutrients Nutrient packet A (must)
Nutrient packet B (yeast starter)
Nutrient packet C (must)
Fermentation Oak 1 packet, no description of species or toast
Yeast Lalvin D47
Sorbate N/A
Fining Agent Kieselsol & Chitosan, provided in kit
Glycerin 6 oz

Prepared the yeast starter by putting the yeast, the yeast starter nutrient pack B, and 1 cup water in a wine bottle. Shook to mix and put a towel over it to keep stuff out.

Poured the concentrate into the fermenter. Rinsed the bag 3 times, adding the water to the fermenter. Topped to 23 liters and stirred well. Added wine nutrient packet #A and fermentation oak.

The concentrate temperature is 58.1 F, the water is 66.4 F, and the must after mixing is 61.4 F. I expect to inoculate tomorrow, with a cooler ferment.

SG 1.092
Temperature of the must rose to 66.1 F, so I inoculated. This ferment may take a couple of weeks. Note that the SG rose 2 degrees. This is not unusual — I stirred well yesterday, but the must continues to integrate over the following hours, so the SG may change a bit. 11/11/2021
SG 1.094
The must fermented like crazy from 1.094 to 1.090 to 1.062 to 0.999 in 4 elapsed days. Racked and put into 19 liter carboy and 4 liter jug to finish. 11/14/2021
SG 0.999
The wine has not cleared at all, it’s still very cloudy. Degassed with a drill-mounted stirring rod and adding kieselsol & chitosan.

A few hours later a fair amount of sediment had already dropped, but the wine did not clear appreciably.

SG 0.998
Racked, combining the 19 liter carboy and 4 liter jug, moving them to a 23 liter carboy. Added 1/4 tsp K-meta. Topped with just a bit more than 1 bottle of commercial Chardonnay.

The wine took about 10 days to clear, and it’s rather dark in the carboy. However, in the glass it looks very nice, and has a nice nose and taste for a 2 month old wine.

SG 0.998
Racked the wine into a 19 liter carboy, adding 1/4 tsp K-meta.

The remaining 4 liters was sparkled using commercial drops made for the purpose. Bottled in 3 champagne bottles and 4 beer bottles, as my remaining champagne bottles accept 29 mm caps, not 26 mm.

SG 0.998
Racked the wine, adding 6 oz glycerin and 1/4 tsp K-meta. Bottled 05/21/2022
SG 0.998

Yield 25 bottles still
5 bottles sparkling
Alcohol 12.8%
at bottling The nose is a nice Chardonnay, but the taste is light. Adding glycerin made a large improvement. We’ll see what it’s like in 6 months.
12/13/2022 A question on WMT forced me to open a bottle … the nose is recognizably Chardonnay. My sense of smell isn’t as good as it use to be, but this one smells good. The taste is solid, strong Chardonnay character with good body. On the Wine Spectator scale, this is an 87, “Very good: a wine with special qualities”, in the middle of this category. Although aged without oak, it’s got a tiny bit of character I’d associate with oak aging — very light seasoning, but no flavoring. It has an unusually fruity finish that lingers on the tongue, not one I’d expect from a Chardonnay.
11/23/2023 I opened the last bottle as cooking wine — some went into the roasting pan with the turkey, while the remainder went into the cook. The wine is at its peak, it’s just starting to decline. This is expected, as whites do not have the lifespan of a heavier red. I’m pleased with this wine and will make it again.

1 Response

  1. November 12, 2021

    […] This blog is a step-by-step description of making a Finer Wine Kits (FWK) Chardonnay according to their directions. Like my Barbera in Detail post, this is a how-to combined with a critique of both the kit and the instructions. I am maintaining my normal wine log in a separate post. […]

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