2021 Super Tuscan

November 2021

Eric & I intended to make an Italian blend using 4 lugs of Sangiovese and 1 lug each of different Italian varietals that are not normally blended. It was intended to be an experiment.

When our plans fell through, Plan B was to purchase 3 Super Tuscan kits from Finer Wine Kits, which arrived today.

Their blend is normally Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot (common for Super Tuscan blends). However, their supplier was unable to get Sangiovese (others reported the same problem, no idea why), so they substituted a blend of Grenache and Syrah to reproduce the character of the Sangiovese. So the “Super Tuscan” is all French grapes — Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are from Bordeaux, while Grenache and Syrah are from Rhone.

I have confidence that the folks at Finer Wine Kits and their supplier has done a good job of reproducing, as much as feasible, the character of Sangiovese, and that we’ll get the wine we expect from this.

One of the people on WineMakingTalk (Kraffty) is a photographer who posts interesting pictures. This one was a time-elapsed picture of stars, which I really liked. I asked his permission to use it, and performed a lot of experiments.

Unfortunately, his high quality photograph is dumbed down  (resolution is lowered) by every label making program I tried, so it doesn’t capture the beauty of his original. However, the result is still acceptable.

This one also got a name — I’m NOT good at making up names, but this one popped from the photo, not the wine.


Note: The “fined” version of the wine has the word “fined” in between the dates and the ABV. It provides an indication without being obtrusive.


Note: This batch of wine is made using 3 kits, so all ingredients are tripled, e.g., a Forte kit normally contains 2 grape skin packs, so 6 are listed below.

Fruit 3x Finer Wine Kits Forte Super Tuscan
Yeast 3 tsp Avante — the kit included 3x Lalvin Bourgovin RC 212, but we chose to go with the Avante.
Nutrients 3x Nutrient packet A (must)
3x Nutrient packet B (yeast starter)
3x Nutrient packet C (must)
Maceration Enzyme 3 tsp ScottZyme ColorPro enzyme (this is not included in the kit — I purchased it to use with fresh grapes, but am using it here since I have it)
Grape Skin & Seeds 6x grape skin packs AND 3x seed packs
Muslin Bags 6x bags (for grape skins)
Fermentation Oak 3x 1.5 oz packet toasted oak chips
Aging Oak 3x 1.5 packet toasted oak cubes
Fining Agents kieselsol & chitosan (kits included 3, but I used only one as a test on 1 carboy of wine)
Glycerin 8 oz + 4 oz
K-meta as needed

Prepared the yeast starter by putting 3 tsp Avante and all 3 yeast starter nutrient pack B in a 1.5 liter wine bottle. Added 2 cups water and shook to mix. Placed a a towel over it to keep stuff out. This will be used tomorrow.

Added Scottzyme ColoPro enzyme. Poured the concentrates into the fermenter; all were thick and partially frozen. Rinsed each bag 4 times using a gallon of water each. Added a total of 13.2 gallons of water to the must.

Added wine nutrient packet #A, grape seeds, and fermentation oak. Stirred well using a drill-mounted stirring rod.

Prepared the skin packs — each was dumped into a separate muslin bag, which was tied and dunked in the must. Punched them down so they are well soaked. Covered the fermenter with a towel.

Didn’t bother checking the must temperature — given the state of the concentrate bags, it’s way too cold, but should warm up by tomorrow afternoon. Checked the SG, but there was a lot of foam so didn’t look carefully at it — it appeared to be around 1.100, which is fine.

SG —
Inoculated by pouring the starter down the side of the fermenter to spread it as little as possible.

I didn’t check temperature before inoculating — I checked after inoculation — the room was 67.4 F while the must was 62.8 F. In hindsight I probably should have let the must warm up more, but I have a lot more Avante if this one doesn’t start.

SG 1.100
The fermentation was really fast, down to 1.030 yesterday afternoon. I was supposed to add Nutrient Packet C then, but forgot. So I added it this morning. 11/22/2021
SG 1.015
SG was 1.000 yesterday morning, but we waited until today to rack. Then pressed the skin packs, producing just a bit less than 1.5 liters. The wine is now in a 54 liter demijohn and a 19 liter carboy. 11/24/2021
SG 0.998
Racked, adding 1 tsp K-meta. Like with the Rhone blend, the lees was fine lees (yeast hulls). I expected a lot more sediment, which is why I did not rack before now.

Moved the wine into the barrel.

SG 0.998
Topped the barrel with 2.25 bottles. 07/16/2022
SG 0.998
Topped barrel with 1.25 bottles. Added 1 tsp K-meta. 08/14/2022
SG 0.998
Racked the barrel and homogenized with 2+ other gallons (unoaked wine).

Drained dregs of barrel and small containers into 19 liter carboy. Added 1/4 tsp K-meta, kieselsol, and chitosan. Filled carboy from homogenized wine. This will set for 2 to 4 weeks, then will be racked and bottled.

Added 1/2 tsp K-meta and 8 oz glycerin to the homogenized wine. Bottled.

SG 0.995
Racked the wine and added 1/4 tsp K-meta. Reserved 3 bottles for making Port, and added 4 oz glycerin to the remainder. Bottled. 11/27/2022
SG 0.995

Yield 55 bottles unfined wine

22 bottles fined wine + 3 bottles reserved for making Port.

Alcohol 14.3%
11/27/2022 As with the Rhone, the fined wine had a bit more sediment than I expected. The wine tastes good, and will be compared against the unfined in April or May.
02/26/2024 I’m on a roll, so I poured 2 glasses, the second using a duck aerator.

Unaerated: The color is pure ink. I used Scottzyme Color Pro maceration enzyme, and it works fine on skin packs. This one has a lot of berry fruit up front — some might even think it sweet, although it’s bone dry. There’s tannin on the middle of the tongue in the finish. There’s a bit of harshness in the aftertaste I cannot place.

Aerated: The fruit is just as prominent, but it’s different — I’d say black raspberry that fades into a strawberry. As I noted with the Meritage Plus tasting, the fruit is more distinctive with aeration. Tannin is a hint in the aftertaste, a seasoning, not a flavoring. There’s a hint of an acid bite that never materializes; it’s tantalizing.

This is more than I’d expect from a kit, but I used Color Pro and fermentation oak (both of which enhance color and body), and barrel aged for 9 months, so it’s not a typical kit.

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