California connoisseur Cabernet/merlot (6 bottle) Review

Discussion in 'Wine & Cider Kit Reviews' started by SloeBrewer, Dec 21, 2012.

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  1. Dec 21, 2012 #1




    Well-Known Member

    Nov 14, 2012
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    This was my first kit wine and it turned out to be very successful. A 6-bottle kit cost me just under £13, so just over £2 a bottle, although I managed to only get four bottles out of mine, as I'll explain.

    Open up the box and there is a plastic bag full of grape concentrate, which needs no added sugar, just ad water and yeast. There are also a number of packets in the box; yeast, bentonite, yeast nutrient (I think), oak granules, stabiliser and so on.

    The instructions are very detailed and split up into the various stages, with an anticipated gravity stated, along with a space to record your actual gravity, at each stage. It is supposed to take 28 days to make, and be ready to drink on bottling (confirmed :cool: ) although it will of course improve with age.

    As this was my first kit and I hadn't calibrated my DJs, I put too much water in at the start, filling to within 2-3 inches of the neck. This bad boy produces masses of foam, which kept erupting through the airlock and I lost a lot of the must :cry: Next time, I'll probably fill to the 4 litre mark and then top up after the most vigorous fermentation is over.

    I thought that as a result of my airlock escapades, I'd managed to get an infection as after a few days a blue/white haze appeared on the surface, looking suspiciously like mould, so I racked to a clean DJ, trying to avoid transferring any of the mould, ending up with just under 4 litres in the new DJ. A day or two later the mould was back on the racked must, but then it vanished, so no idea what was going on there. Whatever it was hasn't led to any "off" flavours.

    Once degassed and stabilised, I left it for a couple of weeks to clear, which is longer than the instructions say, but I had a minor operation and so couldn't bend of lift anything for a few days. After bottling I had a taste and was really impressed! It tastes young, in that it lacks a bit of body, however, it's got a really nice blackcurrant/red fruits flavour and is very drinkable. It will definitely improve with age, if you have the patience, but I don't!

    I'm impressed with this kit, will probably do another 6-bottler before graduating up to a 30-bottle one if we feel we can drink that much of it.
    johnfitzers likes this.

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