California Connoisseur Sauvignon Blanc Review

Discussion in 'Wine & Cider Kit Reviews' started by Barfly99, Jun 16, 2012.

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  1. Jun 16, 2012 #1

    Barfly99

    Barfly99

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    This was my first attempt at wine and only my second attempt at anything home brew. The instructions that came with the kit were foolproof and I followed then to the letter. I started off with an initial S.G. of 1.090 and after going through 27 days of fermenting, degassing, stabilizing, clarification and filtering I ended up with a final S.G. of .992 which I think works out at 13%. The instructions say that it's ready for drinking straight away and it will keep for up to 6 months if stored correctly.

    Now, my LHBS told me that it should make the equivalent of a £10 bottle of wine. This was a bit of a claim when you consider you can get a bottle of Oyster Bay for £9.99 and as it turns out, it's not in the same ball park. I would class it as a decent £5 Sauvignon Blanc, which isn't too bad considering that it cost around £1.50 a bottle to make. The things that let it down slightly are the lack of any noticeable smell when it's poured into the glass and the flavor could do with being a bit stronger. Other than that I'm really pleased with it and I'll make it again. Might hold back some of the grape juice next time until fermentation is complete and then add it back to see if it gives the flavor a bit of a boost.
     
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  2. Jun 16, 2012 #2

    ScottM

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    I might very well be wrong as I'm new to all this stuff myself, but I think the maturing stage of a wine is to allow the flavours to re-develop. If you store it away for a month or 2 you might find it turning out an absolute treat. If you have tried it straight after making it then it's definitely got some improving in it :)
     
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  3. Jun 16, 2012 #3

    Barfly99

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    It's been in the bottle for just over a month now and I don't think it's changed too much from when it was first bottled. I can see the logic in what you're saying though. I always thought that a white would fade after a certain period of time once bottled, whereas a red will improve. I'll keep a few aside and try them once they're about 3 months old and see what difference there is.
     
  4. Jun 17, 2012 #4

    Ken L

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    Unless you want bottle bombs, I would advise against adding grape juice at the end stage.
    If you want a little more strength and flavour, brew it a little short - add slightly less water.
     
  5. Jun 17, 2012 #5

    Llamapup

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    I too am brewing this same wine as my first ever wine kit. Mine is not quite ready to bottle so I'll comment on the wine once it ages a little.

    I agree that the directions were certainly very clear, although mine looks set to complete the process quicker than indicated. It just fermented very quickly indeed, 1080 to .990 in 12 days! I ended up needing to add 50g of sugar as it tasted bone dry when it was ready for clarifying. I do hope I haven't added too much.

    I'll comment on the wine here once it ages a little.

    Thanks

    Llamapup
     
  6. Jun 18, 2012 #6

    Barfly99

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    @ Ken

    Could you add a Camden tab and then add the grape juice? If not, then how much water should I leave out to get a noticeable difference in flavor?

    @ Llamapup

    I'm new to this as well, but I would have waited to see what the final product tasted like before I started adjusting it. I tried a sample of the wine at every stage after fermentation to see how it was going and every time it tasted different. You can get an artificial sweetener to add to your wine if it turns out too dry for your taste.
     
  7. Jun 18, 2012 #7

    Llamapup

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    Thanks for that

    I've heard a few people mention adding artificial sweetner to sweeten their wine. I would prefer to use more conventional means of sweetening my wine. I would worry it would give it a funny tast.

    So what is the benefit of using an artificial sweetener? Is it just so you don't feed the yeast and create an even higher ABV? I thought that white wine yeast became inactive or died at about 12% ABV.

    Fermentation has clearly stopped in my wine. I've racked off all the sediment twice and added the various chemicals so I hope it doesn't start again. That would be a waste.

    Llamapup
     
  8. Jun 18, 2012 #8

    Barfly99

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    I think the artificial sweetener is tried and tested as are the other additives like citric, so I don't think there would be any problems with off tastes (although I've no experience of using them).

    As for what happens to the yeast after it gets to 12% I don't know. That's a question for one of the wiser old sages on here.
     
  9. Jun 18, 2012 #9

    oldstout

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    Interesting review and thanks for sharing :thumb:

    These kits are classed as more or less the top of the range and you sound slightly disappointed with the end result :(
    That's a great shame as you should indeed have a wine that would rival a £10 bottle in my experience ;)

    However, I would agree that it should be left for at least three months to mature, but probably longer :thumb:

    I've done Beaverdale kits which are lower down the price range (and have less grape juice) and have had stunning results :thumb: even fooling friends who are Times Wine club members thinking they were drinking some serious vintage stuff :rofl: :rofl: ;)

    There are two reasons I have never tried a kit as expensive as the CC or Selection range - the initial cost, and the fear that something may go wrong :? :? :? daft considering how much I've done so far, but always that nagging doubt I may just b u g g e r things up and end up pouring a lot of money down the plughole :nono: :nono: :nono:

    Anyhow, I'm digressing :whistle:

    I hope your wine improves over the coming months ;) and just keep on brewing to build yourself a stash.

    Oh, and when you have a stash.......... :whistle:

    Photograph it and add it to one of my threads :lol: :lol: :lol:


    :cheers:
     
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  10. Jun 18, 2012 #10

    ScottM

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    My plan is to backsweeten with sugar when ever I feel the need for something a little less dry. 3tsp of potassium sorbate and 5 crushed campden tablets I think is the going rate per 23L (not sure how much you made).

    Basically I would do the following....

    Syphon into secondary containing 3tsp potassium sorbate and 5 crushed campden tablets and add finings.
    Give a crazy shake to get rid of CO2.
    Leave for a week to settle and clear then syphon through a filter into bottling bucket with some sugar solution (sugar in boiled water) to taste.
    Syphon into bottles.

    :)
     
  11. Jun 18, 2012 #11

    bobsbeer

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    I would say mature for at least 4 months plus before you try it. For sweetening you could add glycerine. It gives it a good mouthfeel as well, but if you like it sweet, then stop the fermentation at around 1.000. But taste it before you add stabilisers as it will be too late after you add pot sorb and campden. But I like my wine dry so tend to leave them all to drop until I get to around .990.
     
  12. Jun 18, 2012 #12

    Barfly99

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    @ Oldstout

    Definitely not disappointed with the wine. It turned out just as I expected and I'll have to make another batch soon as I've only 11 bottles left. Everyone that's tried it can't believe I made it so it was a success. I don't think this particular kit will ever get towards a £10 New Zealand Marlborough though. When I've a bit more experience I'm going to try and tweak it and see where it goes. As for photographing my stash - If you can imagine two wine fermenters each wearing a childs coat then you're already there.

    @ Bobsbeer

    Four months? I have an anxiety attack on the short drive back from the off licence never mind waiting four months. I'll put two aside and try them at Christmas.
     
  13. Jun 18, 2012 #13

    oldstout

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    You'll see a lot of the 'P' word on this forum ;) :lol:

    Patience young barfly :lol: :lol:

    That's why you need to build a stash :cool: ;)

    :thumb:
    :cheers:
     
  14. Aug 6, 2012 #14

    narmour

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    That's a great idea!! why didn't I think of that? Having been relegated to the shed since our move, I may consider picking up a couple of Matalan cheapies. Cheers for that!

    I also brewed this wine, round about February. I would class it as my greatest success. The wine that resulted has fooled some serious white wine lushes into thinking it was something more expensive. I'm not even a fan of whites but I could happily sup away on this one. Planning to brew another to be ready for when the missus is back in the game after the inconvenience of being pregnant. Honestly, it really is selfish of her, my stash is over flowing and she's just not helping with it!
     
  15. Aug 6, 2012 #15

    Stanleythecat

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    I've done this kit twice now. As you mention there was no nose to this wine, Its my wife's favourite wine so I went for the Kenridge Showcase Sauvignon Blanc. This is very good!

    Leo
     
  16. Aug 15, 2012 #16

    Pearlfisher

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    These are about the same price as Beaverdale ,are you thinking of the 'Kenridge' kits?
     
  17. Aug 15, 2012 #17

    ScottM

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    Beaverdale are cheaper than CC and Kenridge, also far less juice in the Beaverdale kits.
     
  18. Aug 15, 2012 #18

    Pearlfisher

    Pearlfisher

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    California Connoiseur can be bought slightly cheaper than Beaverdale kits despite containing about 2 litres more than Beaverdale. :shock:
     
  19. Aug 15, 2012 #19

    ScottM

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    Really? The ones I was looking at were more expensive than Beaverdale.

    I'm clearly looking in all the wrong places :D

    I'm sure there will be cheaper places...

    http://www.beaverdalewinekits.co.uk/bea ... fAodmzgAWg
     
  20. Aug 15, 2012 #20

    Pearlfisher

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