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Old 10-08-2007, 01:28 PM   #1
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Default Bulk vs. Bottle Aging and Maturation (long..sorry)

I have a question for the experts on here. I have been a beer brewer for a long time, but for my birthday my wife and her parents got me into the wine arena. In May I started my first two wine kits. One was a Selection International: Italian Barbaresco, and the other was a Selection Original: Johanasburg Reisling. Fermentation, degassing, clearing went great. Both have been in a glass secondary since the end of May. Both cleared beautifully (the Reisling is crystal).

Saturday night we got around to bottling both (thanks to my beatiful wife for helping to fill 60 bottles while I manned the corker). Both tasted ok, but not stellar, and not like a real Reisling or Barbaresco. We chalked it up to both being "young" and underdeveloped. Now that they are in the bottles, how long until they start to come into their own and develope/mature? We were hoping to give some as X-mas gifts this year, but we decided they are too young and don't want people to mis-judge our "yet-to-be-tested" wine making skills (especially since our beers have been a raging success). Is another six months good until we start to drink them? Another year? In any case, realizing now that wines take significantly longer than beers to mature, we picked up two more kits to get going: Selection Original-Barolo, and Selection International Limeted Edition- German Gerwutzaminer.

Also, do wines age differently in bulk than in the bottle? Is doing a bulk aging like we did better before bottle aging? Also, I bottled with #9corks. I planned to leave them upright for 3 days, then store on their sides. Is this correct?

Sorry for this little novel here, but I am still learning the wine-making world.

-Todd

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Old 10-09-2007, 12:01 AM   #2
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I am NOT a wine kit expert (I've only made one and will soon be starting another). I think wine kits vary tremendously in quality and truly you do get what you pay for. High quality winekits have packs of grape skins and the juice. Lower quality kits have juice and concentrate in a package.

Now, that said, I buy the cheap ones! The wine will not be accused of being "fine wine" but it's darn good, like a $12 bottle of commercial wine. Since I buy the cheap "30 day" kits, they are meant to be drunk young. The instructions say you can drink them a month after bottling, but even so they'll be best in 6-12 months. They will not age very well, so should be finished up in two years or so.

All that to say "it depends on the kit". I recommend bottling some very small 375 ml bottles or beer bottles as "testers" to follow their progress. You can also do a google search to see the reviews on those particular kits, if you can find any.

Bulk aging vs. bottle aging doesn't really matter. It will age faster in the bottle, but more evenly in bulk. You're correct on leaving them upright for a few days before laying them down.

Good luck!

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Old 10-09-2007, 12:51 AM   #3
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Two were around $75 kits (Selection Originals) and two were around $100 (Selection Interntaitonal and Limeted Edition). So, I am not sure if those qualify as cheap kits or not. In any case, I think I will age them in the bottle for al least another 6 months. The more I have read online is that these kits really come alive after 12-15 months. We'll see.

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Old 10-09-2007, 01:29 AM   #4
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Well, I paid a little less for mine due to a great sale but those are considered low-ish end kits. Don't get me wrong- that valpollicella is terriffic and I've served it to many people with dinner at my house and they've mentioned that the wine was great.

The "premium" kits run about $150 or so I think. I just can't allow myself to spend that much, even for 30 bottles of wine! I've been very happy with the results of the $70 valpollicella. I used the Winexpert Vinter's Reserve kit. I think my next one is a Selections, but I don't quite remember (I stuck it in the basement until I get an open carboy).

I think NEXT Christmas would be the time to give out those bottles, or if you have very patient friends, this Christmas with a note to open on the Fourth of July. I have patient friends and they are now opening last year's dandelion wines and telling me how great they are. Mine are long gone!

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