I lucked out and found a RJ Spagnols RQ Cab Franc/Merlot kit for half price at a local BOP winery. I started it 2 weeks ago and yesterday was the first testing day.
The OG was 1.096 and at 14 days it had dropped to .993. I used a brew belt to keep it warm for all of the 14 days. The grape skins sunk after 5 days, so I quit stirring then. I left the toasted oak strip in the whole 14 days. The sample that I pulled off was crystal clear and very dark. Of course, I had to taste it. It was wonderful! Strong flavor, good mouthfeel and even has an aftertaste at this age.
30 days in the secondary per the instructions, but I may go longer. I think this one may turn out very good.
Anyone ever tried this kit?