Extended Maceration Grapeskin Kit Tasting Update

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This is the final tasting update for the Grapeskin kit maceration I started Back in July of 2016. In case you missed it, check out Part 1 Part 2 and Part 3 Quick recap:

  1. I started two grapeskin wine kits at the same time
  2. I made one according to schedule.
  3. I made another with an extended maceration
  4. I fined and stabilized them, and did a quick taste (not bad!)
  5. I bottled them and set them down to age
  6. Gave them a quick taste on June 2017
  7. Final tasting December of 2017, 18 months after start (you are here).

If you're a visual learner, I recorded all of it into a playlist on Youtube. Check out The Grapeskin Videos

If you've seen all those before, the final tasting video is here

My final thoughts on this experiment

The extended maceration kit came out way ahead in tasting. It had better, more refined tannin, seemed as though it had been cellared for much longer, and generally tasted like a more expensive wine, and it was quite unambiguously superior. The technique was clearly effective in improving the character of a wine made from kits.

18 months and ready to age for another two years

This has to be one of the most satisfying things I've done with a wine kit, for a bunch of reasons. First and foremost, the wine turned out great--both batches were delicious, with the one made according to the instructions being closest to spec (and therefore maybe the better wine because it more closely resembled the marketing description). 

Second, this technique cost nothing to implement. No additions, no extra oak, tannin or fermentables. Nothing but time, and really not much of that, considering that the wine only spent an extra couple of months in contact with the skin material. 

Third, this validates something I've contended for many years: there are no differences between making wine from kits and making wine from fresh fruit. Yep, kits have a few of the first steps done for you, but after that you're free to apply your skill and ingenuity as a winemaker to make them your own, and they'll respond just like any grape wine will. 

I've got three more kits on for extended maceration. This time I'm going to boost the tannins slightly in the primary with Scott Tannin Riche Extra, starting off with a few grams and pushing it further with each batch. I'll be excited to share those roles with you--in another year! 

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