Kit five is the RJ Spagnols Cru Select Chlilean Trek—a blend of Malbec, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. This wine must have appealed to many wine makers because it was by far the most popular wine kit of the RJ Spagnols Restricted Quantities program. Maybe this alluring description by the manufacturer had something to do with it: “Opening with dark roasted notes of coffee and chocolate with a hint of blackberries, this wine balances the best of four classic varietals. Fermentation on Cabernet Merlot dried Genuwine Winery Dried Grape skins and French oak completes this monumental taste experience.”
When you the Trek kit the first thing you’ll notice is a large bag of dried grape skins. You’re instructed to rehydrate these in hot water. When I opened the package I noticed grape stems mixed in with the skins. The stems contain a high proportion of the tannin found in grapes so I expect this wine to display more tannins than the Toro I made previously. I put the skins in a large bowl and poured boiling water over them until the bowl was full. I then put them to one side and proceeded to make the wine.
I used Lalvin Bourgovin RC212 yeast in the previous reds I’ve done but this time I decided to go with the Lalvin K1-V1116. This yeast is recommended for aged reds and especially for wines made from concentrate.
The procedure for making the wine was pretty much the same as I outlined in earlier posts with the exception of adding the grape skins. By the time I was ready to add them to the juice they had plumped up nicely from soaking in the hot water. The kit comes with a cheesecloth bag to contain the grape skins while they are in your fermenting bucket. I decided not to use the bag and dumped them in loose. I’ll get more extraction from the skins doing it this way but I’ll have to deal with those pesky grape skins later as they try to clog my siphoning hose. I opted to accept that inconvenience for the possibility of getting a better wine. After the skins were added I pitched the rehydrated yeast and that was it.
This was all done two nights ago so the wine is now well into its fermentation. I’ve been stirring it at least three times a day. I want to keep those skins nice and wet and make sure that I’m getting the best extraction from them.
The Selection Pacifica is bubbling away. Slow but steady. I’m fermenting this at a lower temperature (20º C) than the Trek (27º) so I expect the fermentation to be slower and take longer to finish. The first kits I made are just about ready for filtering now. In my next post I’ll update all five wines that I’ve made so far.