Cabernet Franc

This batch was made from a kit of Winexpert Selection Original Series: Cabernet Franc ($110 but I got it on sale for $77!) and French Oak Cubes (Heavy Toast) ($8). I’ve been disappointed with my homemade red wines so far. Some of my problems are due to bad corks, some due to cheap wine kits. Some of my disappointment, I fear, is due to the limitations of the home winemaking tool kit. I highly recommend using high-quality corks for wines that you plan to store for more than three months. I also highly recommend buying $100+ red wine kits if you want a respectable red wine. So far the Winexpert Selection Original Series:Luna Rossa is very promising.

As you can see, with this batch I’m going to experiment with simulating the oak-barrel aging process by way of soaking oak cubes in the finished wine. I plan to add the oak cubes to the wine once it is almost completely clear. Once added I will keep the wine in bulk storage with the cubes for at least two months.

This kit, like other red wine kits, came with some packets of oak chips/sawdust. They are intended to be added to the initial must. I am sure this adds a little oak flavor to the wine, but it seems like the oak chips get filtered out as the must is transferred to the secondary fermenter. So the oak chips are not in contact with the wine for very long. The packaging on these oak cubes states that they should be left in contact with the wine for at least eight weeks. Logically I can see how this would simulate storing the wine in oak barrels. We’ll see.

Status Date Specific Gravity Fluid Temp. Air Temp.
Primary Fermentation 2010-06-06 AM 1.084 90°F 70°F
Secondary Fermentation 2010-06-13 1.000
Clearing 2010-06-27
Second Clearing 2010-07-03 added Oak Cubes
Tertiary Clearing 2010-07-24
Bottling 2010-09-06

Primary Fermentation

Nothing exciting about creating the must for this kit. Business as usual.

Secondary Fermentation

Very limited fermentation happening after transferring to the carboy. It’s probably just about done and will be well into clearing within 7 days.

Secondary Clearing

Racked the wine into a clean carboy and added a packet of heavy toast oak cubes. The package says they need to be in contact with the wine for at least 8 weeks. I’ll probably rack it in another two or three weeks, but after that it’s going to be sitting in the carboy in the closet until September, maybe longer!

Tertiary Clearing

Very little lees at the bottom. A few of the oak cubes sank, surprisingly. Pulled a little off to taste test . . . the oak flavor is very apparent! I have renewed hope in being able to produce a respectable red wine. The wine is definitely more complete with the oak cubes. All it is missing now is some tannin and maybe a little more body.

2 thoughts on “Cabernet Franc”

  1. Have tasted two bottles this week. It’s very good. The oak flavor is bold and very pleasant, but the wine still feels a bit “thin”. A general improvement for my red wines though!

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