Montagnac Vieux Chateau d’Oc bottled
Today, I bottled my Montagnac Vieux Chateau d’Oc which I’d been bulk aging in carboy since January. I got 30 bottles plus about a half a bottle. I sampled a bit prior to bottling, and though while still a very very young wine, I think this may be my the best wine I’ve made so far. It does have a little of the “chemical” smell to it. I wish I knew what that was, and how to get rid of it. It does have less of it than any other wine I’ve made so far. With this wine, I was very diligent about rinsing all carboys, bottles, etc., after sanitizing, which they tell you not to do, but the sanitizing agent (Potassium meta-bisulfite) is so noxious to me, and so faintly reminiscent of the “chemical” odor and taste that I complain about that, screw it, I’m rinsing that shit out. If I’m going to pay $150 or so for a premium wine kit, I’ll be damned if it gets ruined by K-meta. Of course, it could get ruined by spoiling as a consequence of this, but better that than ruined by K-meta.
I had about a glass of this wine by itself. So far, it is pretty rough. I expect that it will improve greatly with age. Mixing it, rough as it is, half and half with a Tempranillo/cabernet blend commercial wine, I find the blend to be superior to either by themselves. Had this blend tonight with a N.Y. strip steak I grilled, along with “campfire veggies” — a mixture of sliced onions, squash (or zucchini), and potatoes, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper, wrapped in aluminum foil, and tossed on the grill. For that, it was excellent.
So far, with these kit wines, I’ve been disappointed by this “chemical” smell that seems invariably to accompany them. Today, I thought I might have figured it out. I thought that perhaps the plastic bag which the juice comes in might be the problem. I’ve noticed, for instance, that if you leave water sitting around in a (clone of a) Nalgene bottle for awhile, the water picks up a nasty smell, and the chemical smell I’m picking up is not entirely unlike this smell (though it’s not identical.) Well, I had saved the box the juice came in (or rather, failed to throw it away) and the plastic bag was still there, so I gave it a good sniff… not a trace of this “chemical” smell I’m getting from the wine. So, that’s probably not it. I have, now and then, deteced a very faint hint of the same “chemical” smell in commercial wines, but no where nearly as strong as with the kit wines I’ve made. I’m hoping it’s just a matter of aging the wine, though I’m not entirely optimistic. Once the wine is under cork, where is the cause of this “chemical” smell going to go? Through the cork? Unlikely.
The wine kit makers really have to solve this problem.
All my kits so far have been WinExpert kits. I’m going to try an RJ Spagnols “Cellar Classic” kit next. It will be interesting to see how it compares.
Edit: Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. I used shrink wrap capsules on the bottles this time, black with gold trim. I’ve never used them before. They were astonishingly easy to apply. You get a big pot of boiling water, put a capsule over a corked wine bottle, and using your index finger on the edge of it to hold it in place, dip the top of the bottle into the water, and when the top shrinks, let go with your index finger and submerge the rest of the capsule, then remove it from the water. The entire operation takes about 1 second. Literally, a count of “one-one-thousand,” or “one-chimpanzee,” and it’s done. Looks pretty cool too. Not as cool as the foil ones, but I have no idea what it would take to get foil capsules — probably some expensive machinery.