This blog is a record of the wine that I make and drink. Each flavour made and each bottle drunk will appear here. You may come to the conclusion that, on the whole, I should be drinking less.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Elderflower Wine - Eighth Bottle (A5), 23rd-24th September 2015

Of the four movements in Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony, it is the second that I love the most. It has a mournful, beautiful melody passed between the orchestra and, of course, the bassoon gets it last. We played this on Wednesday and I emoted as much as I could. The tune has been stuck in my head ever since.

I opened this bottle to Bake Off after WYSO and we finished it on Thursday to an episode of Mad Men. Elderflower is a solid, mid-week bottle: consistent, floral, just a little bit dull.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Julia's Wines - Redcurrant 1995, 20th September 2015

We finally buried Julia. On Sunday her ashes were interred along with those of her mother and Mrs Soots the cat, beneath a weeping lime. It was a glorious morning - crisp early autumn filled with light. Madrigals were sung and Steffan read The Dorking Thigh. We covered Julia's ashes with rose petals, rosemary and a helping of Sam Smith's Ale. At the end of the ceremony a frog hopped its merry way through the grass. Of course I opened a bottle of her wine that evening. It is what she would have wanted.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Elderberry Wine - Tenth Bottle (A4), 18th September 2015

Friday night was mostly noteable for just how exhausted I was for no good reason. I had to have a lie down while listening to The Archers, and I spent the rest of the evening feeling like a zombie. By 9:30 I was in bed, managing a short chapter of my book and three sips of bush tea before slipping into sleep. This did not prevent me from drinking half a bottle of elderberry wine, however. It was a Friday night after all. We ate haggis and mashed potato with the wine, as well as obligatory runner beans from the garden. This will not go down as the most memorable Friday night in the history of Ben, but I hope it is not entirely typical either. (It is.)

Friday, 25 September 2015

Whitecurrant Wine - Fifth Bottle (6), 16th-18th September 2015

Claire and I both had the same experience when drinking this wine. The first taste had distinctly unpleasant overtones, but thereafter they were no longer there. The wine never approached the dizzy heights of 'nice', but it sauntered along the foothills of 'drinkable'. I opened it on Wednesday evening while we watched Bake Off, then finished the last glass on Friday while I was waiting for Claire to finish her gin & tonic so that I could open something better.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Rhubarb & Elderflower Wine - Fifth Bottle (3), 13th September 2015

We wanted something specifically associated with this house to drink in celebration, for today someone has put in an offer to buy it. This means that we no longer have to keep it spotless at all times, make sure the washing up is done and put away, and we can move the cat food back to where it needs to be. So today has been a Good Day. Exhausting too, what with the gardening, wine-making, bread-making and our final tidying session.

The wine was really good, with hints of spice (which is unexplained). We both drank too much, though, because we still had a bottle of rose petal to finish.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Fig Wine 2015 - The Making Of ...

It is a Tuesday evening, 8th September, and I am discombobulated. We put our house on the market yesterday.* Someone has put in an offer today. That wasn't meant to happen. I needed to get used to the idea first. We were meant to be closer to having a house to move into. I'm adept at being disconcerted by what should be good news. At least I have wine-making to distract me.

An aerial view of some figs (and my feet)
The fig wine that I made last year is a surprising 'Hit', so I am trying to repeat that success. Claire and I were in York this weekend where my parents have been collecting and freezing figs from their tree. Mom has built a tool - a long stick with a hook on the end - with which to pick figs. She uses it to grab a branch, pulling it in towards her 5 foot 2 stature, and then plucks the fig from the tree. I wouldn't have had her down as an inventor.

By Sunday I was able to take away 6 lbs or so of figs. Those that were fresh from the tree needed a couple of days to ripen, hence starting the wine tonight. I weighed 5½ lbs of figs and cut these into four pieces per fruit. Those that had been frozen were extremely soft. They went into the bucket and I mashed them into a pulp. I added 3 lbs sugar and 6 pints of boiling water and gave it all a stir. It was a thick, soupy mixture at this stage.

Chopped figs in the bucket
On Wednesday morning I put in the yeast and a teaspoon of everything (nutrient, pectolase, tannin and citric acid). By the evening our buyer had withdrawn, but this turned to be a Good Thing. On Sunday we had another offer. And I thought that our house, with all its stuff and colours, would be a difficult sell.

Figs during fermentation
That evening, 13th September, I transferred the liquid into its demijohn, which I overfilled. The wine made its bid for freedom over night, but I think it is now safely contained. It is a pleasing light purple colour.

*This link will take you to details of our house for sale, until contracts have been exchanged - at which point I imagine the link will no longer work.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Rose Petal Wine - Fourth Bottle (A4), 12th-13th September 2015

We wanted a bottle with a garden theme, and rose petal wine best fits that criterion. Our afternoon was spent at Laura's, taking a large number of plants from her garden with which to stock our new one. They all had frightening Latin names, but all I can remember is Lungwort and Hellebore.

I opened the rose petal wine after the first Music Club of the season, which was a good evening: not a duff performance, with Dawn as the highlight singing French songs. The wine was lovely; sweet and fragrant; but it was late and we only had two glasses each.