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.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Blackberry Wine - Thirteenth Bottle (C6), 22nd May 2015

The Archers, when it makes an effort, can be splendid. I drank this bottle listening to Ed and Emma Grundy get married and the two Grundy brothers reach some sort of peace. Really well written, possibly made better by drinking blackberry wine (delicious) on an empty stomach.

My other activity while drinking was to sort through two boxes of papers which had everything from O Level essays about Romantic Poetry to some of my Medieval Studies MA work. I am keeping much of it, but have thrown out my Latin revision cards. I spent hours on those.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Orange Wine - Third Bottle (A4), 20th-21st May 2015

It was a strings only sectional on Wednesday at WYSO, so I put a bottle of orange wine in the fridge and settled down to watch Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa on the computer. The British do comedy of social embarrassment extremely well, and Alan Partridge is a complete monster. Excellent stuff.

While drinking this wine over two evenings, Claire and I were mostly talking about the house-move, which inches closer, and getting this one into a state where people might consider coming through the front door. There is so much to do, and orange wine could only help.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Vanilla Wine - First Bottle (4), 16th-17th May 2015

Well, this was as disappointing as expected. It is not comically nasty, but it is not one to which I will be rushing to make again. The wine is dry with a hint of bitterness to it. If you concentrate hard there may be a vanilla taste towards the back. Its best attribute is its light pink colour, and it is never a good sign when the wine's greatest aspect is its tint. However, it is not a disaster.

I opened this wine as our first bottle home, back from holiday. Being on holiday is great, but it is always nice to return. And despite dreaming two nights in a row that he had died, Stan survived the cattery, is much better and no longer needs to wear the Collar of Shame.

If you want to see how I made this wine, click here

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Rose Petal Wine - Tenth Bottle (B6), 14th May 2015

I brought this bottle to Suffolk with me because it is Rachel's favourite of mine. We shared it on the last night of the holiday on a day where we had visited both a farmyard barn stuffed with art (including a vast painting by Maggi Hambling with a £70K price tag) and a nuclear power station.

Ann described the wine as "Turkish maidens lying on divan beds scantily clad in harem pants," which I think is perfect.

Maggi Hambling and a £70K painting in Suffolk

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Rhubarb Wine 2015 - The Making Of ....

Our rhubarb plants, particularly that from Claire's grandmother's garden, are doing well this year. This is despite great sections of them having been put in pots in anticipation of the house move (which finally appears to be speeding up a little). It has been a dry, warm spring so far and all our rhubarb has flowered. I understand that this is a Bad Thing, but the flowers are pretty, in a vaguely alien, threatening way.

I pulled and chopped the first two pounds of rhubarb at the beginning of this month and stored it in the freezer. Today, Sunday 17th May, is our first full day back at home after a wonderful week in Suffolk and Claire's first gardening job was to prune the rhubarb. This produced another 2½ lbs, all from her grandmother's plant. Shirley's rhubarb is far pinker so I got most the remainder from that, even though it has put out less growth and I have seen both our cats pissing on it. I washed this rhubarb with care.

All rhubarb - 6 lbs of it - was cut into thin slices and went into the bucket. I reached for the sugar. There was a space on the shelf where the sugar should have been, which is poor planning. I poured 7 pints of boiling water into the bucket, dashed over to Sainsburys to get sugar, returned, put 6 lbs sugar into the bucket and the remaining 7 pints of boiling water.

Rhubarb in bucket with water and yeast (Champagne variety)
 I put the yeast and 2(ish) teaspoons of nutrient in on Monday morning, stirred twice a day until Friday 22 May, and then put the liquid into its demijohns. Using a collander as a scoop in the first stage made this a rapid job. Claire was going to sit in the kitchen and be companionable, but got bored during the sterilisation and rinsing process, so went to bed instead.

The rhubarb having a particularly frothy ferment
I could have used a pint less water for this wine. At this point it is its usual Barbie pink.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Dandelion Wine - First Bottle (3), 12th May 2015

I have left this batch of dandelion two years before sampling. I thought my last batch improved massively on keeping, hence the wait. Even so, I was expecting something bland at best and undrinkable at worst. When I fail I like to do so in a big way, so I shared the bottle between the six of us sharing a cottage in Suffolk. In fact, the wine was Not Bad At All. It was too sweet, but when I changed my mindset to this being a pudding wine, that stopped mattering so much. Nick declared that I had made a sherry and everyone finished their glasses. Only the colour was unfortunate: dark urine.

If you want to see how I made this wine, click here

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Rhubarb & Elderflower Wine - Fourth Bottle (6), 11th May 2015

This bottle came at the end of an excellent 10 mile walk round Snape through forest, field and marsh. We saw lizards and deer and had glorious, properly hot weather. It was a perfect 'holiday' day: relaxing, friendly, outdoors.

We visited Snape Maltings during the walk and other than the gallery I mostly did not enjoy this. Its music shop's best seller seemed to be crime novels. But the day as a whole was fabulous and everyone enjoyed the rhubarb & elderflower wine. Dry and summery.