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, 30 October 2014

Peach & Banana Wine - Second Bottle (1), 25th October 2014

I took this bottle to Newcastle for a Rydal committee meeting at Nick Pears' house. This was mostly because Claire finds Peach & Banana disgusting, and the Rydal meeting presented an opportunity to have a bottle without her. She was there at the opening, though, and when Nick asked me to give him a 'slug' she said he might find that preferable. In fact, the drinkers - Jayne, Sabine, Matt Byrne and Nick - all thought the wine entirely drinkable. Not necessarily delicious (and curiously tasting not at all of peach and only a little of banana) but acceptable.

It proved to be a good and drunken night - we averaged on more than a bottle of wine each.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Crab Apple & Strawberry Wine 2014 - The Making Of ...

This is my November wine. Yes, I know that technically it is still October (the 19th to be precise) but Crab Apple & Strawberry is now my regular November brew. The apples, though, are starting to go over and leaving it another fortnight might be too late. So I spent some of yesterday afternoon standing on a garden chair picking apples for both this wine and Claire's crab apple & chilli jelly. She has already made crab apple and roast garlic jelly (click here for the recipe - it is in the comments section) - which is either genius or insane. We try it tonight.*

When I got up this morning I took the strawberries out of the freezer, and by the early afternoon they had all defrosted. My time in between was partially spent making a lemon drizzle cake for tonight's meal with Richard and Linda. It is a total disaster. The middle has sunk and if I had set out to create a brick in cake form I could not have done any better. I am really quite upset about it and I have to present it tonight as pudding.

A brick in cake form
Ingredients in the bucket
Anyway, I mashed the pound of strawberries in the bucket and then washed and sliced the 4 lbs crab apples and put them in too. This was covered in 3 lbs sugar and 6½ pints of boiling water. I then made a fish pie and needed both chocolate and gin to restore any sort of good mood I might have had before.

Next morning I added the yeast and a teaspoon each of pectolase and nutrient, and then left the wine until Friday 24th October. On getting home from work I transferred the liquid into its demijohn. As with crab apple proper, I fished out as many of the sliced crab apples as I could with a collander and then used the 'measuring jug, sieve and funnel' technique.

I thought that after having left the liquid for five days the yeast activity would have died down a little and so filled the demijohn to its top. It became apparent as I was racking my blackberry wine that my assumption was wrong. There was a whole load of froth trying to escape through the air trap. One emergency job with a sterilised teaspoon and turkey baster later I managed to control the situation, and the wine is looking splendid.

*After having tried it, I can assert it is both genius and insane.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Whitecurrant Wine - Second Bottle (5), 19th October 2014

I am very impressed with this wine. It is dry and has distinct similarity to wine made from grapes. I served it to Richard and Linda (well, to Richard, because Linda doesn't drink) on Sunday night when they came round for a meal. Unusually, Claire did most the tidying and I did most the cooking. It is true that Claire's course was more ambitious than either of mine - raised pies filled with chestnut, stilton and mushrooms served with a crab apple & roast garlic jelly. But I did a damn fine fish pie and a lemon drizzle cake that bore more than a passing resemblance to a house brick.

Lemon Drizzle Cake and definitely not a house brick

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Blackberry Wine - Fourth Bottle (C3), 17th October 2014

I haven't had any alcohol since Monday and today is Friday. This is distinctly unusual, but I think I made up for it tonight with a stiff gin and the lion's share of this bottle. It has been a busy, noisy day, though. After a lengthy period of having little to do at work, today was frantic with section 106 agreements, facility letters, contracts to exchange and sales packs to prepare. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and felt that I had earned a drink after my not-quite five mile walk home.

This wine is fabulous - fruity, light and full of blackberry flavour. It has been a good Friday.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Christmas Tutti Fruti - Ninth Bottle (B3), 13th October 2014

Even though it is a Monday, we are still on holiday and therefore drinking a bottle of wine is allowed. In fact, it is almost obligatory. We have spent the day returning from Harpenden in the rain. Happily this has involved sitting on a train rather than driving. There was a long wait at Kings Cross staring at the departure board, which was a little dull. Otherwise I have enjoyed the day off and it was lovely seeing the cousins.

We drank the wine to leftovers and then Doctor Who, where Peter Capaldi seems to be channeling Tom Baker. It was a relatively good bottle, if murky in the final glass. And now I'm drinking bush tea with a cat upon my lap, pleased that I am home.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Elderberry Wine - First Bottle (B2), 12th October 2014

Claire and I stayed with Matt & Anne in Harpenden this weekend and some of Sunday was spent wandering round St Alban's Abbey. What I loved most about this cathedral were the decorated Norman arches and the thirteenth-century wall paintings. However, the highlight of the visit was Sunday evening when all the Hertfordshire cousins, Brian and Janet descended for a meal. It was a raucous, laughter-filled evening and among the bottles emptied was this elderberry. I am very pleased with it; there is no metal to its taste and it is not too sweet. It has a fruity, dark flavour and is a promising vintage.

The Norman arches and wall paintings

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

Friday, 17 October 2014

Rose Petal Wine - Fifth Bottle (A5), 9th October 2014

My Texan half first cousin once removed, Annie, is visiting York on her way home from a farm in Sweden, so I took the opportunity to spend Thursday evening with her and have a splendid meal cooked by my mother thrown in. As I see Annie so rarely - I think this was only the third or fourth time - I took a bottle of Rose Petal as one of my very best. It is a fabulous colour and has a dry, full taste. I can't remember Annie's adjective of choice, but it was unambiguously positive.