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.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Crab Apple Wine - Third Bottle (B2), 25th-26th August 2014

This is a very good batch of crab apple wine. It has proper apple flavours and is deeper than many of my whites. We started the bottle on Bank Holiday Monday after experiencing the Leeds West Indian Carnival for the first time. It was a colourful, happy, noisy event despite the continual drizzle. 'Understated' and 'subtle' are just two inappropriate words to describe the costumes. People wore dragons and vast orange wings - as much puppet as fancy dress. My favourite was the woman wearing large numbers of bats on flexible poles, dancing above her head. She was followed by a small army of young boys, each wearing their own black and shocking-pink bat costumes.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Rose Petal Wine - Third Bottle (A6), 24th August 2014

I chilled this bottle for a day before drinking and conclude that rose petal wine is better as a result. It has a hint of bitter undertones but is floral taste and dry, fizzy nature counteract those. We drank it on a lazy bank holiday Sunday in which we recycled a year's worth of glass and Claire made plum sauce. The day concluded with Peter Capaldi's first Doctor Who, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The Doctor is safe in his hands.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Elderberry Wine - Eleventh Bottle (B4), 22nd-23rd August 2014

This was the third bottle opened on Friday night while Ros was here, and that was a poor decision. Not because of its taste, which is full and red, but because of Saturday morning's headache. As hangovers go it was mild, but on the throbbing side of noticeable. Having indulged rather too heartily on Friday, we punished ourselves by only drinking what was left in this bottle on Saturday night. So Saturday - my parents' 50th wedding anniversary - was distinctly sober. It meant a good night's sleep, though, and I woke this Sunday morning bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Blackcurrant Wine - First Bottle (5), 22nd August 2014

Ros came over for a meal on Friday and Claire suggested a red. I gave Ros the choice of blackcurrant or elderberry and she chose this. This did not stop us opening the elderberry later in the evening, or polishing off a bottle of Chianti. It was a good evening.

Claire did her usual job of marvellous food. We started with French onion soup - one of the primary reasons I married her, followed by salad with nasturtium petals, then a spicy chicken stew with griddled courgettes and finally a lemon meringue pie. Delicious. The wine was disappointing, however. Too thin, a little dry and without that powerful blackcurrant hit that other vintages have produced.

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

Monday, 25 August 2014

Blackberry Wine - 19th Bottle (C6), 17th-20th August 2014

Yet another fabulous bottle of blackberry wine. Full bramble flavours and as sweet as it needs to be. We drank it to our first roast of the season. The weather has turned autumnal at least a month too soon, and roast chicken with bread sauce and gravy seemed suitable.

The bottle stayed open and undrunk until Wednesday when Rachel came round bearing snails. We are to gastropod-sit her nephew's three giant African land snails while he is on holiday and she is in Cambridge. 'Giant' is a misdescription. 'Smaller-than-garden-variety' would fit better. They are a low maintenance pet.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Rhubarb Wine - Fourth Bottle (B2), 16th-17th August 2014

What a lot of cleaning and tidying I have done this weekend. A wind quintet that I do not know is coming here to rehearse on Thursday and our house is in a state. So I have put things from places they shouldn't be into places they should, scrubbed the floor, dusted, brushed and vacuumed. Oh, and mowed the lawn too. My reward has been rhubarb wine, which is fizzy and light and refreshing. I love the hint of pink to its colour that is only there if you look for it.

Before ...

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Blackcurrant Wine 2014 - The Making Of ...

I have had an experiment forced upon me, all to do with yeast. My last remaining yeast was 'champagne' variety, which is a white wine yeast. On making blackcurrant wine, I had no choice to put that in. However, I have long wondered just how much difference the yeast actually makes. This 'running out of yeast' has coincided with picking 5 lbs 3 oz of blackcurrants in Lindsay's back garden on Sunday, 6 July, which is not quite enough for a double batch of wine. So I have used 3 lbs and put the remainder in the freezer, waiting for our currants to ripen. I will then make another single batch of wine with the same method, but using a red wine yeast.

Picking the fruit was lovely - Dylan (Lindsay's 7 year old) helped enthusiastically and James (her 10 year old) mostly watched. The bushes were at arm height, the sun was shining and we drank blackcurrant & red gooseberry wine to help matters along.

I crushed 3 lbs blackcurrants on Monday evening, 7 July. I boiled 3 lbs sugar dissolved in 6 pints of water, but did this in two lots as my largest pan had strawberries in it at the time, and poured this over the fruit. The yeast and a teaspoon each of nutrient and pectolase were added on Tuesday morning, 8th July. I put it into its demijohn on 12th July.

My plans changed a little at the WYSO concert in Pontefract when Katie told me her mother had many, many blackcurrants going spare and would I like some to make wine? The thoughts of a two batch experiment rapidly turned into a three batch experiment. I collected 3 lbs of fruit from Kaite and started the second batch on Sunday 20th July. The only variation, other than using a Bordeaux yeast, was that I boiled the 3lbs of sugar in 6 pints of water in one go, and I used a different bucket. I added the yeast and chemicals on Monday 21 July in the morning before work and it went into its demijohn on Friday evening, 25th July, before we disappeared for a week to Rydal.

Blackcurrants from Katie
My third batch was started on Wednesday, 13th August. This time the blackcurrants are two-thirds from Lindsay's garden and one-third from ours, and I am using the same quantities of everything as before. The yeast is a Burgundy variety. I put the yeast, nutrient and pectolase in on Thursday morning and transferred the liquid into its demijohn four days later - Monday 18th August.

Watch this space.

Champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundy (in that order)