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, 31 July 2014

Crab Apple Wine - Second Bottle (B6), 23rd July 2014

We are very nearly on holiday, but perhaps not so close to justify a gin, the remnants of a bottle of Tutti Fruti and the whole of a bottle of crab apple. In my defence Emma was here, so there were three of us. And we had to celebrate the first proper courgette of the season. As usual courgette fortnight will coincide nicely with Rydal week.

The wine was lovely and complemented our meal of fish, fried tomatoes and peppers, griddled courgette, crispy potatoes, white sauce and salad from the garden. It was a good evening.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Christmas Tutti Fruti - Seventh Bottle (B5), 22nd-23rd July 2014

Summer is definitely here, and this is the second one in two years. This isn't what an English July is meant to be about. Where are the clouds and, in particular, where is the drizzle? I started Tuesday evening in the garden with a beer, reading a history of the Ordnance Survey. When Claire suggested a bottle of wine, I needed little persuasion and chose Tutti Fruti as a suitable mid-week bottle. In fact I think the wine has improved somewhat and it may be promoted back to being a weekend drink. It had more depth than I remember.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Strawberry Wine - First Bottle (2), 19th July 2014

Yet another fine batch of strawberry wine. It is dry and light, takes well to being chilled and tastes strongly of strawberries. An unqualified success.

I only had one glass from this bottle, and that was on strict instruction to Claire, Christian and Katie that they leave me some on my return from a concert with the Yorkshire Icon Orchestra. Had I not made this request I suspect I would have come back to an empty bottle.

The concert was at least half an hour too long (some might argue that 10 minutes would have been sufficient) but at least I got to play A Policeman's Lot which is always Good Fun. And I got to stay up till midnight drinking mohitos and eating cheese.

Not a happy one (happy one)
If you want to see how this wine was made, click here

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Julia's Wine - Gooseberry (?) of Unknown Vintage, 19th July 2014

This bottle had neither flavour nor year marked upon it. I checked that it was still liquid and took it with us to Christian and Katie's in Hebden Bridge. They have a wonderful house, looking north over the town and to a hill with dry stone-walled fields and a Victorian mill. If it wasn't for the commute, I would move to Hebden Bridge in an instant.

We drank a toast to Julia, and the wine was really very good. I think it was gooseberry - it had a similar taste to the first of her's that we opened. Sherry-like. This was my second glass of the evening, at which point I staggered off to play in a concert. It was the sort of concert where a pissed bassoonist could only help.

Hebden Bridge Centre

Monday, 21 July 2014

Blackberry Wine - Seventeenth Bottle (C3), 15th July 2014

Perhaps drinking an entire bottle on a Tuesday night is not the best of ideas. But this wine was so good that it was difficult to stop. I can't remember as tasty a blackberry. Claire initially said that I shouldn't open a bottle, but then had a dreadful viola practice so changed her mind. We will both be glad once Friday is over and the Grade 8 becomes a memory.

We drank some of the wine in the garden while Claire planted out what remains of the sad looking tomatoes. I finished my ration while watching a very silly film about killer sheep in New Zealand.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Rhubarb Wine - Third Bottle (B3), 13th July 2014

I do like Rhubarb Wine. It is possibly my favourite white - unless gooseberry goes right (which it very often does not). There is an open, delicate taste to it - and combined with a slight fizz, this makes it a winner.

I made a quiche to go with the wine while Claire was at her final viola lesson before the Grade 8 exam, and - not wishing to blow my own trumpet - I am very good at pastry.

The day as a whole has been one of those lazy Sundays where little is done, but it is all satisfying.

This was not the quiche I made, but has a similar look

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Blackcurrant and Raspberry Wine (mostly) - The Making Of ...

The cats woke me up irritatingly early this morning, Sunday 6th July. Stanley wanted food, and on his second time of asking, forty minutes before the alarm was due to go off, I carried him downstairs and shut him in the front room. Then Aggie started making a fuss. I swore heartily at her but Claire woke and pointed out there was something wrong. Aggie was dragging her leg, but with no noticeable injury. We wonder if she has had a stroke - she is at least 17 - and we will monitor her over the next few days. Now it comes down to it, I realise I am quite fond of Aggie, despite her being the worse of cats.
Anyway, one of my tasks this morning was to clear Julia's freezer of fruit. She had helpfully organised it so that fruit was at the top, vegetables in the middle and meat on the bottom shelf. Except beetroot seemed to be classified as 'fruit'. I checked with Claire to make sure they weren't plums. In total I came away with 4 lbs 2 oz of blackcurrants, 1 lb 2oz raspberries, 12 ½ oz of a blackberry and apple mix and a bag of redcurrants, which Claire is turning into jelly but allowing me ½ oz for the wine.

We then went to Julia's allotment to return her key - another significant moment in saying 'farewell' - and I took a small handfull of whitecurrants (¼ oz) to add to the mix. I calculate that this comes to 6 lbs 1¼ oz fruit - which is enough for a double batch.

The fruit had defrosted by Sunday evening, so I crushed it in its bucket, added 6lbs of sugar and 12 pints of boiling water. The next morning I added the yeast, two teaspoons of nutrient and one of pectolase.

On Saturday morning, 12th July, the wine went into its two demijohns. Ordinarily I would have done this a day or two earlier, but my evenings have been taken up with a less-dreadful-than-expected concert and Book Group. The wine is still bubbling away, though, and is very dark pink in colour, with what looks like a massive sediment forming. Aggie appears to have recovered, so my thoughts of a final visit to the vets were premature.