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, 1 August 2015

Prune & Parsnip - Fifth Bottle (A2), 18th July 2015

Mom and Pop came over for a meal, and what a meal it turned out to be. Claire cooked four wonderful curries: sweet & sour okra, north Indian fish curry, black-eyed bean curry and tinda in kadhi sauce. I don't think I could pick a winner: all were delicious, though the fish curry was the hottest.

Prune & parsnip wine went surprisingly well with the meal. I had expected it to be too sweet, but the sweetness complemented the spicy flavours. And my mother prefers her wine on the sweet side.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Rose Petal Wine 2015 - The Making Of ...

Our rose bush has been splendid this year. It is the last year that we will see it in bloom and this has been its parting gift. Of all the plants in our garden that I would like to take with us, this rose is at the top of the list. It was a wedding present from Betty Rumsby. But it is unmoveable and no cuttings have taken root. I hope future owners will continue to enjoy its summer display.

Throughout June I have been collecting  roses as they wilt and putting them in the freezer. I gave strict instructions to my parents to do the same in their garden. Mom's roses are mostly pink and red, whereas ours are white (apart from one red rose that puts out one flower a year. I snipped this as soon as it was polite to do so.) Therefore, we have an attractive mix.

Mom and Pop came over yesterday, bringing their roses with them. I measured them today (19th July) and between us we picked 12 pints of petals - enough for a triple batch. I put these in my bucket and added 7 lbs 12 oz sugar, 1 litre white grape juice (thanks Waitrose), 500 g of minced sultanas, the juice of 3 oranges and 18 pints of boiling water. The sultanas are a grape juice substitute, but I think will work. The whole mix smells divine.

I put in the yeast late on Sunday evening and I have been worrying all week that this was too soon and there would be no fermentation. However, it all seems to be okay. I also added two teaspoons of nutrient and tannin and one of pectolase. Over the days the petals have been getting increasingly brown, and they have leached their brown into the liquid. I was hoping for something pink and have ended up with dun.

I put the wine into its demijohns on Friday 24th July. It took a while and there was nothing good on the radio to keep me company. I had far too little water - there could easily have been another four pints in the recipe.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Cherry Wine - Final Bottle (3), 18th July 2015

My parents came over to inspect the new house and eat a fish curry, so I thought it would be a suitable time to crack open the last bottle of Cherry wine. This was not entirely selfless: I am hoping that they will report back to Susan Craig and I will get more cherries. Mom thought this one of the best wines I have made. It is delicious - stuffed with cherry flavour.

We drank the bottle before eating, mostly talking about death. Pop's prostate cancer has been confirmed and he now has to make some difficult choices about treatment. It isn't yet aggressive, but left untreated it will kill him. He and Mom are sanguine about it, though Mom was briefly teary as she contemplated life without her soulmate. But both have lived a charmed life so far, and want another ten years or so. At 74, that isn't greedy, is it?

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Blackberry Wine - Fifteenth Bottle (B), 17th July 2015

Today has been one of those rare days where things at work have all gone very well indeed. I came away thinking "That was a Good Day". On the whole I really like my job - it is certainly the best one I have had - but it is unusual for everything to go the way I want.

Claire also had a Good Day working in the garden of the new house and discovering that she was genuinely happy. A bottle of blackberry was the best way to celebrate, with its fizzy richness. And now I am firmly on the bush tea.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Lemon & Lime Wine - Third Bottle (3), 14th-15th July 2015

Claire has specifically asked me to note that this wine tastes like an artisinal floor polish. One made from organic ingredients with great care and attention. Personally I thought it very quaffable - sweet, lemony with a hint of fizz. I considered putting in a touch of gin, but that would have been decadent on a work night.

Neither Tuesday nor Wednesday were remarkable - to the extent that I have forgotten what I did. I am reading two books: Gone Girl for Book Group, which I am not enjoying much, and Brew It Yourself by the Two Thirsty Gardeners, which is genuinely fabulous - and which I will review here properly when I have finished it.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Blackcurrant Wine - Second Bottle (B6), 12th July 2015

Blackcurrant wine at its best is a fabulous flavour, and this bottle did not disappoint. It has a sharp fruit taste and is sophisticated, alcoholic Ribena.

I opened a blackcurrant because I have just located a new source. The new house's back garden has several bushes laden with them and I spent a happy half hour picking the ripest. There are also raspberry canes. Buying a new house may be an expensive way to acquire soft fruit but I'm not complaining.

The wine nearly accompanied a searingly hot chicken chilli cooked by Claire, but we had pretty much finished the bottle by the time we started eating.

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

Friday, 17 July 2015

Gooseberry & Elderflower Wine - Eleventh Bottle (A6), 9th-10th July 2015

What a difference a day makes. On Thursday evening everything was doom and gloom. We had just returned from the new house and Claire asked me to open a bottle of something nasty. Thursday's skeleton in the closet was a leaking pipe that the owner had not mentioned. He had helpfully set up a container to catch the drips and this was entirely full. Claire had a sleepless night. Friday was far, far better. We had a series of workmen round, all of whom said "This is not a disaster" and we are both moving towards feeling excited.

The wine was not nearly as nasty as anticipated - an odd flavour that tastes neither of elderflower or gooseberry.