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, 31 January 2015

Christmas Tutti Fruti - Second Bottle (A6), 25th January 2015

I have the waltz from Swan Lake bouncing around my head. This will need to be banished before I go to sleep. We have played a concert of ballet music today with the Airedale Symphony Orchestra. Though there is lots of rhythm (mostly in three:four) and not much tune for the bassoon, it is good music. We played in Saltaire and the hall was nearly full, but the concert was too long: two and a half hours. Therefore this bottle of wine was a reward and much needed. We polished it off quickly to an ox-cheek stew with dumplings.

I asked Claire what she thought of this wine and she said that it as fine, but she was not moved to write poetry in celebration.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Prune & Parsnip Wine - Tenth Bottle, 24th-25th January 2015

Claire suggested I make a SNAPE* on Saturday and, as it has been some time since I last did one, I agreed. Generally I spend tens of minutes reading through several recipe books. This time I pulled out Delia's Complete Cookery Course and the page virtually fell open at a pork & apple casserole, so that was decided upon. This meant I spent much of Saturday cooking and managed to do this without feeling flustered.

Our wine to accompany was Prune & Parsnip, and it was a good choice. The sweetness and body complemented the creamy apple and onion gravy. We didn't finish the bottle, though, which was partly down to sharing the cider that did not make it into the casserole. This task was saved for Sunday, when my parents were here after an ASO** concert. They each had a sherry-glass full, which was appropriate on the basis of its sherry flavour.

*Something new and possibly exciting

** Airedale Symphony Orchestra

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Orange Wine - Eleventh Bottle (A6), 23rd January 2015

I have, within the last half hour, sneezed loudly eight times in a row. This leaves me feeling light-headed. Or maybe that is the alcohol.

This orange wine is very good indeed. One of its strengths is its colour (a brilliant yellow) and its absolute clarity. The taste is fabulous - and this bottle had an unexplained essence of vanilla.

It has been a typical Friday night at home: I have listened to The Now Show and The Archers. Matt Crawford has been written out, and I am cross about that - he was the best of villains. Claire has cooked a delicious 'The Sick and the Weak', and we have watched QI in an alcoholic fug. This is how Fridays should be.

The best of villains

Monday, 26 January 2015

Gooseberry & Elderflower - Eighth Bottle (B1), 21st-23rd January 2015

This bottle was rather less nasty that expected. It came out fizzy and I anticipated mouse champagne. In fact it was dry very slightly musty but otherwise entirely acceptable. I opened it after a WYSO rehearsal, which was mostly spent on the third movement of Schumman's First Symphony. This is soduko in musical form.

Most of the bottle, though, was drunk on Thursday night while I was watching Broadchurch. The Guardian comment boards are full of criticism, and I understand that this series is entirely unrealistic and a disappointment compared to the first. However, there is such a thing as Dramatic Licence. Proper court procedure would make a dull programme. And the cast is consistently good to keep me watching.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Blackberry Wine - Eighth Bottle (B), 18th January 2015

Claire prepared left-over duck in a marinade of roast garlic, chipotle chillies, balsamic vinegar and cumin seeds, and it was delicious. The meal definitely warranted a bottle of fizzy blackberry wine.

Earlier in the day we had visited Steph Black and Claire chose a beautiful rounded vase as a late birthday present. It has a brittle, black textured exterior which contrasts with a duck egg blue interior that glows in natural light.

I rounded off the day with a near-two hour conversation with Quin. Apparently it is a bit nippy in Nebraska.

All in all, a Good Day.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Elderberry Wine - Fourth Bottle (A6), 17th January 2015

Claire went Waitrose-wards on Friday and came back with a duck for £8. She thinks that they probably had a job-lot to sell. Therefore, Saturday was our alternative to a Sunday Roast, and required something fruity, heavy and red. Elderberry was the only possible flavour and went perfectly. Duck, I think is my favourite meat and we opened a jar of gooseberry ketchup to go with it.

After the meal Claire retired to bed to read and I watched  Mapp & Lucia, which is a wonderful adaptation of the book. Miranda Richardson is superb.

Claire writes: The last glass was distinctly on the lumpy and chewy side.


Saturday, 17 January 2015

Clementine Wine - The Making Of ...

Oh my darling.

Contemplating a new flavour
I had not planned this flavour for January, or at all. It was really ugli fruit that I was after, but my efforts to locate these last week drew a blank. Nowhere in the market sold them, and there were none in the Carribean supermarket that used to be the Fforde Green Pub. I knew that I wanted to start my wine today, 10th January, so was prepared to buy whatever Noshis was selling cheap. My default was either Prune & Parsnip or Orange, but I had hoped that they would have boxes of over-ripe tomatoes for a couple of pounds. When I got there this morning the tomatoes were regular price and the parsnips looked manky. However, Noshis was selling clementines at 15 for £1. Not having made Clementine Wine before, and January being a month for experimentation, I bought thirty, five of which have made it into the fruit bowl. The wine may be vastly similar to Orange but I may be surprised.

Recipes on the internet say that I should use the zest of five clementines, so I made a half-arsed attempt at this. They also say that I should use 10 valencia oranges, and I ignored this entirely.

I peeled 25 clementines and split these into segments (of which there were 223, or was it 228?). I removed the worst of the pith, but mostly didn't bother, and cut each segment in half with scissors. These went into my bucket and I gave them a good mash. I added 2½ lbs sugar and 6½ pints of boiling water.

Next morning, 11 January, I added the yeast (a sauterne variety) and a teaspoon each of nutrient, pectolase and tannin.

I have put this into its demijohn a day earlier than normal, on 14th January, but the fermentation seemed to be slowing down. The first demijohn chosen for the job cracked and broke during the sterilisation process. When I put in the not-quite-boiling water there was a distant whip-like noise and I knew immediately what had happened. It was a very neat break, though. Oh well. I have plenty of spares in the attic.

The liquid went into the replacement demijohn after a WYSO rehearsal (we have started on Mendelssohn's violin concerto) and is dull yellow in colour. The small taste I got was not promising and I fear that this experiment will be unsuccessful.

This was my first attempt to take a photo of the wine in its demijohn