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.

Monday, 13 July 2020

Orange Wine 2017 - Final Bottle (A4), 31st January 2020

So, we are now out of the European Union, though I was in bed and asleep by the time it happened. Presumably there were fireworks, but I am not sorry to have missed them. I coped with the evening by drinking more than I ought, including this bottle of Orange Wine - which was more bitter than I remembered it. Still, that matched my mood.

A photo taken on 30 Jan
The boat is called 'Laughing Gravy'

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Strawberry Wine 2020 - The Making Of...

Kemps Farm - the Pick Your Own
Six weeks ago it was not clear whether I would be able to make strawberry wine this year. With all but essential shops closed and everyone self-isolating to conquer Covid 19, it seemed unlikely that a Pick Your Own farm in Horsforth would be open. However, there has been a relaxing of rules since June, and from 4th July pubs, restaurants and hairdressers were allowed to trade again. Compared to these, squatting in a field, picking strawberries, strikes me as a low risk activity. Safety measures have been put in place, however. Entrance was by ticket only (at a cost of £2, which I do think is a cheek - but I am supporting a local business) and I had to book my slot so that the Farm could stagger its customers.

I chose 10 a.m. on Sunday morning, 5th July, and was the first to arrive (at about ten to). The farmer looked at my baskets, said "You look like a serious picker" and directed me to what he said was the best field. I had it to myself for about the first half hour and this year the fruit was far better than last. It was more plentiful and riper, and I did not feel like I had to fight for each strawberry. 

Picking strawberries for nearly an hour, watching clouds scudding across the blue sky, was a pleasant way to spend Sunday morning - though crouching for that length of time is never comfortable. Of course I picked far more than the 4 lbs I needed for this recipe and 1 lb for a wine later in the year.

Back at home I washed the strawberries twice, hulling them in the process. I put 4 lbs in my bucket, mashed them and poured over 4 pints of boiling water. On Monday I sieved the fruit out, putting this into a separate bowl (the liquid stored temporarily in a demijohn) and covered the fruit in 2 pints of cold water. About an hour later I drained the fruit again - keeping this liquid for the wine - and I put the fruit pulp on the compost.

All liquid went into the bucket with 3 lbs sugar and a teaspoon each of yeast, nutrient, pectolase and tannin. On Friday 10th July it all went into the demijohn and is a pleasing light red.

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Prune & Parsnip Wine 2017 - Ninth Bottle (B2), 6th June 2020

I am feeling glum about my impending 50th birthday. Why, I'm not sure - it certainly has to do with the onward march towards mortality, but I think it also has to do with the circumstances in which we find ourselves. It wasn't as if my birthday would have been a big celebration anyway - I was due to play in an Airedale concert. But with social distancing, it is now going to be a quiet occasion.

We drank a bottle of Prune & Parsnip which helped improve my mood a little and I was persuaded to watch Pitch Perfect by Sooz, Jayne and Sally. Unexpectedly, I didn't loathe it.

Sage flowers, taken on 6 June.

Friday, 10 July 2020

Inca Berry & Raisin Wine - Fourth Bottle (1), 14th-15th May 2020

Whilst it was not an act of responsibility to open a second bottle on Thursday, this is what I did. Claire was low, water is dripping from our ceiling and I had just been told of Renate's death. So not an evening to drink in moderation. 

The wine is an odd one - it is basically alcoholic raisins but not those soaked in brandy that appear at Christmas. Claire summed this bottle up as reminiscent of slightly rank sherry.

I took this on 15 May - and it gives some 
indication of what I do at work.

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Xmas Tutti Fruti 2016 - Ninth Bottle (A4), 29th May 2020

There has been a fifteen month gap between this bottle and the last of this vintage - mostly because I have been keeping it in the crypt. It is really a very good Tutti Fruti indeed: lots of berry flavour and both sharp and rich. We drank it whilst making Ravioli from the Family Cookbook (and keeping the first cousins updated on WhatsApp). I made the pasta and Claire did the rest. Whilst fiddly and time-consuming, it was an excellent meal. Not one for a dinner-party, however.

A photo I took on 29 May.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Apple & Strawberry Wine 2016 - Final Bottle (4), 3rd-4th May 2020

Claire was at work the two nights that I drank this wine and that was partly why I chose it. I had remembered it being thin and uninteresting: my memory had not let me down. My days were excellent, though. On Sunday I walked most of the Meanwood Valley Trail and watched Jesus Christ Superstar. On Monday I walked a circle that took in Kirkstall Abbey. This 'being on holiday' lark is quite good.

Kirkstall Abbey

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Elderberry Wine 2016 - Eleventh Bottle (B6), 17th May 2020

Another fabulous bottle of elderberry wine - this time drunk to a Sunday Roast Leg of Lamb. Claire did the best Yorkshire Puddings that she has ever done. Other than that, though, the day remains a bit of a blur (I am writing this on the Wednesday after). I had an excellent internet Scrabble game with Mom - by leaving my phone line open and hands free, I can chat away and it is nearly as good as being across the table from my mother. The best word of the game was BOUCLE. No, I don't know what it means, either.

I obviously made rhubarb wine
that day - this was a photo I took.