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, 26 November 2020

Blackcurrant Wine 2019 - Fifth Bottle (A6), 20th November 2020

Friday nights need a bottle of wine and this one more than most. It had not been a bad day at all - but it was one of intense concentration. I had spent most of the day drafting a difficult report on title and by six o'clock my head was spinning. Blackcurrant wine reversed the direction of that spin - it is an excellent bottle. We spent much of the evening watching the pilot episode of ER. I had never seen ER, and was a little resistant, fearing it might be dull and dated. Instead, I was gripped throughout.

Chimneys in Leeds (actually taken on 21 November)

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Elderflower, Mint & Rhubarb 2019 - Third Bottle (6), 18th-19th November 2020

This week I have been Chief Cook and that is an unusual state of affairs. On Wednesday it was "Hot Tomatoey Garlicky Seabass" and on Thursday it was Lentil Curry (and this time I remembered the poached egg). Over the last eight months or so, where our world has narrowed, we have expanded our standard food repertoire beyond the usual five meals, and this is a Good Thing. The wine was also fine - a delightful colour and a refreshing taste. The current Archers' storyline of Alice's desperate alcoholism, done in the most traumatic fashion, only gave me slight pause before I opened this bottle.

A fabulous sunrise taken earlier in the week

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Rhubarb Wine 2017 - Fourteenth Bottle (A5), 15th-17th November 2020

I've done it again - left a bottle many days before writing about it. Always a mistake. As far as I can remember, it was a decent wine and we drank it to Tuna Surprise. The highlight of Sunday evening was chatting to Todd & Anne via Zoom. If there is one good thing about this pandemic it is that we have spoken to a greater number of distant friends and family more often than we might. Though going into central Leeds would now be an adventure, chatting to someone in Oregon feels normal. Because of the time difference I flaked out somewhat earlier than ideal - and we hadn't even finished the bottle. That was done on Tuesday to The Great British Bake Off's semi-final.

Taken on an 8 mile walk done on Sunday

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Rose Petal & Orange 2018 - Third Bottle (3), 14th November 2020

I spent Saturday feeling out of sorts. The day was dank and little could lift my mood. Whilst we are being told that there is a vaccine on the horizon, I shall believe it when I see it. A bottle of Rose Petal & Orange helped - it is not as good as 2019's batch, but actually it is not half bad. Perhaps both flavours are too strong, but only slightly - and it goes well with stir-fried Kim Chi. We then watched A Knight's Tale which is gloriously anachronistic and just a huge amount of fun. That helped too.

Playing around with my camera on 14 November

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Prune & Parsnip Wine 2019 - Seventh Bottle (A2), 12th-13th November 2020

I don't know where all my prune & parsnip wine has gone. This was the only bottle I could find of at least eight dotted around the house. I have yet to open up the crypt - so maybe they are down there. This particular bottle was my only 1 litre vessel - so drinking it over two days was sensible. Friday, though, began with Margaritas and a Zoom catch-up with Catherine - who might have mumps. Having a notifiable disease that is not Covid 19 must be quite the privilege. 

My day at work had been busy and fraught, and it ended on a downer. I had made a foolish mistake months ago and only realised on Friday. This prevented one of our house-buyers moving in. Their weekend will have been ruined, and it was my fault.

Taken on 12th November - a park close to us

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Jam Wine 2020 - The Making Of...

Many years ago I spotted that CJJ Berry had a recipe for Jam Wine. I filed this information away under the heading "Odd and Not Useful". Over the last few months I have watched our 'Home Made Condiments' cupboard fill to capacity and started to wonder whether I should dust down that recipe. Also, stored in the attic, were a collection of jars that we brought with us when moving house in 2015 and which have lurked there ever since.

Jars found in the attic

Claire was fully on board with this wine - it solved the problem of all those jars, but first of all we needed to play "Jam or Chutney". This involved opening each jar (more difficult than it sounds) and taking a taste - because of course only about half were labelled. This appeared to produce no chutney, lots of marmalade (which I did not use) and some sort of jelly with large pieces of garlic floating in it - also rejected.

A different view of the same jars
Notice the dust!

In the end I used nine jars in a variety of sizes and these were: Plum 2013, Strawberry 2013, Gooseberry 2011, Bramble Jelly 2013, Rowan Jelly 2005, Damson 2014, Crabapple & Chili Jelly, Fig, and Quince Jelly. The Crabapple & Chili was the nicest, the Rowan the worst.

Emptied jars

On Sunday 8th November, I tipped all contents into my bucket (together it looked like an enormous, disgusting blood clot) and poured over 6½ pints of boiling water. I gave it a good stir and left it overnight for the jam to dissolve. On Monday morning I added two teaspoons of citric acid and one of pectolase. Then in the evening (rather than 24 hours later as instructed by the recipe) I added 8 oz of minced raisins, 1 lb of sugar and a teaspoon each of yeast, nutrient and tannin.


The yeast (which was a new tub and a different variety) did not take and I feared that this wine would have to be thrown out. On Wednesday I made a yeast starter, with the half teaspoon left of my old yeast, half a pint of warm water and half a pint of the jam wine. This started fermenting and continued to do so after adding a further pint of the wine, so I poured it into the bucket. Success!

I put the liquid into its demijohn on 15th November - which took quite a while. During this process I noticed large bits of onion in the solids that I was sieving out. "This appeared to produce no chutney" was a rash and inaccurate statement. "Jam or Chutney" is a surprisingly difficult game.

Jam wine in its demijohn

Sunday, 15 November 2020

Orange Wine 2018 - Tenth Bottle (A5), 10th-11th November 2020

Hurrah! I'm not dying. My blood tests came back on Wednesday and everything is normal. The weight loss is down to additional exercise and no additional food. Therefore I need to eat more. That is my kind of remedy! I could pretend that we opened this bottle in celebration, but it was opened on Tuesday to accompany The Great British Bake Off - which is now in its closing stages. So, instead, we finished it in celebration - and I am relieved that I no longer have to take my blood pressure twice a day.

Taken on 10 November