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, 22 August 2019

Prune & Parsnip Wine - Fifth Bottle (B1), 20th-22nd July 2019

Writing this three days later, I can't remember why we did not finish the bottle on Saturday. It may have had something to do with Negronis. Anyway, we had most of it after I returned from a chamber music party in Wetherby where I mostly played in decets and ate three sorts of pudding.

The prune & parsnip wine was unmemorable - but that can be a good thing. We finished it on Monday, where the most exciting thing to happen was that Claire found a newt in our garden.

This is not THE newt, but it is A newt

Monday, 19 August 2019

Strawberry Wine - Fourth Bottle (6), 19th July 2019

This was a Friday night bottle of wine. The day had been unremarkable and so was the bottle. Generally I think strawberry an excellent bottle to be saved for special occasions. This, though, was in the realms of 'alright' and more of a midweek bottle than anything. Claire disagreed and said that it had nothing of the burnt plastic about it.

We spent the evening watching Mad Men. It really was a completely unexciting day.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Rhubarb Wine - Third Bottle (A4), 14th July 2019

About half an hour before Claire returned from painting pottery in Northallerton, I remembered to put a bottle of wine in the fridge. Consequently it was still pretty much room temperature when I opened it. By the time we were eating (the Egg and Pepper Thing), it was gone. I do like my rhubarb wine, though, and I think it the best white I make. (Oh, rhubarb, mint & elderflower is better.)

After drinking the bottle (and eating) we went for a neighbourhood stagger, each taking turns to choose the direction. It was a lovely evening and a pleasant way to catch up with each other. It also had the added bonus of increasing our step counts to a respectable level!

Claire's painted pottery (or some of it)

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Xmas Tutti Fruti - Seventh Bottle (A3), 13th July 2019

Rachael and Myles were in York on Saturday evening and Claire had abandoned me to paint pottery in Northallerton. Rather than spending an evening alone, I went to York (the second time in a week) and took a bottle of Xmas Tutti Fruti with me. The wine was good: dry, interesting: and I drank most of it. My favourite part of Saturday night, oddly, was doing the washing up with Rachael helping. It is rare that the two of us are together by ourselves and when we are we generally have intense conversations. Saturday was no exception.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Apple & Strawberry Wine - Fourth Bottle (2), 7th July 2019

We live on a wonderful street. Last year a group of neighbours organised a few 'play days' where the street was closed to traffic and children could play out. This has been done again this year, and Sunday was a Street Party. I opened a bottle of Apple & Strawberry Wine for it, on the basis that this is one of my best, and it was quickly emptied. I spent much of my time chatting to Number 10, who I have not met before but who have been here for 36 years. It was a lovely occasion and I hope we do it again next year.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Cherry Wine - First Bottle (1), 6th-7th July 2019.

Well, this is a strange bottle of wine. There is both a lovely, fruity taste and vaguely poisonous flavour fighting for dominance. The fruity taste wins out - and that is an excellent one, and distinctly cherry. Next time I should make the effort to remove the stones.

I opened the bottle after Claire had returned from a choral concert in Bradford. The piece was new and confusing for all concerned. I made the last 10 minutes of it at the point everything was collapsing. The conductor knocked his music to the floor and Claire wondered if this was on purpose to allow a regroup.

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

Monday, 12 August 2019

Rhubarb Wine 2019 - The Making Of...

On a wet Wednesday evening in late May, Claire and I drove to Nick's house in Morley to gather rhubarb. In previous years, Nick has delivered rhubarb to us but we were curious about his allotment and so made arrangements to visit. Nick lives within the Rhubarb Triangle and he has an impressive patch. His rhubarb originated from our garden and, whilst our plants are fine, his are flourishing. Giving rhubarb away in vast quantities helps Nick control his stock but it threatens to take over. The remainder of his allotment is well-ordered and lush and the rhubarb is kept in one (large) corner.

Between us we pulled up 6 lbs of stalks, concentrating on the pinker variety, and this was not a difficult or lengthy task. One cup of tea later we were on our way home with our haul, plus some chard plants for the garden.

I started the wine on Friday night, 31st May, whilst Claire was out rehearsing string quartets for Saturday's party. 6 lbs of rhubarb stalks is what is required for a double batch. I washed these, chopped them into slices of about 1 cm in thickness (only spilling one bowl over the floor and swearing loudly) and put them into my bucket. I added 6 lbs sugar and 12-and-a-half pints of boiling water. Rhubarb wine is really very easy!

Saturday morning I added a teaspoon of yeast and pectolase and a teaspoon and a half of nutrient. Ordinarily I would have put this into demijohns on Wednesday, but Wednesday night is WYSO night, so I did this on Thursday instead. I fished the rhubarb pieces out with a colander as far as I could and kept these in a sterilised bowl. I then used the jug, funnel and sieve method to get the (now striking pale pink) liquid into its demijohns. There was quite a gap in each demijohn by the end so I washed my hands and squeezed down the saved rhubarb, pouring the released liquid into my jug. This went into my spare bottle for topping up the demijohns.

With either great foresight or luck, I emptied the jug into the bottle after getting about three-quarters of a pint. When the jug had another half pint in, I knocked it over, spilling its contents all over everything. There was much swearing at this point, followed by a concerned wife coming into the kitchen and some frantic mopping. Not a great disaster in the grand scheme of things, but intensely annoying.

I racked this on 3rd July, less than a month from putting it into its demijohns. It got half a pint of water and 3 oz sugar divided between the two demijohns.