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.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Blackberry Wine - Ninth Bottle (C5), 18th-19th May 2016

Claire thinks this blackberry wine is too dry and therefore not as tasty as previous vintages. Whilst I acknowledge the dryness, I disagree with the conclusion. Somehow the fruit is less dominant and this produces something closer to real wine. Claire still thinks this is within my top 25%, though.

While we were drinking this wine, listening to a catch-up of The Archers, our computer enforced a Windows 10 upgrade on us. For months it has had pop-ups saying things like "Hurry. Upgrade to Windows 10 for Free," and "Windows 10 is Great. Honestly. Please upgrade. You won't regret it you know." Each time I have clicked the "Leave me alone and go away" button. However, the computer has its own (bossy) personality and decided it knew what was best. I predict shouting and frustration.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Elderflower Wine - Fourth Bottle (6), 15th-17th May 2016

We had already opened two bottles of wine on Sunday before getting stuck into the Elderflower. But it is not every day that you create the wherewithal for a pond in your back garden. One of those bottles was celery wine, so that doesn't count. The other was Mark's chardonnay and shared between six.

Claire chose elderflower for Sunday evening on the basis that there is nothing remarkable about it, and so it proved. I spent Sunday night wine-making. then on Tuesday we finished the bottle to bean burgers. Nothing remarkable at all.

This is possibly the dullest entry in my diary, and it faces some stiff competition. Apologies.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Ugli Fruit Wine - The Making Of ...

We have a new greengrocers within walking distance. This makes my middle-aged, middle-class heart sing with joy. It is considerably more expensive than the fruit & veg shops in Harehills, but it is much better quality and we do not have to drive. On Saturday, though, my unwavering loyalty to the new place became assured.

7 Ugli Fruit - I think Homeli rather than Ugli

Claire told me to inspect the fruit on display outside the shop carefully. I had a look and wondered why Dutch strawberries were quite so worthy of comment. Then I looked at the back row and saw a box of Ugli Fruit. Claire was watching through the window all this time and said that my face literally lit up. I have been looking for Ugli Fruit since I decided I wanted to do a wine alphabet (probably five years) and have never found a vendor. Not really knowing how many I needed (I still don't), but because they are far larger that oranges, I took seven. They were meant to be £1.25 each, but seeing as I was buying in bulk, the owner said I could have them for £7. As I say, undying loyalty.

I don't have a recipe, but had a quick look at the Thirsty Gardeners' instructions for grapefruit wine (Ugli Fruit are a grapefruit-orange-tangerine chimera) and pretty much ignored them. On Sunday, 15th May I thinly peeled two of the fruit, putting the shavings into the bucket. I squeezed six using the usual orange juicer but one with my hands, having peeled it first. Claire and I shared a segment and it was an undistinctive citrus fruit.

The juice went into the bucket along with 2lbs 8oz sugar and six and a half pints of boiling water. On Monday morning I added the yeast and a teaspoon each of pectolase and nutrient.

Putting this into its demijohn on Friday night, 20th May, was a quick job. I was relieved about that as I had already bottled 30 bottles of crab apple wine, didn't start on the Ugli Fruit wine until 9 o'clock, and still had 3 gallons of rhubarb wine to put into its demijohn. My adjective for the evening would be "sticky". The Ugli Fruit wine is beautiful in colour - a bright, sunshine yellow.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Celery Wine - Final Bottle (3), 15th May 2016

We dug a pond today. The 'we' in question were Nick, Mark (another of Claire's colleagues) and me, with Claire being Project Manager. Nick and Mark did rather more work than I , but I was definitely somewhere above "useless". We started at 10:30 and by 1 o'clock, there was an attractively shaped hole in our lawn, ready for sand and a pond-liner. The garden as a whole is looking so much more interesting than when we moved in.

Part of the day's activity was to be a wine tasting. Mark has recently started making wine from kits and has been disappointed with his results (though the chardonnay he brought was absolutely fine). I was to open both a disaster (this bottle) and an achievement. But we didn't have time for the achievement, so Mark only tasted the Celery. Rachel and Duncan had arrived at this point and had a sip too. Mark thought it was okay and pointed out the liquorice aftertaste. It was the aftertaste that made Rachel gag. The initial taste, though too sweet, was innocuous.

I was very happy to hand Nick the half-empty bottle as part payment for his pond digging work.

The diggers

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Dandelion Wine - Third Bottle (2), 14th May 2016

For the first time since our honeymoon in the Grand Canyon in 1998, I have gone a week without alcohol. Then it was forced upon me by antibiotics and a swollen face. This time it was through choice, after a heavy week of drinking in Cornwall. I found it surprisingly easy, and I am pleased about that.

Dandelion was a good choice - it is a wine drunk rarely and it just gets better with age. Browner too, but never mind. There is little difference between this wine and a commercial sherry, and I did a taste test to prove it. I think I will save my next bottle until May 2017. Check back in a year!

Obviously not me, but this is how I looked on my honeymoon

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Elderberry Wine - Fifth Bottle (A3), 6th May 2016

We drank this wine on our final day in Cornwall, to salmon blinis and French onion soup. Nick described the elderberry as being a quick burst of flavour in the middle of the tongue. I wondered if it was too young. One of these years I must hide six bottles from myself for 'later'.

The day was suitably sunny and lazy with a luxurious (and expensive) lunch in Port Isaac at Nathan Outlaw's Fish Kitchen. We were presented with small, beautiful dishes of fish, of which my favourite was pickled herring with red onion, orange and chervil dressing. Afterwards, Claire and I explored Padstow but did not have the time or inclination to visit the National Lobster Hatchery.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Peach & Banana Wine - Fourth Bottle (5), 5th-6th May 2016

It has been eighteen months since I last had a bottle of Peach & Banana. It has not improved. I brought it with me to Cornwall as my 'comedy wine'. The other holiday-makers failed to see the funny side. Claire and Ann refused to do more than give it a sniff. Rachel & Duncan were braver but concluded that it tasted mostly of dubious chemicals. This left Nick and I to drink it. Which we managed. In fact, I saw Nick voluntarily reaching for the bottle when there was still some alternative wine on offer.

The holiday-makers (minus Claire) in Cornwall