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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.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Apple and Apple & Strawberry Wine 2019 - The Making Of...



Last year our apple tree was prolific, much to the joy of local blackbirds and squirrels. This year it is far less so and as of mid-October the apples have only just begun to drop. Those that have fallen are mostly half-gnawed - I suspect by the garden rodents - so I can only use those for apple wine with some judicious chopping.


Our crab apple tree has done better than last year - but has still only produced 1 lb 4 oz of apples. Each of these two wines require 4 lbs of apples, so I have had to look beyond the confines of our garden for additional fruit.


Pavement apples
On Saturday 12th October, after accompanying Claire back from a Park Run (I did not participate myself) I spotted windfall apples on the opposite pavement so, much to Claire's embarrassment, I crossed the road and started collecting them. She left me to it. These apples were small and bruised, but still worthy ingredients. I also noticed that a house round the corner had put some apples in a box outside their hedge for people to collect, so I made full use of these too and ended up with 8 lbs of apples (weighed after chopping out the bruises and the rot and the squirrel tooth marks) that I needed.


I made the Apple Wine of Saturday and the Apple & Strawberry Wine on Sunday. For both I washed the apples, cut away all rot, removed any invertebrates that I spotted (only one had a grub but several had woodlice) and sliced them using the food processor.


For the apple wine, I added about 1 lb of sultanas, minced in the food processor, and for the apple & strawberry wine I had already crushed 1 lb of strawberries in my bucket using a potato masher. To each bucket I added 3 lbs of sugar and 7 pints of boiling water (which was about half a pint too much, particularly for the apple & strawberry).


Once each had cooled (Sunday morning for the apple and Sunday night for the other) I added teaspoons of nutrient, pectolase and yeast to both buckets.

By Friday these were ready to put into their demijohns. I had returned home from Drinks with Work so had little inclination but knew this must be done, and so that's what I did to no great disaster. This year there is little colour difference between the two and I suspect substandard strawberries account for the lack of pinkness.


Thursday, 17 October 2019

Orange Wine - Tenth Bottle (A5), 10th October 2019

Thursday night should not really have been a whole bottle of wine night. It has been a long and difficult week at work though - that first week back after a holiday is always horrendous. There is so much to do and I have needed to work particularly fast to stay afloat. Hence drinking a bottle of orange wine was remarkably easy - and I only suffered a little for it on Friday morning.

After the wine had been finished, Mom rang in a flap asking for legal advice on a solar panel contractual matter. I muddled through as best I could.


Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Blackcurrant Wine - Third Bottle (A3), 6th October 2019

It is nice to be home. We returned from a week's holiday in Croatia on Saturday evening, so Sunday was our first day back in Leeds and familiar territory. It was a good holiday and whilst England was wet and windy, we had plenty of sunshine throughout the week. Best moment? Possibly eating grilled sardines in a concrete bunker and drinking copious amounts of red wine.

Back at home my first bottle was blackcurrant - always a popular choice - to go with turkey meatballs followed by Tootsie on DVD: one of my favourite films.


Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Elderberry Wine - Ninth Bottle (A4), 22nd September 2019

What a fabulous bottle of elderberry wine, if I do say so myself. It is entirely smooth and all taste of metal has gone. A dark, rich wine that is the perfect accompaniment to nut-loaf and roast potatoes (for that is what we ate). We are to have a broadly vegetarian week because next week we go to Croatia, where I understand the diet is based on meat and fish. I feel ill-prepared for this holiday and have done little planning for it. Just thinking about it makes me nervous.

On Holiday in Croatia 

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Ginger Wine - First Bottle (5), 21st September 2019

I have a rule that, unless the flavour is Apple, I do not drink my first bottle from a batch of wine until it is a year old. I have broken this rule for Ginger by three and a half months. It is all because I am a Yorkshire miser. When bottling this wine on Friday, I snapped the string during the corking process. Leaving string in a bottle's neck will ruin the wine. Corks cost about 8 pence each. Therefore, by drinking this wine the next day I saved myself nearly one-tenth of one pound. Result!

The wine itself is everything ginger wine should be: dry, light, gingery.


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

Friday, 27 September 2019

Nectarine Wine - Fourth Bottle (5), 18th-20th September 2019

Pringles and Nectarine Wine make terrible companions. On Wednesday after WYSO I had both together and wondered why the Nectarine Wine tasted quite so bitter. Claire was more positive, saying that for a mid-week bottle, this one was rather good. Then on Friday I drank the wine without the Pringles and the bottle was transformed. It was refreshing and light and tasted of nectarines. Lesson learned: cheap, salty snacks are not a wine's best friend.


Thursday, 26 September 2019

Blackcurrant Wine - Second Bottle (B5), 15th-17th September 2019

Having started Sunday evening with a Cosmopolitan, half a bottle of blackcurrant wine between the two of us was the correct decision. This allowed us to drink the remaining half as one of our Bake Off treats on Tuesday. The other two treats were a bag of Cheesy Wotsits and a chocolate ├ęclair.

The wine continues to be excellent. Blackcurrant in not often smooth, but this vintage is. No jagged edges to make the drinker go "ooh".