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, 27 June 2016

Blackcurrant Wine - Fifteenth Bottle (C1), 22nd-24th June 2016

Most of this bottle was drunk in twilight. Having returned from WYSO on a balmy summer evening, Claire and I sat in the garden, drinking blackcurrant wine. Gradually the blackbirds' song ceased, replace by a bat fluttering past. We talked late into the night, probably irritating our neighbours, sipping sweet, smooth blackcurrant wine. It was a lovely hour, and little was left in the bottle by the time we went to bed. Scandalous for a Wednesday night.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Crab Apple Wine - Seventeenth Bottle (A4), 19th-23rd June 2016

This bottle was opened on a Sunday night when we had already had Too Much to Drink. Consequently, I remember little about its early life. Probably it was refreshing and tasted of apples. Claire had some on Tuesday while I was at Madeleine's playing quintets - though most the music I took proved unpopular. I had the final glass or two on Thursday night after exercising my democratic, and all too regular, right to vote for the losing side. When I finished this bottle I believed our EU membership was secure and all would be well.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Strawberry Wine - Fifth Bottle (3),17th-18th June 2016

We had half a bottle of Redcurrant in the fridge but, it being a Friday night, Claire wanted something better. A bottle of Strawberry it was. After a couple of glasses each we decided to revert to the Redcurrant on the basis that our faculties wer diminished.

I had the final glass on Saturday after returning from the Playhouse having seen The Barnbow Canaries, a play by Alice Nutter about women working in a munitions factory during the First World War. It was not as good as her previous plays, but the last scene, where yellow balloons were released as each name of the dead was spoken, was excellent.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Redcurrant Wine - Eleventh Bottle (A5), 15th-17th June 2016

Redcurrant wine should be excellent and I think my first ever batch was. Instead, it is merely alright - thinner and less fruity than blackcurrant. Pretty colour, though.

I opened it on Wednesday and finished it on Friday. None for me on Thursday: I had spent the day being entertained by Walker Morris at a riverside bar. The excuse was watching  England play Wales in Euro 2016. I was there for the beer.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Elderflower, Rhubarb & Mint Wine - The Making Of ...

It is a rare occasion that I ask a naked man if I can pick elderflowers from his garden. This was one such occurrence.

The tree I eventually used
I noticed last week that Charles & Caroline, two doors down, had an elder tree in their garden and I thought it would be good neighbourly bonding to ask if I could use some, possibly in return for a bottle. So at a respectable hour on Sunday morning, 12th June, I knocked on their door. It was opened by a four year old. I asked if mummy or daddy were home. He looked reluctant, but went off to find one of them. Charles came to the door, hiding behind it, but it was clear that he was wearing very little. Possibly nothing. Having knocked, I now had no choice but continue. I asked if I could get some elderflowers. He looked confused. "For wine" I explained. Looking nonplussed, he said he would ask Caroline and shut the door. I wasn't sure whether he meant 'right now' or 'at some point in the future'. I hung around awkwardly for a few seconds, but decided that discretion was the better part of valour and retreated with no dignity in tact.

A pint of elderflowers
There were plenty of elderflowers elsewhere and I picked about a third of a carrier bag, which translated into a pint of flowers once I had stripped them from their stems (tedious).

Rhubarb in our garden
Claire supervised my picking of rhubarb from the plants in our garden, and I got 2 lbs 13 oz. I chopped these into chunks, put them in the bucket and poured in the elderflowers. Our main mint plant is doing well, so I got a handful of leaves from this and a few from a mint that was here when we arrived, chopped these roughly and put them in the bucket. I added 3 lbs of sugar and 7 pints of boiling water, stirred it all round and left it overnight.

Our main mint plant

On Monday morning I added a teaspoon each of pectolase, tannin and nutrient and sprinkled in the yeast. I left this until Friday evening, 17th June, when I sieved out the solids and put the liquid into its demijohn. It was a quick job and done before seven o'clock. The wine is pink, but not as pastel delicate pink as pure rhubarb.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Elderberry Wine - Sixth Bottle (B5), 12th June 2016

I was able to make a direct taste comparison with 2015's elderberry while drinking this wine. 2015's batch was being bottled which meant a spare glass or two for quality control. The younger version is better, which is not what I expected at all. A little sweeter, missing a faint bitterness. This wine, though, is still good. It was a lovely evening, spending time in the kitchen with Claire, just chatting about nothing in particular.

Earlier in the day we watched cyclists whizz past as part of Leeds Triathlon, including Mary - wearing green and waving.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Rhubarb Wine - Second Bottle (B4), 11th June 2016

One would ordinarily celebrate the Feast of St Ithamar on 10th June, that being his official 'Day'. However, we were at Book Group so could not mark the occasion properly. Instead, we delayed it a day and had a host of vegetarian curries and a bottle of rhubarb wine. The food was wonderful: spinach and rice dumplings, aduki bean dall, raita, courgettes stuffed with coconuts and chilli. I don't know what an Anglo Saxon bishop would have made of it. Probably he would have stuck to the wine.

Rochester Cathedral - Ithamar's Resting Place