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, 17 January 2019

Apple Wine - Fourth Bottle (4), 6th January 2019

I do like this apple wine and it is one of the three reasons why our apple tree is allowed to stay, despite its ridiculous height and unreachable apples.

We drank this bottle on Sunday, which was exactly how a Sunday should be. I spent some of my time collecting horse poo from the local stables and some more of my time digging it into the front garden. Otherwise, I made bread, started my ginger wine and ate many vegetarian curries. How else should a Sunday be spent?

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Ginger Wine 2019 - The Making Of...

We are only six days into the New Year and already I feel like an old man. My back is aching and I know that I shall be stiff tomorrow. This is the result of barely two hours gardening. All I was doing was shovelling horse manure into bags and then digging it into our front garden, plus some low-level weeding. Gardening is meant to be a healthy activity, so why do I feel like I have been given a thorough pummelling?

A selection of dried fruit ingredients
The other thing I have done this weekend is to begin my ginger wine. I had already decided that Ginger will be my regular January wine, but the bottle we drank on New Year's Day confirmed this choice - it was excellent. I bought all my 'fruit' ingredients: 5 oz root ginger, 4 lemons and 1 lb sultanas: from the Continental Supermarket in Harehills. Though they sell every type of pulse and flour that you can think of and many more besides, the only sultanas they had were 'Golden Sultanas' which had a best-before date of April 2018. I bought them anyway. It makes this wine the yellowest of all wines that I make.

On Saturday (yesterday), I shaved the ginger of its skin and sliced it as thinly as possible before putting it into the bucket. Next I minced the sultanas in the food processor and put those in. Then I peeled the lemon-skin as finely as I could, doing my best to avoid the pith, and put this in, followed shortly by the juice from all lemons.

The ingredients in the bucket
I poured over 3½ pints of boiling water, making our kitchen smell citrussy and left the wine until this afternoon. During a break from gardening I poured in 2½ lbs sugar and another 3½ pints of boiling water. Several hours later I put in a teaspoon each of yeast, nutrient and pectolase.

I waited until Friday evening, 11th January, before putting the wine into its demijohn. This was done before Book Group (Treasure Island - our 'winter classic') so I had to be quick. Happily this was not a drawn out process, and I now have a demijohn full of pale yellow, ginger-flavoured liquid.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Ginger Wine - First Bottle (1), 1st January 2019

This bottle of wine was rather splendid. The ginger is fiery but not overpowering, and the wine is both dry and light. I think I have got the quantities in perfect balance. Seeing as this is the wine that I shall make this month, that is a Good Thing.

We have had a jolly first of January in Cambridge with Rachel and Duncan. I spent the morning reading Treasure Island - the classic Boy's Own Adventure - and then went for a seven mile walk in the afternoon, which involved tickling pigs and climbing (insofar as one can climb in Cambridgeshire) to an obelisk.

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

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Strawberry Wine 2016 - Final Bottle (3), 31st December 2018

New Year's Eve is traditionally a time to drink in excess, and I am happy to report that we kept that tradition.

We have spent the New Year in Cambridge with Rachel & Duncan, which is always a pleasure. A cup of tea was presented on our arrival but soon this was followed by gin & tonics, a gin fizz cocktail and too many bottles of wine (of which this was one and delicious). At nine o'clock I was convinced that, like most years these days, I would fail to see midnight and 2019 arrive. Claire went to bed at 10:30, but by then I had got a second wind and stayed up to hear the chimes of Big Ben and watch fireworks explode over the Thames.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Blackberry Wine - Sixth Bottle (C5), 29th December 2018

We have done the Taylors and now it is the turn of the Hardys. Christmas really is an opportunity to see as many people in as short a time as possible. Our visit to York has coincided with Chris, Rachael, Paul and Myles being here - and I saw Keith and family on the 27th. It has been fabulous to catch up with everyone and I had not seen Chris since early June.

Myles is squarely into his dinosaur phase and three quarters of his presents - socks, books, toys, Bingo - were dinosaur related.

There was plenty of booze in the evening and I contributed this bottle of blackberry. It was rather better than the Parma-Violet flavoured gin on offer.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Gooseberry Wine - Third Bottle (1), 28th December 2018

Well, this is tart. Not unpleasant by any means, but you wouldn't want it any drier. The gooseberry flavour powers through and I have been given permission by Claire to make it again in years where there is a gooseberry glut.

We drank the wine on Friday night (how can it be Friday already?), enjoying being at home with no entertaining to do. I had spent the day watching Christmas television, planning a trip to Coll in March and reading Treasure Island - one of those books that I have never read, but has seeped into my consciousness. There is barely a character's name that is unfamiliar, though the story is unknown.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Prune & Parsnip Wine 2015 - Final Bottle (A4), 27th December 2018

That time between Christmas and New Year is always strange. I lose track of the days and the drinking hour creeps forward. By the time I opened this bottle it was around 7 and Claire, Sooz and I had already polished off a whisky mac each and a bottle of mulled wine.

This Prune & Parsnip was approaching four years old and has lost the over-riding sherry taste. It was still recognisable, but just a tad drier and maybe not as good. Therefore, Prune & Parsnip, unlike Elderberry or Dandelion, is not one to save into its old age.