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.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Mint, Elderflower & Rhubarb Wine - Third Bottle (2), 10th November 2018

Having most of the Rydal Committee visiting, I decided to open what is probably my best white. Everyone enjoyed it, though there was some discussion about which flavour came through strongest. I think it is clearly elderflower but Jane argued for mint.

Because four people were staying over, each needing a separate bed, we put Matt on the sofa-bed in the dining room. Except, when I folded it out, it was clear that it either was, or had recently been, home to a mouse. Areas were chewed over and it was covered in droppings. I briefly considered turning it over and pretending all was fine. Luckily, Matt had brought an air mattress so disaster was avoided. I suspect that we will not be getting a 5-Star Rating on TripAdvisor.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Blackcurrant and Raspberry Wine - Eighth Bottle (A4), 10th November 2018

I thought that a bottle of wine closely associated with Julia would be a suitable one for a Rydal committee meeting at our house. It is strange that she died four and a half years ago - it seems like both so much more recently and so much longer at once. We raised our glasses to her and got on with the business of the evening - which was idle gossip and laughter. In theory, Matt, Jane, Jayne, Nick and I were meeting to plan Rydal 2019 and discuss issues arising from that. In practice we did little of the sort (though not none). It was a fabulous evening and this bottle emptied quickly.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Rose Petal Wine - Twelfth Bottle (C5), 9th-10th November 2018

Friday nights are generally for staying home, opening a bottle of wine and catching up with the week gone by. This Friday, though, I was out playing wind octets in Wetherby and admiring badger skulls. Claire was left at home with a bottle of rose petal wine and I was pleased to see more than half of it left on my return. I made a good go at emptying it, but did not quite succeed.

I had remembered this batch of wine (2016's) to be poor, but this bottle was rather good.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Blackberry Wine - Third Bottle (B2), 8th November 2018

This really is an excellent bottle and I predict that it will win the Wine Party in just over a week's time. Thursday was our only night in together over the week so we celebrated with sausages and a bottle of blackberry wine. By the time the sausages (and mash, onion gravy and a squash stuffed with apple) were ready, the bottle was close to empty and we were both more than a little tiddly. This is shocking behaviour for a School Night, though Claire does not work Fridays, so she is excused.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Apple & Strawberry Wine - First Bottle (6), 2nd-3rd November 2018

I have mad a decent batch of wine. This bottle is light, and has a slight fizz and a beneficial sweetness to it. The flavour is clearly both apple and strawberry and it is really very drinkable. Attractive too - with a pink blush.

I opened it on Book Group night, where we were discussing The Bloody Chamber - a series of disturbing Fairy Tales written by Angela Carter. I loved it: her writing is exquisite and the tales are dark and inventive.

Claire and I finished the wine on Saturday to a splendid dish (cooked by me!) of Red Snapper in a Creole sauce. Just delicious.

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

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Damson Wine - The Making Of...

Two years ago, Claire and I planted a damson tree sapling in the front garden. Where Claire had images of damson jam and damson gin, my thoughts were of wine. We both looked forward to branches weighed down by their fruit. So far it has produced not a single damson. Therefore, when Emma mentioned at work that her mother had been storing damsons in her freezer and I was welcome to have a bag, I indicated that I would be a glad recipient.

Our damson tree
On Thursday 1st November, Emma brought the damsons in and it was important that I turn them into wine that evening - defrosting fruit never lasts beyond a day. I was busy with wine-making duties anyway - racking my elderberry and putting apple wine into its demijohns.

3 lbs 2 oz damsons
On consulting four recipe books only one told me to de-stone the fruit, so I ignored that one. One told me to put chalk into the wine, another advised wheat or barley and a third talked about sultanas. This is my first time of making damson wine and advice is there to be ignored. So I went for the simplest option - using only damsons, sugar, water and yeast.

The recipe books I ignored
There were 3 lbs 2 oz damsons, which is a little under the 4 lbs advised by recipe books (to which I was paying no attention anyway) so I declared this sufficient and put them into my bucket. They mashed easily. I put in 1 lb of sugar and then found I had no more sugar in the house. (A further 1 lb 12 oz went in on Saturday morning.) This was covered by six and a half pints of boiling water, stirred and left over night to cool. I then put in 1 teaspoon each of yeast, nutrient, pectolase and citric acid.

The wine with the yeast having been sprinkled in
The wine went into its demijohn on Tuesday 6th November, even though I was out all evening playing quintets in Ilkley. This meant that I had to be organised, so I got everything ready to sterilise before I left for work that morning. On my return I took time only to feed the cats before setting to and covering all equipment with a sodium metabisulphite solution. Putting the wine into its demijohn took about half an hour and I now have my first ever batch of Damson Wine bubbling away.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Orange Wine - Sixth Bottle (A2), 31st October 2018

Warning. Tenuous Connection Alert.

One of the two colours associated with Halloween is Orange. On the basis that I don't have a 'Black Wine', I opened this bottle instead. We finished it in one sitting - never a great idea for a Wednesday night. Claire had sent me a text earlier in the day saying that it had been 'Bloody'. By this she meant that she had received an overwhelming number of blood samples to analyse and did not stop for 10 hours. Hence an entire bottle of Orange Wine whilst distributing sweets to neighbourhood children.