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.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Blackberry Wine - Fourth Bottle (C3), 17th October 2014

I haven't had any alcohol since Monday and today is Friday. This is distinctly unusual, but I think I made up for it tonight with a stiff gin and the lion's share of this bottle. It has been a busy, noisy day, though. After a lengthy period of having little to do at work, today was frantic with section 106 agreements, facility letters, contracts to exchange and sales packs to prepare. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and felt that I had earned a drink after my not-quite five mile walk home.

This wine is fabulous - fruity, light and full of blackberry flavour. It has been a good Friday.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Christmas Tutti Fruti - Ninth Bottle (B3), 13th October 2014

Even though it is a Monday, we are still on holiday and therefore drinking a bottle of wine is allowed. In fact, it is almost obligatory. We have spent the day returning from Harpenden in the rain. Happily this has involved sitting on a train rather than driving. There was a long wait at Kings Cross staring at the departure board, which was a little dull. Otherwise I have enjoyed the day off and it was lovely seeing the cousins.

We drank the wine to leftovers and then Doctor Who, where Peter Capaldi seems to be channeling Tom Baker. It was a relatively good bottle, if murky in the final glass. And now I'm drinking bush tea with a cat upon my lap, pleased that I am home.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Elderberry Wine - First Bottle (B2), 12th October 2014

Claire and I stayed with Matt & Anne in Harpenden this weekend and some of Sunday was spent wandering round St Alban's Abbey. What I loved most about this cathedral were the decorated Norman arches and the thirteenth-century wall paintings. However, the highlight of the visit was Sunday evening when all the Hertfordshire cousins, Brian and Janet descended for a meal. It was a raucous, laughter-filled evening and among the bottles emptied was this elderberry. I am very pleased with it; there is no metal to its taste and it is not too sweet. It has a fruity, dark flavour and is a promising vintage.

The Norman arches and wall paintings

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

Friday, 17 October 2014

Rose Petal Wine - Fifth Bottle (A5), 9th October 2014

My Texan half first cousin once removed, Annie, is visiting York on her way home from a farm in Sweden, so I took the opportunity to spend Thursday evening with her and have a splendid meal cooked by my mother thrown in. As I see Annie so rarely - I think this was only the third or fourth time - I took a bottle of Rose Petal as one of my very best. It is a fabulous colour and has a dry, full taste. I can't remember Annie's adjective of choice, but it was unambiguously positive.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Crab Apple Wine 2014 - The Making Of ...

Echoes of summer
I think our crab apple tree is infected or infested. Or both. Many of the apples are scabby. Others have gone rotten in pairs and are stuck together, suggesting they are home to some sort of grub. I noticed this last year, but this year is worse. Like Aunty Mim, I suspect its days are numbered. And it is only 15 years old. Still, it continues to produce an abundance of fruit, and picking 12 lbs of apples for 18 bottles of wine on Sunday 5th October proved no problem.

Look closely, and you can see some rotten crab apples
It was a lovely, sunny day - that early October sort of day where the last echoes of summer are sounding. Perfect for collecting apples in a bowl. Under Claire's guidance and balancing precariously on a plastic garden chair, I sawed off a branch of the tree which was shooting upwards, away from the canopy. This was mostly to maintain the tree's shape, but had the added benefit of an extra pound of bright red apples I would otherwise have missed.

Apples I would otherwise have missed
Because we were spending the weekend of 11th-12th October in Harpenden with my cousins, I only picked the apples on Sunday. I started the wine properly on Tuesday 7th October. This year, by accident, I used the 'grating' function on our food processor rather than the 'slice'. I suspect it will make no difference.

Grating 12 lbs of apples took less than an hour. I added 9 lbs sugar and 3 lbs minced sultanas, again taking advantage of the food processor for mincing purposes. Next I boiled 22 pints of water, poured this over and stirred. There isn't much room left in my bucket.

I added the yeast and 2 teaspoons each of nutrient and pectolase on Wednesday morning, 8th October.
Not much room left in the bucket

It took almost exactly an hour to get the liquid into its three demijohns and my first method was to use the plastic collander as a scoop, which worked well. I did all this on Monday 13th October, after having returned from a wonderful weekend with my cousins. I had about a pint, maybe more, of left-over wine at the end, which I have poured down the sink. The wine in the demijohns is mostly orange with a pinkish hue.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Elderflower Wine - Third Bottle (B1), 8th October 2014

Perhaps drinking an entire bottle on a Wednesday is not the best of ideas. However, it was the Great British Bake Off final. For each previous episode we have had half a bottle between us. This time, though, I would argue it was a special occasion. And I thoroughly enjoyed the show. It had the right mixture of tension and loveliness, and Nancy was a worthy winner.

Earlier in the evening we played the Weber bassoon concerto at WYSO with Amy - who is a far better soloist than I. If she wasn't such a delightful person I would have spent the evening in bitter envy.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Gooseberry Wine - Third Bottle (1), 5th October 2014

It was trout for tea so we needed a dry, sharp white and this was a dry and sharp as they come. In fact the first taste was also musty, but oddly that taste took a back seat as the bottle emptied.

I had spent the day doing not very much - picking crab apples in the sunshine mostly. Claire was more inventive - experimenting with gingerbread for a work competition. The biscuit springs didn't work, so I got to eat the results. Damn shame. And Claire suspects sabotage.

I drank much of the wine while watching Doctor Who; an episode involving the Moon hatching. I thought it the best so far of a disappointing series. Claire hated it. But she is a scientist.

Claire's Gingerbread Scientists