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, 30 March 2017

Blackberry Wine - Fifth Bottle (A6), 25th March 2017

A bottle of wine is always welcome after a concert, particularly when the wine is as good as this.

The concert was WYSO's 'England All at Sea'; the main pieces were Elgar's Sea Pictures (with a stunning contralto) and Frank Bridge's The Sea. Our poster showed a sinking ship - and any Brexit imagery must surely be a coincidence.

For once I was in the audience (on account of my tooth recovery) and it was a pleasure to be there. WYSO is a better orchestra than I had thought - the strings are a strong section, and I don't hear that when playing. After the concert we invited Rachel & Duncan over and dispatched the wine with alarming speed. Another bottle was duly opened...

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Rhubarb, Elderflower & Mint Wine - Final Bottle (4), 24th March 2017

Friday night was 'Neighbourhood Pizza Night'. Liz and David at number 33 had the idea and made the pizza, Angie & Phil brought bread, Claire supplied the tiramisu and I took along a bottle of wine. Rhubarb, elderflower & mint was chosen as one of my best and we drank it as an aperitif. Everyone liked it; Angie still remembers my Potato wine and anything compared to that is nectar. The mint was noticeable in this bottle, which is always beneficial. We had a lovely night, full of conversation and laughter, and at the end of it the walk home took rather less than two minutes.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Crab Apple Wine - Thirteenth Bottle (B5), 18th-19th March 2017

I put this bottle in the fridge in anticipation of our return from Faure's Requiem, courtesy of Batley Music Club. We had expected dire things, but in fact it only required one glass of crab apple wine each in order to recover.

Most of the bottle was drunk to a roast chicken dinner - our first roast for quite some time. We had spent the day visiting more garden centres than planned, finishing the herb bed and catching up on odds and ends. I finished Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro - which was a morbid, uncomfortable read yet gripping. The wine was equally gripping but pleasingly neither morbid nor uncomfortable.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Rhubarb Wine 2014 - Final Bottle (B1), 17th March 2017

Having bottled a triple batch of rose petal (which produces a goodly quantity of spare wine for immediate consumption), opening and finishing a bottle of rhubarb wine was perhaps not wise. Claire said that anything delicious would be wasted and therefore this bottle was an adequate choice. Rhubarb wine does not age brilliantly. There was a hint of cheese to its taste, but this was subtle enough to be nearly ignored. We drank it in front of the stove bemoaning the state of the world in general and Claire's job prospects in particular.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Orange Wine - First Bottle (B6), 15th-16th March 2017

I think this orange wine is a touch too bitter and could have done with more sugar. It has the taste of unsweetened marmalade - all peel and no juice. Claire disagrees, which is good as there are another eleven bottles. She thinks it would go well with food - curry particularly.

This was the first alcohol I had drunk for nearly a week (if one discounts a bottle of clove & ginger) and was to celebrate having finished my antibiotics. I made a cake to go with it whilst Claire was at WYSO - and continuing the theme, it was Delia's Marmalade Cake. Maybe I should turn my hand to baking: the cake was rather more successful than the wine.

If you want to see how I made this wine, you can either look at the post before, or click here for the actual version I made in 2016

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Orange Wine 2017 - The Making Of...

Today is the first day since 3rd March that I have not had stabbing pain in my jaw and that I have not been on a four-hourly diet of pain killers. It is 12th March - nine days after my coronectomy - and until half an hour ago I was starting to believe that everything would be alright. However, I made the mistake of trying to play the bassoon just now. I got no further than putting the reed in my mouth and realising that this was not a good idea. Now, of course, I am worrying that I will never play the bassoon again. Still, I have wine-making as my other hobby, and I don't need a working mouth for that.

Today, after a brief spell in the garden helping Claire to create a herb bed, I started making my orange wine. As ever, this is a double batch for which I needed 24 oranges. Earlier in the week I had picked up three 'family size' bags from Sainsburys. On the whole I prefer to avoid supermarkets for my fruit and veg, but in this instance my inner miser (which is rather less 'inner' than that phrase suggests) won out and I went for what was cheap.

Taking the outermost peel off oranges
I took the outer most layer of peel off 12 of the oranges, and for once was nearly successful in avoiding the pith. This took about an hour and I avoided boredom by listening to a crime drama with Meera Syal on Radio 4 Catch-Up. I have covered this peel with 2 pints of boiling water and I will pour the water (minus the peel) into my bucket when I return from work tomorrow.

Orange peel to be covered with 2 pints of water

I squeezed all 24 oranges, measured the juice (3¾ pints) and poured this into the bucket. To this, I added 9 pints of cold water and 5½ lbs of sugar. Because the water is cold I have not had to wait to put in the yeast and rounded teaspoon of nutrient. This year I am experimenting by not putting in a teaspoon of pectolase. My hypothesis is that the wine will clear without it.

Wine in the bucket

On Friday night (17th March) the wine went into its demijohns. This took little time as there was virtually nothing to sieve out - only a bit of pulp - but I was careful to leave a half-pint gap between the liquid and the top of the demijohn. I don't want a repeat of last month's prune & parsnip shambles with wine froth all over our bathroom. As ever, orange wine at this stage is the happiest of yellows.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Clove & Ginger Wine - Third Bottle (3), 12th-13th March 2017

I chose Clove & Ginger as Sunday night's bottle for two reasons. Firstly, it has virtually no alcohol. This is important because I am on antibiotics. Secondly, cloves are famous for healing tooth-ache. This is important because I am recovering from a coronectomy and my mouth is still not right. I made the mistake of trying to do ten minutes' bassoon practice. Just blowing down the reed (and making no sound) caused me to worry that I may never play the bassoon again. So, what about the wine? Its taste was certainly distinctive. Claire said that it would numb the mouth and stimulate the bowels. Well, the mouth was duly numbed, but I am uncovinced otherwise. The wine was far from unpleasant, but not one to drink by the gallon.