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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.

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.

If you want to see how this wine turned out, click here