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.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Crab Apple & Strawberry Wine - Fourth Bottle (2), 19th August 2017

Nostell Priory is not what I had imagined. Where I was expecting fourteenth century ruins next to a basic visitor centre, there stood a huge eighteenth century stately home stuffed with art and antiques, a kitchen garden and an adventure playground. We took Bob & Judith and met up with Jayne and Poppy as 'something to do', and it was excellent. I cannot recommend it enough. I could have spent hours there. However, we needed to be back. After all, there was wine to be drunk, of which this was the first bottle.

Claire thinks that Crab Apple & Strawberry is more than the sum of its parts, though I prefer the individual flavours. Certainly this does not go with sweet things. I had a slice of Judith's fruitcake when drinking a glass and the wine became too sharp, too dry.

NB The Video is of me on a zip wire at Nostell Priory. The 'ooh' makes me laugh and laugh.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Elderberry Wine - Sixth Bottle (A4), 18th August 2017

When Bob and Judith visit, Claire cooks up a storm and we get through a lot of wine. Friday night was no exception: lamb stew with aubergine sauce, and peppers stuffed with bulgar wheat, accompanied by two and a half bottles of wine, of which this was the last. All aspects were lovely - though all we had the energy to do afterwards was sit in the front room and eat chocolate. By ten o'clock everyone was in bed, having had a thoroughly satisfying evening.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Elderflower, Rhubarb & Mint Wine - Second Bottle (3), 18th August 2017

Bob & Judith have come for the weekend, and I opened this as an aperitif (if you don't count the half bottle of wine that we 'tidied up' beforehand). I made them guess the ingredients and they failed miserably, with Judith running through all citrus flavours. When told, Judith and I agreed that rhubarb was prominent, though Claire said the dominant flavour was elderflower. Whichever, this was an excellent and refreshing wine. Bob said he thought it was about 13%, whereas everyone else gave it an eight out of ten.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Blackcurrant & Raspberry Wine - Seventh Bottle (B3), 17th-18th August 2017

I took this bottle to Rydal with me, but there it remained undrunk (unlike me). Instead, Claire opened it while I was out playing trios with Pat & Peter. I had a good-night glass on my return, leaving half the bottle for Friday night, where it was shared with Bob & Judith as our first drink of the evening. This was known as 'tidying up' and therefore a helpful thing to do. The wine is still very good: the fruit taste is abundant and whilst lighter than a true red wine it manages to avoid thinness.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Blackberry Wine - Eighth Bottle (A3), 13th August 2017

Summer has returned, but maybe for one day only. We had a wonderful June and early July, but since then the weather has reverted to the more familiar grey skies and drizzle. However, Sunday was lovely. I spent much of it staring into our pond, watching the four surprising fish ('surprising' because we didn't put them there) trying to fit under a lily pad and occasionally hunt for tadpoles.

We drank most of the bottle in the garden, catching the last of the day's warmth, before heading inside for a meal of lamb-stuffed marrow. Both wine and food were glorious. You can't beat lazy Sundays.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Lemon & Lime Wine - Final Bottle (6), 8th-9th August 2017

I had remembered this wine as somewhat worse that this bottle proved. Yes, it was too sweet - and in the unlikely event that I make it again, I will reduce the sugar. But it was drinkable, and not the Punishment Wine that a bottle opened on a Tuesday might suggest. It was unmistakably lemon-flavoured and more like lemonade than wine.

Both nights I drank my glass while watching I Know Who You Are, which is a superb Spanish thriller that surprises at every turn.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Blackcurrant & Gooseberry Wine - First Bottle (2), 3rd August 2017

This bottle was a well deserved celebration for performing the solo bassoon part in Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante. I have been practising for weeks, and it went better than I could have hoped. There is nothing more thrilling than playing well to an audience. Consequently I drank most of this wine myself, though shared some of it around. It has a sharp, tart taste where both blackcurrant and gooseberry are pronounced. Janet thought it was wonderful, but I am struggling to remember who else at Rydal I pressed it upon.

(I would like to share the video of the cadenza, which is on Facebook, but I am struggling to post it. You may be able to see it here.)

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

If you want to read a fuller account of how it felt to perform, keep on reading:

The orchestra started up and this was it; we were really going to do it. There are about eighty bars before the soloists come in and I spent them trying not to shake. And then, all of a sudden, we were playing. The notes were there, doing what they should, piecing themselves together and I was partly responsible. I certainly wasn't relaxed, not at the beginning, but the sheer exhilarating terror started to lessen. The entries were made and bars rest were counted correctly. This was going well. This was getting towards fun. The first movement is both the best and the easiest and when it was over, the audience and orchestra applauded. The second movement was slower than any of us would have liked - it requires sustained, stable notes and these are not comfortable on the lip. I felt my first passage of semiquavers slipping away from my fingers but I wrestled them back into control and the remainder of the movement played itself. Then it was the Variations. We started at quite a lick and those bars of semiquavers at the beginning, which I have been practising so hard, were perfect. Not a dropped note or a fluff among them. Variation two was less good (and my personal low of the piece) but once the music is running past you, all you can do is run at its speed and hope to regain your footing. The variations were all slower than I would have liked - we were following the conductor's beat, which was an error but difficult to break out of. However, the tempo was not so slow as to kill the music and at the end we got a huge round of applause. Then we did the first movement again. This time I was entirely relaxed. I had already done this and knew I could do it again - and it was fabulous (if I do say so myself). I could not have been more pleased with the result.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Rose Petal Wine - Second Bottle (C6), 31st July 2017

It is my annual week at Rydal Hall playing with the Genin Orchestra, and I am having a marvellous time. Tonight I opened a bottle of rose petal wine and insisted that people should have a try. The Reverend Clack said it had the aroma of a dry, crisp champagne and then enthused about its rose taste. Of my other tasters, only one - Carolyn the Percussionist - pulled a face that said "Never Again". Curiously, no-one asked for a second glass and I drank about half the bottle myself.