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, 16 June 2018

Rhubarb, Mint & Elderflower Wine - The Making Of ...

Quiet weekends are a marvellous thing. Whereas last weekend was a whistle-stop tour of Newcastle and family, this weekend has had nothing specific planned. A perfect opportunity to indulge in some wine-making. And, in fact, Rhubarb, Mint & Elderflower is one of those wines which requires much of the day to be set aside. I didn't help myself by also deciding to bottle 3 demijohns of blackberry wine. Rinsing and sterilising 18 bottles is perhaps not the speediest or most interesting aspect of the wine-making process.

And elder tree in bloom
On Saturday, 9th June, early afternoon, I set out to Allerton Grange fields with plastic bag in hand. The elderflowers are a week earlier than usual and gave off more pollen than I remember seeing before as I picked them. I concentrated on the blooms with a hint of citrus yellow and only took a few per tree. This bit of the elderflower process takes no time at all and I came away with less than half a bag full.

Not quite a pint of elderflowers and rhubarb sticks
It was the next bit that was tedious in the extreme; stripping the flowers from their stalks. I did this outside so that the tiny flies could roam free (and not end up covering our windows) and it took me over an hour. Even at the start I was not particularly careful about avoiding the thinnest bit of the stalks, and by the end I cared not a jot. This produced a little less than a pint of flowers, which is Good Enough.

Spear mint from our garden
I plucked just over 3 lbs of rhubarb stalks from our garden, sliced these up - they are starting to get woody - and put these in the bucket. I added the elderflowers and a medium sized handful of mint - both pepper and spear (but not water-mint which is unpleasantly bitter) - which I shredded.

The main ingredients in the bucket
I poured in 3 lbs of sugar and 6½ pints of boiling water, gave it all a stir and left it over night. On Sunday morning I added the yeast and a teaspoon each of pectolase & nutrient.

I put this into the demijohn on my birthday (Thursday) whilst drinking pink champagne. The wine will not be suitable for vegans. It has a number of black specks, which I assume are tiny drowned flies. Still, it is a pretty pink colour.

The end result

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Mint, Elderflower & Rhubarb Wine - First Bottle (3), 8th June 2018

But for its clarity, I think we have another winner. This wine has a several-note depth to it. The first taste is a light elderflower, but it is rhubarb that provides the wine's body. Then, right at the end, there is a hint of mint - more a freshness than a flavour. It is a pity, then, that the wine is not entirely clear. Rhubarb-based wines should glow with a touch of bronze. This has the look of puddle water.

We drank the bottle after I had had a busy Friday at work where I spent much of the day irritable (and looking forward to a drink). Claire lit a fire - in June! Where has our glorious weather gone? And we both fell asleep on the sofa whilst trying to watch Midsomer Murders.

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

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Blackberry Wine - Tenth Bottle (A5), 6th-8th June 2018

On our return from WYSO on Wednesday night, Claire was grouchy. WYSO itself had been a good rehearsal - it needed to be: our Pontefract Castle concert is in a fortnight and we don't want to embarrass ourselves. But Claire was inexplicably cross. Half a bottle of blackberry wine and a tube of dill-pickle flavoured Pringles later, things were rather rosier. Funny that.

This batch of blackberry continues to fall into the category of "A Little Disappointing", making it perfect mid-week drinking. The Pringles were both odd and interesting - neither of which you necessarily want in a crisp.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Orange Wine - Third Bottle (B4), 28th May 2018

Drunk on a Bank Holiday Monday. Like the previous bank holiday, the weather has been glorious. I have spent some of it in York, some of it in Leeds and much of it in the garden, finishing Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café. This is a lovely book - unsubtle, yes and shamelessly pushing emotional buttons - but entirely charming and full of joy in the human spirit. It has been a while since a book has made me cry.

The orange wine was meant to accompany duck stew, but we has pretty much finished it by the time we ate. As I say, drunk on a bank holiday Monday.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Rose Petal Wine - Eleventh Bottle (A4), 27th May 2018

We have had a lovely afternoon and evening in York. It being a Sunday, Pop cooked Big Breakfast with four types of sausage. An old German student of his, Maya, and her two young sons were staying. The boys, 7 and 10, recited the whole of Wordsworth's Daffodils while I was eating watermelon - one of the week's more surreal moments.

In the evening I opened this bottle of rose petal wine, which was only okay though Pop said he liked it, and watched A Very English Scandal - a drama about the Jeremy Thorpe affair starring Hugh Grant. If all was true, it was barely credible.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Xmas Tutti Fruti - Fourth Bottle (B1), 22nd-24th May 2018

The Bridge is back on television, which is excellent news. I do like a bit of Scandi-Noir. I binged on two episodes on Tuesday night and it looks as if this series will be just as tricksy as its three predecessors.

I drank my first glass and a half from this bottle while watching it - the wine is fine: light for a red, without the complex fruitiness I sometimes get from Tutti Fruti. Entirely drinkable nonetheless. We finished the bottle of the next two nights, but with little to report. (And may I take this opportunity to apologise for such a dull post!)