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, 12 January 2021

Ginger Wine 2020 - First Bottle (3), 10th January 2020

Once again, ginger wine proves itself to be a suitable flavour to do every year. This is an excellent bottle of wine: it has both a strong ginger and citrus taste, and is dry enough to go with a proper meal. We drank this with Rachel & Duncan, insofar as one can in these days of Covid 19. Zoom is excellent for a long evening chat with just one other screen. We each cooked the same meal - a Malaysian chicken curry - and spent three hours plus chatting. It was a superb evening and felt nearly like we were in the same room. There are definite possibilities presented by Lockdown.

A photo I took on 10 January which 
tells a tragic tale.

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

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Prune & Parsnip Wine 2017 - Eleventh Bottle (B6), 30th December 2020

Today has been an excellent day. It has mostly involved a walk round Fairburn Ings and Ledston with Jenny (and Claire, of course). The weather was perfect for a winter walk: low sunshine and never above freezing, with thin dustings of snow. The planned walk went through large swathes of water so this involved much re-routing, but to the benefit of the day. Once home and after a gin & tonic, we drank this Prune & Parsnip to leftover duck cassoulet and an episode of The Queen's Gambit.

Jenny & Claire in perfect winter walking conditions

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Blackberry Wine 2019 - Seventh Bottle (B1), 28th December 2020

The period between Christmas and New year has an individual feel. It is one of enforced idleness - and that is far from being the same as 'boredom'. The days stretch out and are filled with gentle activities. As with the two previous days, I spent my time on jigsaws (two), a gingerbread house and a moderate walk (one of each). Also, this bottle of wine, which was earthy in its brambleness, drunk to a fabulous duck cassoulet and and episode of The Queen's Gambit, which is a very 'Now' thing to watch. Who'd have thought that a drama about chess would be quite so engrossing?

The Gingerbread House (plus scaffolding)

Sunday, 3 January 2021

Xmas Tutti Fruti 2020 - The Making Of...

Christmas this year, in The Year of The Pestilence, has been different around the country. Those in southern England must celebrate alone. In the north, we were allowed to mix with one other household, but only for the day. Claire and I stayed put - our first Christmas in only each other's company since around 2006. And we had a lovely time. Being married to one's best friend is such a gift, and in this year of enforced isolation has been vital.

We spent much of the day on a 12 mile walk, which I had said would be nine, and watching The Crown (now that I have finally relented and subscribed to Netflix). The first thing I did, though, on Christmas Day, was to empty the freezer of fruit, weigh it and put it into the bucket to defrost.

Much of the fruit

In the order in which this came from the freezer, this wine has:

  • 1 lb 10 oz blackberries
  • 6 oz yellow raspberries
  • 2 lbs 9 oz gooseberries
  • 2 oz blackcurrants
  • 1½ oz rosepetals
  • 1 lb 2½ oz elderberries
  • 4 oz red raspberries
  • 1 lb 9½ oz damsons
  • 3 oz red gooseberries
  • 1 lb ½ oz sloes
  • One clementine (2 oz) (which should have been a satsuma or a tangerine, but never mind)
That all comes to 9 lbs 2 oz of fruit - more than plenty for a double batch.

After attacking the fruit with a potato masher

It defrosted until Boxing Day morn, at which point I attacked the fruit with a potato masher and poured over 12 pints of boiling water. The wine received 5 lbs 11 oz sugar in time, but I only had 3 lbs of sugar at that point in the house, which went in and was stirred until it dissolved.

The discarded fruit

I added two teaspoons of yeast (a new variety - and I checked it was working before adding it), two of nutrient and one of pectolase together with the additional sugar on 27th December. By New Year's Eve, where in normal years we would be in Cambridge, this was ready to go into its demijohn. This was a slow process enlivened by a You're Dead to Me podcast about vampires in Romantic Victorian Literature, and it was clear that I could have used two pints less water in the recipe. The wine is an alarming and wonderful burgundy-with-a-splash-of-purple colour, but it looks like the sediment will be huge.

Two demijohns of alarmingly coloured wine

Saturday, 2 January 2021

Rhubarb Wine 2019 - Sixth Bottle (A3), 26th December 2020

Claire expressed mild surprise that this was a good bottle of wine. I had no doubts that it would be. Rhubarb is a reliable white (with a blush of pink): dry, light and refreshing.

We had the sort of Boxing Day that the 26th of December is made for. I did not leave the house and spent my day in the company of a jigsaw puzzle, a make-your-own gingerbread house, a book of lists and the television. A day of idleness and relaxation, and getting gently sozzled in the evening. How else should Boxing Day be spent?

The Gingerbread House before Construction

Friday, 1 January 2021

Xmas Tutti Fruti 2019 - Second Bottle (C5), 25th December 2020

This is an excellent bottle of wine. It has so much fruit packed into the taste that it is difficult to extract any one individual flavour. There is a real depth to the wine and I am delighted that there are still 16 bottles to go.

It was a quiet Christmas this year, for obvious reasons. Claire and I had a 12 mile walk to Shadwell, Thorner and back. Despite having done this walk twice this year already, I still managed to deviate from the route (a euphemism for 'get lost') on two occasions. Claire was good-naturedly scathing and it made the walk memorable.

A long, muddy, Christmas Day walk

Thursday, 31 December 2020

Gooseberry Wine 2019 - Fourth Bottle (4), 24th December 2020

In contravention of current law, Mom and Pop came over and we treated them to a cup of tea indoors. Had this been tomorrow, that would have been legal. It is a Looking Glass World in which we live. Mom was keen to see the advent windows, so we walked the street with Mom taking great care over getting a perfect photograph of each. I have rarely been so cold. It was wonderful to see them, though. The very worst thing about this Covid situation is not being able to spend time with those that you love.

As they left I opened this gooseberry wine, which is a decent bottle, and drank it, wanting to blur reality's edges for a short time.

One of our Advent Windows (but from the
inside during daylight hours)