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.

Sunday 30 November 2014

Gooseberry Wine - Fourth Bottle (5), 15th November 2014

As with the Wine Party last year, gooseberry was the evening's loser. It came twelfth out of twelve with an average score of 2.13 out of 5. I agree with this result - gooseberry was my choice of nastiest. Catherine thought it "like a tart sauvignon blanc with a sock left in it," and Rachel wrote "Hell in a glass". That is literally the most damning review I have had. Lindsay poured hers down the sink. "Like alcoholic punk music" was Matthew's take. Overall not a success. But I think this was one of the best parties I have held.

Me - at the end of the Wine Party

Saturday 29 November 2014

Rose Petal Wine - Sixth Bottle (B5), 15th November 2014

I am genuinely surprised that Rose Petal came second to last place at my Wine Party. And that is by adjusting Lindsay's score of minus five to zero. I personally think this is one of my best, and it was Catherine's favourite. She has excellent taste. Overall its score was 2.39 out of 5. Richard and Rick both commented on its bitterness. Matthew wrote "I feel like I'm drinking something my mum would wear."

By the end of the evening I poured all wine that was left into one bottle, and this was less than half full. I think that suggests a successful party.

Friday 28 November 2014

Peach & Banana Wine - Third Bottle (3), 15th November 2014

For this year's Wine Party I asked guests to choose which wines I served. I had more requests for Peach & Banana than any other. It is ironic, then, that this flavour got most votes for 'Worst'. Despite this, it avoided last place - coming tenth with an average score of 2.4. Lindsay really liked it, commenting that it needed a cocktail umbrella, possibly a sparkler. Other people were less generous: 'Hints of earwax' from Catherine, 'Musty toilet cleaning pineapple chunks' from Rachel, 'Smells of celery' from Katie and 'Just no' from Becky.

Thursday 27 November 2014

Whitecurrant Wine - Third Bottle (2), 15th November 2014

We are getting into the realms of the Distinctly Unpopular. This wine came ninth in the Wine Party, scoring an average of 2.869. Two people declared it their worst. I think that is unfair. However, two people gave it top marks.

This wine party, more than any other, has been marked by a lack of agreement. Rachel described this bottle as 'cheek-sucking drain cleaner', whereas Lindsay wrote 'Liquid Stilton. In a good way', and gave it a 5. Vicky poured hers down the sink, and both Ros and Alex wrote simply "No".

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Blackcurrant Wine - Third Bottle (6), 15th November 2014

This was the first bottle I opened at the Wine Party and I thought one of my better ones. Sadly my guests did not agree. It came eighth out of twelve and its average score only reached 2.893. Rachel thought it was lovely, but only after she had drunk several other flavours. Matthew described it as a short, sharp shock and as the sourest of my wines (but still gave it a 3.5).

We ate well at the party: Claire made a chicken chilli and Boston Baked Beans and I spent an eye watering amount on cheese (about £65). No-one went away hungry.

Monday 24 November 2014

Christmas Tutti Fruti - Tenth Bottle (A4), 15th November 2014

We are now into the realms of the Wine Party's bottom half. Christmas Tutti Fruti came seventh out of twelve, with an average score of 3.286. Katie summed it up with "not awful". Actually, it was better than that - just a little thin and bland.

One of the benefits of the wine party is that I end up with a tidy house. It takes a lot of work getting there, but I enjoy that 15 minutes of stillness before anyone arrives and everything is done. It is a time to relax and pretend that I am the sort of person who can live an ordered existence.

Sunday 23 November 2014

Apple Wine - Second Bottle (1), 15th November 2014

This bottle really split opinions at the Wine Party. Two people scored it a 'One' and two others gave it a 'Five'. I thought this was one the worst, but it came sixth of twelve, getting 3.375 on average. Katie said it tasted of dentist's mouthwash, but several people commented on its freshness. These aren't mutually exclusive, of course. Matthew thought it would be lovely with a ploughman's lunch. Personally I thought it thin, dry and bland. So, a whole range of opinions there.

A Ploughman's Lunch

Saturday 22 November 2014

Blackberry Wine - Fifth Bottle (C5), 15th November 2014

Of all the wines at the Wine Party, this was my favourite. Despite this, it was a mid-ranking wine, coming fifth out of twelve, with an overall score of 3.45. Catherine thought it deep and earthy but without body (which makes it sound like an open grave), whereas Richard specifically commented on its good body.

I am always surprised at how different opinions are about the same drink. Lindsay hated it: "Vimto is not nice and nor is this". But she hated Rose Petal more, and that is another of my favourites. Very odd.

Friday 21 November 2014

Strawberry Wine - Second Bottle (4), 15th November 2014

This bottle was fourth out of twelve at 2014's Wine Party, getting a respectable 3.55 out of 5. Only one person thought it was poor, saying it was too sweet. Otherwise people liked it. Rachel was most eloquent, writing "Smells of summer - fruity alcoholic fruit juice".

It was an excellent party. There were 18 of us and I think everyone had a good time. I certainly did. The last guest to leave was Matthew, who went about half midnight and, unusually for me, I was not desperate to get to bed.

Thursday 20 November 2014

Cherry Wine - Second Bottle (1), 15th November 2014

Of the wines I made and presented at the Wine Party, this came top with an average of 3.63 out of 5. It was third overall, though; not that I am bitter. Catherine thought it was let down by its aroma but Katie said its smell was reminiscent of buttercup syrup (which I have never heard of). Lindsay, Anthony and Matthew all noted its medicinal qualities. Two people hated it: Alex wrote "You have poisoned my girlfriend" and someone (I suspect Vicky - said girlfriend) commented "brought on wrinkles". I can't please everyone.

Monday 17 November 2014

Julia's Wine - Redcurrant 1994 - 15th November 2014

There were only two wines served at my wine party that achieved a higher score than 4 (out of 5). I did not make either of them. Julia's Redcurrant came second with 4.108, and I imagine she would have been delighted. Her wine did not taste much of its base fruit and, as I imagine happens with all aged country wines, appears to have turned into sherry. It was lovely, though, and the guests agreed. Those that got a taste. Ros, Alex and Vicky confessed that they were responsible for this being the first empty bottle of the evening.

Sunday 16 November 2014

Colin Shreeve's Rhubarb Wine (1987) - 15th November 2014

It was the Wine Party last night. One of the guests - Becky, a colleague of Claire's - brought her parents. Her father, a farmer's son from Norfolk, used to make wine and came with a bottle of 'Rhubarb 1987'. He was nervous about presenting it but needen't have been. It won the competition hands down. Three guests voted it their favourite, and its average score was a whopping 4.425 out of 5. My nose wasn't put out of joint. No, not at all.

The wine as delicious and had retained a deep pink colour. It tasted more like sherry than anything, and shows that aging wine may be the way forward. If only I had even the slightest bit of patience.

Friday 14 November 2014

Rhubarb Wine 2012 - Final Bottle (A1), 12th-13th November 2014

I put this bottle in the fridge shortly before Claire told me that we needed something nice to drink. She is not a huge fan of rhubarb and I offered to swap it, but she was in such a bad mood that she told me it was "fine" and I daredn't argue. The bureaucrats at Claire's work are insisting that she moves from an office that she likes, and no-one else much wants (for reasons of its thinness and pentagonal shape) into one that has very little light, not enough sockets, no shelving and a 1970s carpet full of oranges and browns. Claire has no say in this and feels like she is being treated as a piece of furniture.

I think two glasses of rhubarb wine helped - it was fizzy and cold and sweet, and we drank it to an episode of QI after a Brahms rehearsal.

Sunday 9 November 2014

Crab Apple Wine - Sixth Bottle (C1), 8th November 2014

I'm really cross - and over something so trivial as well. I have just watched the final episode of the current series of Doctor Who, and it was poor. After last week's superb episode, I feel cheated. And they killed a recurring character, who I liked, for no reason whatsoever. Unforgivable. So this bottle of wine (the first of my own for over a week) has not been a happy experience. The meal it accompanied, though, was delicious - three different curries and Surprising Rice. And the day as a whole has been good - mostly rehearsing Mozart's Requiem for tomorrow's concert. My biggest failure has been to start the first movement double speed, bringing the whole thing to a crashing halt. I must remember not to do this tomorrow.

Thursday 6 November 2014

Orange Wine - Eighth Bottle (B5), 31st October 2014

It is not yet ten o'clock and I am massively sleepy. This bottle was pretty much empty by eight. We drank most of it to a particularly colourful and tasty 'the Sick and the Weak' Friday night meal: brown lentils and sea bass that had been in the freezer for quite some time, fried polenta cakes, cabbage and a tomato sauce with searingly hot chillies. After this we watched the first episode of Life Story - a David Attenborough documentary. Claire thought it manipulative and false, and could not forgive tis anthropomorphising. I understand her arguments, but can can you possibly not love something with baby meercats, barnacle geese and lion cubs playing?

Sunday 2 November 2014

Ginger Wine - Fourth Bottle (6), 29th-30th October 2014

Whilst definitely gingery, this wine has something about it that is cloying. It is drinkable, certainly, but not one of my best. What I have discovered, however, is that it is improved substantially by even a drop of cheap whisky. That adds a sharpness and definition that is otherwise missing.

On Thursday Claire demanded a glass as soon as she walked through the door. Her day had involved lots of brain power and she needed something restorative. We then went to the theatre to see Northern Broadside's production of She Stoops to Conquer, which was excellent. Broad comedy with superb physical humour, and just gorgeous to look at.

On my return I drained the bottle - adding just a dash of Sainsbury's Own Bland Basics Whisky.