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 29 December 2015

Christmas Tutti Fruti - First Bottle (A6), 25th-26th December 2015

We started this Tutti Fruti at the end of our Christmas meal. It is a sweet vintage, and too sweet for savoury food. Tasty, though. I can detect many autumn fruits and rose petals.

It has been a sedate Christmas, insofar as that can be true in the company of Taylors. We had a present lottery, and I got 400 post-it notes (quickly swapped for four pencils) and some anti-bacterial handwash. A great deal of thought and expense went into those gifts.

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

Sunday 27 December 2015

Christmas Tutti Fruti - Final Bottle (B3), 25th December 2015

It is our first Christmas in the new house. Having four proper bedrooms and (now) four proper beds, we are hosting Bob, Judith, Andrew & Susanna. It is one of the things that I am most pleased about - having enough space for guests.

This is Judith's first Christmas in 46 years where she has not been doing the cooking. Claire took this role and produced an amazing, colourful Christmas feast. We had confit of duck, roast potatoes, red cabbage, mushy peas, cranberry sauce, nasty evil sprouts (I actually quite like them), four smeet balls, onion gravy and probably more besides. The wine was delicious too: fruity and rich. This vintage will be missed.

Thursday 24 December 2015

Blackcurrant Wine - Ninth Bottle (C4), 19th December 2015

Our carpet has a red wine stain where Chris kicked over his bottle. I was most concerned about the loss of a glass of wine. The carpet is threadbare and stained anyway, and this is another reason to replace it. We shouldn't have opened this bottle, though - it was our third (between three) and seemed like a good idea at the time. Blackcurrant is delicious - Chris said so, so it must be true. Having so much to drink made for a poor night's sleep and a relatively sober Sunday.

Wednesday 23 December 2015

Crab Apple & Strawberry Wine - Final Bottle (6), 19th December 2015

We started drinking once it was dark. At this time of year that means shortly after four. Chris was visiting and he and Claire had just made his bed. Literally. It was a flat-pack, self-assembly sofa bed. Mostly I stood around and watched.

Chris asked for something refreshing and dry. This wine is both of those things and is really rather good. It was a reward for a job well done.

Sunday 20 December 2015

Orange Wine - Ninth Bottle (B4), 15th-16th December 2015

One of the very worst things about Christmas is doing the Christmas shop. A week and a half ago, on a Sunday, Sainsburys was bedlam. Just awful. Therefore we did our main shop on Wednesday night and this was far better (except for the dreadful music piped through the aisles). Still, we deserved some alcohol after this, and there was most of a bottle of orange wine left in the fridge. It was welcome relief, and slipped down nicely as we watched an episode of Mad Men on DVD.

Friday 18 December 2015

Blackberry Wine - Fifth Bottle (A6), 13th December 2015

It has been a long time since Claire and I had a quiet Sunday. But for the first time in months, we didn't have to go anywhere, paint anything or visit the tip with armfuls of junk. We did tidy the attic, but much of that was fun - consolidating personal history and looking through family albums, including letters written in the 1860s from one ancestor to another.

The wine was drunk quietly in front of the stove, as we watched flames dance around logs. Blackberry is a fine winter wine, made for evenings like this.

Thursday 17 December 2015

Crab Apple Wine - Seventh Bottle (B5), 12th December 2015

I have left this bottle in 14 Carr Manor Mount's fridge as a house-warming present for John. When we moved there in 1998 the previous owner, Jean, had left us a bottle of wine and it was just a really nice gesture. Crab apple wine was the natural choice - it having been made from the apples of the tree in the garden. I hope John drinks. Of more practical benefit, we have also left him a cooker, the fridge-freezer, a washing machine, two useful pans and the remnants of several tins of paint. Actually,  maybe that last one will sit in the attic for eternity.

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Prune & Parsnip Wine - Eighth Bottle (B5), 11th-12th December 2015

Claire opened this bottle while I was galavanting at the Work Christmas Do. It was in the Sky Lounge on the 13th floor of Double Tree Hilton, with floor to ceiling windows. The view across night-time Leeds was a carpet of points of light. But what most occupied my mind was our house-sale. John's solicitors sent the money on Friday morning, specifying the correct bank details, and the money has yet to arrive. A six figure sum is out there somewhere, floating in the ether. Though I have released keys anyway, we technically still own 14 Carr Manor Mount, and every time I think about possible consequences my stomach lurches.

None of that is about the wine, however. I managed a glass and a half in front of the stove on Saturday and enjoyed it.

The Sky Lounge during the day

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Christmas Tutti Fruti Wine - Eleventh Bottle (B6), 5th December 2015

Third bottles are often regrettable when there are four of you drinking, and this was no exception. Delicious - a really good red and I think it is the rose petals that do it - but regrettable. Too much of a good thing is still too much. It was a lovely night, though. Rachel & Duncan came over and we shared a roast chicken. The evening remains a bit of a blur, however. I can't understand why.

Monday 14 December 2015

Rhubarb Wine - Final Bottle (A4), 5th December 2015

It was fitting that having had a bottle of rhubarb wine as our last bottle at our old house, our first bottle of home made wine at the new house should also be rhubarb. Different vintages, of course, and in fact our genuine first bottle was a velvety smooth red from Washington State.

Rachel and Duncan arrived with a chicken to roast in our new oven. Claire attended to this whilst I concentrated on the wine. I think we had finished the bottle before the chicken was out and carved, but we had to toast the house properly. It already feels like Home. The place is in chaos, there are boxes and books everywhere, I rarely get the right cupboard when looking for things in the kitchen. But it is ours, and we have already made our mark.


Friday 11 December 2015

Rhubarb Wine - Sixth Bottle (A3), 1st December 2015

So, tonight is our last night at 14 Carr Manor Mount. We have lived here since April 1998 and it is therefore (just) the house at which I have lived the longest. I was going to open a real bottle of red, but Claire argued convincingly that a bottle made from garden ingredients would be more appropriate. And it is a good bottle - resembling real white.

The evening has been oddly normal, despite being surrounded by boxes and empty book cases. I have played on the computer, cleared up cat sick and am about to do the dishes. That is the way it should be.

Thank you House. You have been fantastic.

Thursday 10 December 2015

Elderberry Wine - Second Bottle (A6), 27th-29th November 2015

This was our final Thanksgiving bottle, opened on the Friday when we were entertaining Sooz, Andrew, Rachel & Duncan. To be honest, good as the wine was (and it is a fine vintage of elderberry wine, full of rich and dark flavours) it was a bottle too far. We drank half of it and I then spent a teetotal Saturday. This Saturday mostly involved the WYSO winter concert with Tchaikovsky's scary Fourth Symphony. My lip survived and I was moderately pleased with my solos.

Claire and I finished the bottle on Sunday after a day clearing the attic - a long job made all the less tedious by Rachel & Duncan forming an industrious chain.

A small proportion of the attic to clear

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Rose Petal Wine - Sixth Bottle (A3), 27th November 2015

Rachel and Duncan came for Thanksgiving II, which meant a bottle of rose petal wine was virtually obligatory. It is Rachel's favourite, and its sweet, perfumed taste went particularly well with the sweet potato, mashed with chilli and lime.

Earlier in the day the House came on in leaps and bounds. The kitchen is now fitted (though there is no electricity yet) and Andrew and I laid carpets. Both of these transform the place. Rather than looking like a building site, it now looks like a home. This is a good thing because we will be living there in less than a week.

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Blackcurrant Wine - Eighth Bottle (A1), 26th-27th November 2015

I opened this for our final bottle of Thanksgiving, and we finished it during Thanksgiving II. This year I bought a fairly small turkey (5.2 kg) and it did for two meals - thirteen hungry adults, of whom only one was a vegetarian. The leftovers are scant but not non-existent. I certainly enjoyed the blackcurrant wine (perhaps a little too much - I drank nothing alcoholic on Saturday) but I did not gauge anyone else's reaction. This suggests they enjoyed it.

Monday 7 December 2015

Dandelion Wine - Second Bottle (6), 26th November 2015

What could possibly say 'Thanksgiving' more than a bottle of homemade Dandelion Wine? This was our first bottle of the evening after a round of whisky macs, and everyone thought it a 'Hit'. It is very reminiscent of sherry, though sherry with a touch of vegetable, and I was told that even Claire's grandmother might have approved. It being Thanksgiving we had a couple of Americans over - Linda and Rory, plus Richard (of course), Andrew and Sooz. It was a lovely evening with too much food and lots of good conversation. And Linda's pumpkin pie was the best I think she has ever done.

Friday 4 December 2015

Orange Wine - Eighth Bottle (A3), 25th November 2015

I committed an act of moral repugnancy while drinking this bottle of orange wine. I wrote Christmas cards. In November. This is against all that I know to be good and true. Hence finishing a bottle of wine on a Wednesday night (and that I am now on holiday for a few days). Claire forced me into it - the Christmas cards, not the wine - arguing that we had to send cards early to let people know our new address. It just feels so wrong. Still, at least they are done - and I was able to drink orange wine in the process, so perhaps it isn't all bad.

Thursday 3 December 2015

Exotic Tinned Fruit - Final Bottle, 23rd-24th November 2015

I had remembered this flavour as being somewhat nasty with a chemical aftertaste. It was therefore a surprise to discover that leaving the wine for over three and a half years from making made it more than palatable. This has reached the realms of "rather good", and it is a shame that there are no more bottles left.

I was on holiday when this was opened, just for a day. I spent it painting a ceiling. I can think of better ways to spend a day off. But the move date approaches (rapidly) and the more ceilings painted, the better.

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Blackcurrant Wine - Seventh Bottle (A2), 21st-22nd November 2015

It is rare that I go to a concert in which I am not playing, but that was the case on Saturday night. Chris, the clarinettist in Tony's quintet, was the soloist in Mozart's Clarinet Concerto with Harrogate Phil, and three-quarters of the remaining quintet were there to cheer him on. I felt properly nervous as Chris played but, of course, he was brilliant. At the end of long semiquaver passages he visibly gasped for air as a diver might coming up from ocean depths.

On our return I opened up a bottle of blackcurrant, and it was lovely with its alcoholic Ribena taste. We finished it on Sunday after I had spent most the day up a ladder painting an acre of ceiling.