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 17 June 2017

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

I have had possibly the most middle class, middle-aged weekend one could ever imagine. What is more, I have absolutely loved it. On Saturday night I went to a string quartet party and ate Italian cheese brought by a guest who is renovating a villa near Padua. On Sunday afternoon, Claire and I wandered around 17 gardens as part of Chapel Allerton's Open Garden Festival, and then sat in a bar to drink craft beer. I feel I have reached the zenith of the bourgeoisie. And making Mint, Elderflower & Rhubarb Wine hardly struggles against that particular mold.

The Base Ingredients

Our rhubarb is past its best, so I picked the majority of my 3 lbs the previous weekend, sliced it thinly and put it in the freezer. The defrosted rhubarb gave an air of limpness and exhaustion in its bowl.
The Elderflower tree I picked from

I went foraging for elderflowers on Sunday morning, 11th June and picked far more than I needed in half an hour (most of which was taken up with travelling to and from the source). I stripped the flowers from their stalks in the garden, achieving a discoloured thumbnail in the process. Doing this outside meant that the insects I had collected had an opportunity to escape and our windows would not be covered by tiny flies. I stopped stripping once I had a pint of flowers (this took about an hour) and I will compost the rest.

Elderflowers that went into the wine

For the mint, I gathered both spear and peppermint from our garden - a slightly larger handful than the two previous years, and sliced this up.

Spearmint from our garden

All the ingredients went into my bucket and I poured in six and a half pints of boiling water, releasing a heavy scent of both elderflower and mint into the kitchen. I then added 3 lbs of sugar. The yeast and a teaspoon each of pectolase, nutrient and tannin went in on Monday morning, 12th June, before I walked my six miles to work.

The ingredients in my bucket

I put the liquid into its demijohn on Friday evening. As I was pouring the last of the wine from the bucket into the jug, I heard a clunk of something solid hitting the jug. It was the half-ounce weight - made from brass. I had used this when weighing rhubarb and forgotten to remove it. It is now noticeably shinier than the other weights in its set and I fear that I have ruined the wine. If it has a metallic taste, this will be why.

Less pink than pure rhubarb
If you want to see how this wine turned out, click here.

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