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 27 February 2018

Rhubarb Wine - Twelfth Bottle (C2), 17th-21st February 2018

On Saturday night, as Oscar season approaches, Claire and I watched La La Land, the movie which nearly won last year. It was alright, but both of us were surprised about its adulation. It is no Singin' in the Rain or Cabaret (neither of which won the Oscar either). What impressed me most were the long takes and the not quite Hollywood ending (but with a nod to Casablanca).

Accompanying this was a bottle of Rhubarb Wine, which is always a winner. We stretched the bottle from Saturday to Wednesday, which is unheard of. I had one glass on Sunday after a glass of real red, and the contrast made me realise quite how sweet my homemade wines are.

Saturday 24 February 2018

Blackberry Wine - Sixth Bottle (B3), 16th-17th February 2018

Maybe I should start drinking a little less. What I chiefly remember about this bottle is Saturday morning's headache. On Friday night we finished the orange wine (of which I had two glasses) and then started on this blackberry (at least another two). A headache intruded into my sleep and took most the morning to go. Claire is already drinking less, so what I am not to do is to make up her share. It isn't as if this blackberry is worth the hangover. It is fine - unmistakably blackberry in flavour with a slight fizz, but it is not its sumptuous best. Certainly on Saturday night I drank less and feel fine this Sunday morning.

Thursday 22 February 2018

Orange Wine - Ninth Bottle (B3), 13th-16th February 2018

I had Tuesday night in, and having avoided any booze on Sunday and Monday, I fancied a glass or two of wine. Claire is drinking less to see if her sleep improves, so she did not join in until Thursday. Thus far there has been no noticeable change, but it is early days.

We stretched the bottle until Friday evening. The four days it was open were unremarkable: on Wednesday I started watching Collateral - a BBC thriller with an amazing cast, and I can see that I will be gripped throughout. However, that is as exciting as things got.

Three members of an amazing cast

Thursday 15 February 2018

Fig Wine - Third Bottle (5), 10th February 2018

We were over in York for this bottle of wine. Our last visit had been September and that is too long. It is lovely spending a relaxed, drunken evening with my parents. Pop cooked fish, Mom did the vegetables and pudding, and I opened the bottle.

This wine has a fizz to it and there is less body than previous vintages of Fig. However, it is one of those wines that is a 'grower': the first sip is uninteresting, but it curiously improves down the glass. Or is that just my faculties dimming?

Tuesday 13 February 2018

Prune & Parsnip Wine - First Bottle (A1), 9th February 2018

This prune & parsnip is drier than previous batches. It retains its sherry-like flavour but has moved away from its resemblance to Croft Original. I cannot detect parsnip and I when I mentioned this, Claire replied "You say that like it's a bad thing".  Claire and parsnips are not the best of friends. I think this wine may be more alcoholic than most. Usually I still feel relatively sober after half a bottle of wine. Not on this occasion. It made concentrating on Lewis for two hours more difficult than it might otherwise have been.

If you want to see how I made this wine, either read the post immediately posted before or (for this particular vintage) click here.

Saturday 10 February 2018

Prune & Parsnip Wine 2018 - The Making Of...

February is not my favourite month. I don't think it falls within my top ten. The only good things about it are Valentine's Day (which is overrated), Shrove Tuesday (and we usually forget to have pancakes) and Prune & Parsnip Wine. Otherwise it is cold and wet and dark. Yesterday was particularly poor. It pissed it down all day. I had been looking forward to a quiet weekend in which I could do helpful things in the garden. It has certainly been quiet and actually I got into the garden today (4th February) and started clearing our patch of grass land (a failed experiment which mostly produced buttercups).

The base ingredients
Today, though, has been a perfect day to begin my Prune & Parsnip wine - a day when I haven't needed to be anywhere or do anything. I started off by dicing 4 lbs of parsnips (being extra careful not to sever my fingers) and boiling these in 16 (UK) pints of water. I did this in two halves and each half got 30 minutes of simmering, once the water containing the parsnips had come to the boil.

Half the parsnips chopped up and in the pan
While the first lot was on the hob, I chopped up 1 lb of prunes and put these in the bucket with 5 lbs 9 oz sugar.

All the prunes and sugar
Once the parsnips had received their allotted boiling time, I poured the water into the bucket, catching the parsnips in a colander. These were put in the bin - I suggested them as a pizza topping but Claire was not keen.

I added the yeast and a bit more than a teaspoon each of nutrient and pectolase the following morning (Monday). Whilst the wine was in its bucket the aroma was pure parsnip - not something I remember from previous batches. I stirred it once or twice a day and put the wine into its two demijohns on Friday evening, 9th February. To avoid liquid frothing through the air trap and all over the kitchen, I left a large gap in each demijohn, storing excess wine in a bottle. Saturday morning I started the topping up process, which will probably take a few days.

This is, by far and away, the brownest of all my wines.

If you want to see how this wine turned out, click here.

Thursday 8 February 2018

Strawberry Wine - Third Bottle (6), 4th February 2018

I opened this bottle as a direct comparison for Strawberry 2017, which I bottled this afternoon. We had a difference of opinion: Claire preferred the more recent vintage whereas I liked this one better. We drank it to home-made pizza with molten mozzarella - the lining to the roof of my mouth has disintegrated - and watched an episode of QI. It being a Sunday night, I am drunker than I should be and am trying to sober up with bush tea. So far this is less successful than I would like. Still, tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Crab Apple Wine - 23rd Bottle (C3), 3rd February 2018

I nearly took this bottle with me to Book Group, but decided that a Rioja would be more acceptable. This was the correct decision, I think. There isn't anything wrong with this crab apple, but presenting it at Book Group at someone else's house would be a little weird. Instead, we drank it on Saturday after a day of doing not much at all - mostly lying on the chaise-longue reading The Wimbledon Poisoner (not a book I would recommend, but rather lighter than East West Street). Claire cooked a fabulous fish stew and we watched Lewis whilst finishing the bottle. Lewis was well plotted and entertaining; the bottle was a bog-standard crab apple.

Friday 2 February 2018

Blackcurrant Wine - Third Bottle (2), 27th January 2018

This bottle of blackcurrant wine rounded off an excellent day. Chris and Kate came over, and the first thing we did was to experience an Escape Room. This is a concept where you are locked in a room for an hour with a series of puzzles to solve against the clock. It was a huge amount of fun, and we did it with 3 minutes to spare. Then we chatted to Todd and Anne via Skype, planning our trip to San Francisco in October and catching up generally. Finally, we had a wonderful meal of various curries made by Claire. I know that none of that makes interesting reading but good days rarely do!

The wine was far better than the Mango wine finished earlier, but that sets a low bar.

The Escape Room from which we escaped