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.

Thursday 28 June 2018

Blackcurrant Wine - Fifth Bottle (4), 21st-22nd June 2018

I was at Pat & Peter's on Thursday night when Claire opened this, though I had a fortifying glass on my return. This left over half the bottle for Friday, and half a bottle between two on a Friday night is distinctly Not Enough. We solved that particular problem by drinking margheritas in the garden, enjoying our summer heat and then went for a Chinese Takeaway, which I have not done for many, many years. The alternative would have involved turning half a leek and three carrots into something edible, as this was all we had in the fridge. Even with half a bottle of blackcurrant wine, that would have been an unsatisfactory meal.

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Crab Apple Wine - 25th Bottle (C5), 17th June 2018

A lazy Sunday evening bottle. We drank most of it before the food was on the table - which is about par for the course, but managed to save enough for one glass each to roast poussin and seasonal vegetables. By the time pudding appeared, the wine was gone and we had to make do with bush tea thereafter.

Earlier in the day I was uncharacteristically practical. We have bought two self-assembly rose arches and, under Claire's direction, I managed to assemble one of them. There was very little swearing involved. Now all we need are climbing roses.

The wine continues to be tasty - and I had thought that crab apple wine was best drunk young.

Friday 22 June 2018

Rhubarb Wine - Second Bottle (B5), 15th June 2018

A Friday night on Bentcliffe Drive, and this was the fifth bottle opened and finished between the six of us. I think I had more than my fair share of those bottles too, so I have not opened one for Saturday. It was an evening with our neighbours and the theme was 'Indian'. By the time we had finished our marmalade kulfi and gulabjam, it was clear that a Rhubarb wine was required. Liz says that it is different to hers, and we are now planning an evening dedicated to alcoholic rhubarb. I still have bottles left from 2015 and 2016, and we have rhubarb gin in the cupboard. This plan has potential.

Wednesday 20 June 2018

Elderberry Wine 2014 - Eleventh Bottle (B1), 15th June 2018

When eating curry with guests, a mature bottle of elderberry wine is the one to choose. Claire cooked three sorts of curry - Sindhi lamb, a dall and something involving tiny cucumbers - and made a couple of dips. We had Liz, David, Angie and Phil over. The food was exquisite and the wine accompanied it well, though was fizzier than ideal. Call me traditional, but I think I prefer my red wines flat. Still, it had a rounded and pleasant taste that held its own against the strong flavours in our meal. The evening was drunken and entertaining - and I needed that after a busy and difficult week at work.

Monday 18 June 2018

Apple Wine - Third Bottle (2), 12th-13th June 2018

This was unexpectedly delicious. I had remembered my apple wine to be bearable and the sort of wine one might open on a Tuesday. It was far better than that (though I did, in fact, open it on a Tuesday). There is a crisp freshness to this wine and a distinct apple taste.

Tuesday had been a moderately difficult day at work - I'm having to choose between firms of insurance brokers - one of whom I love, but is expensive and the other of whom I feel is shiny and superficial, but is significantly cheaper (by several thousand pounds). It is obvious who I need to choose, but I hate it. Hence a couple of glasses of apple wine being welcome.

We finished the bottle after WYSO on Wednesday, when I was cross and tired. It was another welcome glass.

Saturday 16 June 2018

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

Quiet weekends are a marvellous thing. Whereas last weekend was a whistle-stop tour of Newcastle and family, this weekend has had nothing specific planned. A perfect opportunity to indulge in some wine-making. And, in fact, Rhubarb, Mint & Elderflower is one of those wines which requires much of the day to be set aside. I didn't help myself by also deciding to bottle 3 demijohns of blackberry wine. Rinsing and sterilising 18 bottles is perhaps not the speediest or most interesting aspect of the wine-making process.

And elder tree in bloom
On Saturday, 9th June, early afternoon, I set out to Allerton Grange fields with plastic bag in hand. The elderflowers are a week earlier than usual and gave off more pollen than I remember seeing before as I picked them. I concentrated on the blooms with a hint of citrus yellow and only took a few per tree. This bit of the elderflower process takes no time at all and I came away with less than half a bag full.

Not quite a pint of elderflowers and rhubarb sticks
It was the next bit that was tedious in the extreme; stripping the flowers from their stalks. I did this outside so that the tiny flies could roam free (and not end up covering our windows) and it took me over an hour. Even at the start I was not particularly careful about avoiding the thinnest bit of the stalks, and by the end I cared not a jot. This produced a little less than a pint of flowers, which is Good Enough.

Spear mint from our garden
I plucked just over 3 lbs of rhubarb stalks from our garden, sliced these up - they are starting to get woody - and put these in the bucket. I added the elderflowers and a medium sized handful of mint - both pepper and spear (but not water-mint which is unpleasantly bitter) - which I shredded.

The main ingredients in the bucket
I poured in 3 lbs of sugar and 6½ pints of boiling water, gave it all a stir and left it over night. On Sunday morning I added the yeast and a teaspoon each of pectolase & nutrient.

I put this into the demijohn on my birthday (Thursday) whilst drinking pink champagne. The wine will not be suitable for vegans. It has a number of black specks, which I assume are tiny drowned flies. Still, it is a pretty pink colour.

The end result

Thursday 14 June 2018

Mint, Elderflower & Rhubarb Wine - First Bottle (3), 8th June 2018

But for its clarity, I think we have another winner. This wine has a several-note depth to it. The first taste is a light elderflower, but it is rhubarb that provides the wine's body. Then, right at the end, there is a hint of mint - more a freshness than a flavour. It is a pity, then, that the wine is not entirely clear. Rhubarb-based wines should glow with a touch of bronze. This has the look of puddle water.

We drank the bottle after I had had a busy Friday at work where I spent much of the day irritable (and looking forward to a drink). Claire lit a fire - in June! Where has our glorious weather gone? And we both fell asleep on the sofa whilst trying to watch Midsomer Murders.

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

Tuesday 12 June 2018

Blackberry Wine - Tenth Bottle (A5), 6th-8th June 2018

On our return from WYSO on Wednesday night, Claire was grouchy. WYSO itself had been a good rehearsal - it needed to be: our Pontefract Castle concert is in a fortnight and we don't want to embarrass ourselves. But Claire was inexplicably cross. Half a bottle of blackberry wine and a tube of dill-pickle flavoured Pringles later, things were rather rosier. Funny that.

This batch of blackberry continues to fall into the category of "A Little Disappointing", making it perfect mid-week drinking. The Pringles were both odd and interesting - neither of which you necessarily want in a crisp.

Saturday 9 June 2018

Orange Wine - Third Bottle (B4), 28th May 2018

Drunk on a Bank Holiday Monday. Like the previous bank holiday, the weather has been glorious. I have spent some of it in York, some of it in Leeds and much of it in the garden, finishing Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café. This is a lovely book - unsubtle, yes and shamelessly pushing emotional buttons - but entirely charming and full of joy in the human spirit. It has been a while since a book has made me cry.

The orange wine was meant to accompany duck stew, but we has pretty much finished it by the time we ate. As I say, drunk on a bank holiday Monday.

Monday 4 June 2018

Rose Petal Wine - Eleventh Bottle (A4), 27th May 2018

We have had a lovely afternoon and evening in York. It being a Sunday, Pop cooked Big Breakfast with four types of sausage. An old German student of his, Maya, and her two young sons were staying. The boys, 7 and 10, recited the whole of Wordsworth's Daffodils while I was eating watermelon - one of the week's more surreal moments.

In the evening I opened this bottle of rose petal wine, which was only okay though Pop said he liked it, and watched A Very English Scandal - a drama about the Jeremy Thorpe affair starring Hugh Grant. If all was true, it was barely credible.

Saturday 2 June 2018

Xmas Tutti Fruti - Fourth Bottle (B1), 22nd-24th May 2018

The Bridge is back on television, which is excellent news. I do like a bit of Scandi-Noir. I binged on two episodes on Tuesday night and it looks as if this series will be just as tricksy as its three predecessors.

I drank my first glass and a half from this bottle while watching it - the wine is fine: light for a red, without the complex fruitiness I sometimes get from Tutti Fruti. Entirely drinkable nonetheless. We finished the bottle of the next two nights, but with little to report. (And may I take this opportunity to apologise for such a dull post!)