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 30 October 2018

Jasmine Tea Wine - First Bottle (4), 26th October 2018

On my first sip of this wine I thought "This is strange. I wonder if I like it." There was a certain heaviness and something cloying. Jasmine Tea Wine is some distance from being a crisp white. My second and subsequent sips proved that yes, in fact, I did like it. As well as its weight, there is a perfumed taste on top, which will be the Jasmine Tea, and that makes all the difference. It is certainly better than straight Tea Wine.

We drank the bottle while watching the Rosa Parks episode of Doctor Who, which I loved. I'm still getting used to the new Doctor, though. I think she's fine but I need familiarity.

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

Sunday 28 October 2018

Rose Petal & Orange Wine - Second Bottle (5), 24th-25th October 2018

Wednesday evening was dominated by Beethoven. We are playing his Sixth Symphony at WYSO, and it is a long, high blow for first bassoon. By the end of the evening my lip had collapsed and a restorative glass of wine was welcome. Rose petal & orange is a great mix: complex and interesting. Towards the end of my glass I added a dash of whisky and I thought that worked too (though Claire tried it and disagreed).

On Thursday we finished the bottle to The Great British Bake Off's semi-final - which had been ruined for me earlier in the day by a colleague who revealed the result. I told him "Actually, I'm very cross about that". He is only new to the firm, and young - so maybe I overreacted.

Saturday 27 October 2018

Halloween Wine - The Making Of...

Summer Soft Fruit

The summer of 2018 produced a bonanza of soft fruit. I stored much of our garden's harvest in the freezer. Claire would argue too much. There has been little space for anything else. Of course I exaggerate, but certainly two of the four drawers have become jam-packed. Therefore, at Claire's suggestion, rather than wait until Christmas to do a double batch of Tutti Fruti, I have done a single batch of mixed fruit wine now and will do another in late December.

A freezer bursting at the seams
On Saturday morning, 20th October, I pulled out about half the fruit from the freezer, weighed it and left it in a large mixing bowl to defrost. I made careful notes about how much of each fruit I used and, irritatingly, in the intervening six days those notes have gone missing. I know that the dominant fruit was blackcurrant - at 2 lbs 2 oz - and that I used 6 lbs fruit overall (which may be too much). Otherwise, all I can tell you is that the wine also contains raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, sloes, an apple or two and a handful of white rose petals.

The fruit defrosting in a bowl
I chopped the apple into small-ish chunks and then waited until the evening, when everything was mostly defrosted, put the fruit into my bucket and gave it all a good mashing. I boiled 6 pints of water, poured this over and added 2 lbs 12 oz sugar, giving it all a good stir. On Sunday morning I put in one teaspoon each of yeast, nutrient and pectolase.

The fruit once mashed
Once I was certain that this was fermenting, on Monday evening 22nd October, I sliced some of a red chilli thinly, making sure that I got at least a couple of seeds, and put this into the mix. I have read that chilli peppers can block fermentation, hence the wait - and the small quantity. There is probably too little chilli to give this wine a kick in any event. However, in honour of the chilli and the time of year I have named this mix 'Halloween Wine'.

I put in just a little bit more chilli than that sliced
I had a rare night in on Thursday 25th October and used the time to put the wine into its demijohn. This was a longer job than anticipated. Due to the amount of fruit and its ratio to the water, the mixture was thick and took an age for each jug-full to drain through the sieve. The wine is the colour that I had expected (maroon) and the sediment could end up being a third of the demijohn.

The wine in its demijohn plus the discarded fruit
If you want to see how this wine turned out, click here.

Wednesday 24 October 2018

Rhubarb Wine - Fifth Bottle (C6), 21st October 2018

I opened this bottle on Sunday night after returning from a terrific concert in Leeds Town Hall. We were playing crowd-pleasing patriotic guff and the 1812 Overture (though no actual cannons) and the audience loved it. A great cheer arose as we finished - and I think not a cheer of relief. My parents and Nancy Voynow were in that audience and returned to ours for a meal. Nancy asked for a glass of white wine so I gave her a glass of rhubarb without telling her what it was. When she was several sips through I confessed all - though rhubarb (oddly) is quite close to real white. Nancy said she enjoyed it - and let's face it: what's not to like?

The interior of Leeds Town Hall - a ridiculous wedding cake of a building

Saturday 20 October 2018

Blackberry Wine - Twelfth Bottle (C5), 18th-19th October 2018

Back to normal life after a fortnight in America. It hasn't been a bad week, all told. Okay, the cats have returned from the cattery with fleas and work has been busy (though not awful), but both of those were foreseeable. Claire returned home late on Thursday so I opened her a bottle of blackberry wine before dashing out to Pat & Peter's (where we played particularly untunefully - they were on C clarinets). I had a glass on my return - there was an initial blackberry hit before sinking into ordinariness. Claire finished the bottle on Friday whilst I was out for curry and beers with the boss, introducing him to Gujarati vegetarian cuisine.

Monday 15 October 2018

Blackcurrant Wine - Third Bottle (A4), 24th-28th September 2018

I do reckon this is the best blackcurrant wine that I have made. Whilst there is a definite kick to it, there is something rounded about it too. More judo than karate.

The bottle has lasted the entire week, and what a frantic week (from a work point of view) it has been. Tonight I was there until gone seven, trying to get everything done before I went on holiday. Mostly I have been successful and I will attempt to avoid thinking about my job over the next fortnight. America - here we come!

One of my favourite photos taken whilst in America:
on our way to Alcatraz.