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 30 May 2019

Mint, Elderflower & Rhubarb Wine - Fourth Bottle (6), 24th May 2019

Mark came round on Friday night, bringing a bottle of his Breakfast Wine with him. He needs to restock his pond after it had an encounter with an enthusiastic Labrador, and our pond is teeming with plant life (plus frogs, possibly fish and certainly snails - but he isn't having any of those).

I opened a bottle of Mint, Elderflower and Rhubarb on the basis that it is one of my best and we drank most of it in the garden, pretending that we were warmer than we were.

Monday 27 May 2019

Rose Petal 2015 - Sixteenth Bottle (C1), 17th May 2019

I took this bottle over to York with me on Friday night, where my parents are entertaining Troy, my second cousin once removed. Apparently I have met him once before; when I was 11; but all I remember is his younger brother's drum kit. He had a Myers' look to him and the same rambling eloquence, and it was a genuine pleasure to meet him. I'm not sure what Troy thought of the wine, though. He had a glass (and also the final, somewhat murky last half glass) but mostly stuck to the beer.

This wine has not aged badly at all - the rose flavour is more subtle than other vintages and it has a slightly sweet but still refreshing taste.

Sunday 26 May 2019

Xmas Tutti Fruti - Fifth Bottle (B3), 12th May 2019

It has been a week with plenty of alcohol, and this bottle rounded things off nicely. But we have been on holiday, which is an excuse.

BBC i-player currently has all series of Line of Duty available. This has been recommended by so many people that Claire and I shared the bottle whilst watching episode one of series one. It is certainly promising - no-one is the clear hero and there is a ton of plot. I know what we will be doing with our free evenings over the next few weeks.

Saturday 25 May 2019

Prune & Parsnip Wine - Third Bottle (A3), 11th May 2019

After our week's holiday in Kelso, we have decided to cut down our alcohol intake. Therefore we had no cocktails before sharing a bottle of wine between us. I think that is the very definition of moderation.

It has been an excellent holiday but, as always, it is good to be home. Being in our own bed and surrounded by cats has much to recommend.

The bottle we had was prune & parsnip, which is a reliably good bottle. We drank it to dall and rice - the holiday has involved a lot of meat and plain vegetarian food is now the order of the day.

Tuesday 21 May 2019

Zucchini Wine - Third Bottle (3), 10th May 2019

Well, that is another bottle down the sink. Only three left to go.

This was my comedy wine for the Kelso holiday and saved until the last night, specifically so that Ann would not have to try it. She thinks that the joke has worn somewhat thin. In fact, I think this wine has lost some if its offensiveness. Nick said that its worst crime was blandness. Wendy & Richard thought it drinkable. They were in the minority but it does solve the problem of what to do with the remaining three bottles.

The wine was poor reward for having done a 12 mile walk (advertised as 9) to the top of Windy Gyle via the Heatherhope Valley.

Exploring an Iron Age Hill Fort above Heatherhope Valley

Sunday 19 May 2019

Apple Wine 2016 - Fifth Bottle (4), 9th May 2019

I had meant to bring a bottle of Apple 2017 with me to Kelso, which is a better vintage than this one. Of the five proper bottles I took, this was (for me) the most disappointing. Wendy, though, preferred it to the strawberry.

The day had been spent in North Berwick,  where I met up with cousin Sarah, Rachel and Claire collected shells on the beach, a cafĂ© took an inordinate length of time to bring a plate of cheese and olives, and we walked up North Berwick Law in the late afternoon sunlight.

At the top of North Berwick Law

Saturday 18 May 2019

Strawberry Wine - Third Bottle (2), 8th May 2019

Wednesday was our only wet day for the holiday in Kelso. Before we went I had been checking the weather forecast daily and it looked like the weather was going to be atrocious. The forecast lied. Even though Wednesday was wet, we still got a five mile walk in, beginning and ending in Dryburgh Abbey - a 12th Century ruin where Walter Scott is buried. Well worth visiting.

To thank everyone for putting up with my medieval buildings obsession, I opened a bottle of strawberry wine, which went down nicely. Ann voluntarily had a second glass!

Dryburgh Abbey

Wednesday 15 May 2019

Blackberry Wine - Tenth Bottle (A3), 7th May 2019

I shared this bottle amongst the ten of us staying in Kelso as a preamble to an entirely Greek (and vegetarian) meal cooked by Claire. The day had been a relaxed one where I spent much of it wandering around Floors Castle and its grounds. I only ever seem to go to stately homes when I am on holiday. This one had more turrets than you could shake a stick at and a room entirely filled with stuffed birds. It was an eccentric place.

More turrets than you can shake a stick at

Tuesday 14 May 2019

Rhubarb Wine - First Bottle (C1), 6th May 2019

On the basis that Nick supplied the rhubarb for this wine, I took the first bottle with me to Kelso and gave him the first glass. It is not as clear as previous vintages, but it has a pink blush and the taste is good. It always surprises me how much like a white wine it is.

The day had been spent climbing all three peaks of the Eildon Hills, starting from Melrose. This was a difficult and steep walk and was far more effort than its five mile distance suggests. Worth it for the views, though, and we had plenty of wine as a reward.

On top of the first peak
If you want to see how this wine was made, click here.

Monday 13 May 2019

Rose Petal & Orange Wine - Fifth Bottle (3), 5th May 2019

Our week's holiday in May this year is Kelso in the Scottish Borders. We are staying in a splendid Georgian merchant's house that makes me feel like I am a member of the landed gentry. I have brought some of my best wine with me, and this was the first of my bottles opened. We had just returned from a 14-mile walk in the Cheviots and College Valley. Both walk and wine were excellent.

The house in which we stayed

Sunday 12 May 2019

Blackcurrant Wine 2015 - Final Bottle (B5), 2nd May 2019

I opened this bottle on the Thursday before we went on holiday and made sure that I had a glass before going out to vote in the local elections. It was a difficult choice (who to vote for, rather than which bottle to open) and I spent many seconds in the voting booth before marking an X next to the Labour candidate. I am so against Brexit and Labour's policy is one of cowardice rather than leadership. But, these were local elections and the European ones are later in the month. I shall make my protest vote then.

Friday 10 May 2019

Orange Wine - Eighth Bottle (B6), 28th-30th April 2019

Having tried rhubarb wine with a rhubarb and ginger syrup a week ago, I thought we should try the same syrup with orange wine. This really worked: the citrus flavour kicked through but did not mask the rhubarb or the ginger.

We drank much of the bottle on Sunday - a day which was mostly spent napping once our respective parents had left. Entertaining a few people in their late seventies or early eighties is exhausting! What remained of the wine was finished on Tuesday. I got the crunchy bits.

Thursday 9 May 2019

Blackberry Wine - Ninth Bottle (A4), 27th April 2019

On the basis that I wanted to open my best wines for Bob, Judith and my parents, our second bottle was Blackberry 2017. Claire had cooked an Eastern European stew, which contained sauerkraut and three types of Polish meat. Worryingly, one of these was labelled 'Grandma Shin'. I'm sure a spot of cannibalism never did anyone any harm. Other than the dinee, of course. Anyway, both food and wine were delicious and we all had room for pudding and another bottle.

Tuesday 7 May 2019

Prune & Parsnip 2016 - Final Bottle (B1), 27th April 2019

This was the last bottle of three drunk at the Parents' Evening and was almost certainly a bottle too far. I can, however, barely remember it five days later. I think it was delightful, but then I was somewhat the worse for wear.

We had a lovely evening, though, and it was worth a poor night's sleep in the attic. Mom and Pop got our bed, so we made do with the sofa bed. It would be a good bed for one person.

Sunday 5 May 2019

Elderflower, Rhubarb and Mint - Sixth Bottle (2), 28th April 2019

We have not had a Parents' Evening for an age - many years - and for this one I wanted to treat the ancestors with some of my best wine. Therefore, we started with a bottle of Elderflower, Rhubarb and Mint (if one does not count the Cosmopolitans). It continues to be an excellent bottle: there is a freshness to it, with I think must be the mint. By the time we reached the dinner table, the wine was mostly gone, so I fished out a blackberry from under the stairs.

We are so lucky to have four parents between us, who we like enormously and who get on fabulously well with each other. It is the very opposite of a soap opera.

Saturday 4 May 2019

Xmas Tutti Fruti - Fourth Bottle (B2), 22nd April 2019

This was the last of many bottles we have drunk over the Easter break. This time, though, it was just Claire and me after a long walk through the Yorkshire countryside. We walked about 7 miles round Leathley Woods and Lindley Reservoir, following instructions printed in 1989. It was hardly surprising that there were a couple of wrong turns and one period of being properly lost in a forest. However, we survived and celebrated at home with a bottle of Christmas Tutti Fruti, some of which was drunk in the garden and all of which was drunk before we ate. It fizzed nicely and is a fruity, excellent batch.

On our walk

Thursday 2 May 2019

Rhubarb Wine - Ninth Bottle (A6), 21st April 2019

On Friday, Claire made a rhubarb and ginger cheesecake, keeping back the liquid as a sauce. Whilst the cheesecake was polished off over Friday and Saturday, we made less impression on the liquid. This proved not to be a problem. Diluted with rhubarb wine, this turned into something rather magical. Sweeter than neat rhubarb wine, with the subtlest of ginger hints, it really was a glorious drink. A perfect way to round off an Easter Sunday. Our house, which had been full of Taylor siblings, now only had us. I love having guests, but not having guests is also good.

The Taylor Siblings