It is with this wine that I say Adieu to my forties. They have mostly been very kind to me. At their start I was just finishing off my MA in Medieval Studies and now at their close I am in a job that I enjoy and I feel settled in my life. The decade has seen two redundancies, a published book, moving house, a dear friend dead, two new cats, a strange and frightening world order, two nephews and the current pandemic. Put like that, my forties sound far more traumatic than they, in fact, were. They have certainly not been uneventful. What better way to mark their close than (or, alternatively, as I had a free Saturday, how else should I spend it except by) making Rhubarb, Elderflower and Mint wine?
Our rhubarb is very much past its best, so I sent a message to Liz to find out if she had any spare. Happily she had plenty and brought round 2 lbs. I managed to get a further pound from our plants to obtain the 3 lbs required for the recipe.
About half the elderflowers came from the elder tree growing in the Synagogue hanging over our back fence; the rest came from trees on Bentcliffe Drive and the elder in Allerton Grange Field. Stripping these to get a pint of flowers was always going to be the dullest part of making this wine, but was enlivened by listening to Mark Steel's in Town on BBC Sounds.
Over the past few years my 'handful of mint' used in this wine has been getting larger and Claire thinks that this is to the wine's detriment. Therefore this year I have only picked a small handful - and mostly spearmint (rejecting those leaves with cuckoo spit on them).
I chopped the rhubarb into thin pieces and put this, the elderflowers and the chopped mint into my bucket with 3 lbs of sugar. I poured over 6½ pints of boiling water and left this overnight. On Sunday morning, 14th June (my 50th birthday), I put in a teaspoon of yeast, nutrient and pectolase.
I meant to put all this into its demijohn on Friday night, but instead had a Zoom meeting with Rachel and Duncan, where we drank a gin and tonic and then a bottle of (real) red wine. Doing anything productive after that was not going to happen. Instead, the wine went into its demijohn on Saturday morning, 20th June. It is a light pink and fermenting as it should.
|The wine and Kato|
If you want to see how this wine came out, click here.