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.

Saturday 18 December 2021

Crab Apple & Strawberry Wine 2020 - Second Bottle (4), 27th October 2021

Not a bad bottle of wine at all. Perhaps more crab apple than strawberry, but lovely and light. We drank the whole lot on a Wednesday evening, mostly because I was making pancakes. That may appear to be a non-sequitur but making pancakes always puts me in a bad mood. They take longer than they should, rarely reach the edge of the pan and flipping them can go badly wrong. Still, the resulting 'Pancakes Stuffed with Ham and Mushroom in a White Sauce Topped with Parmesan' (snappy title) was absolutely delicious and worth being grumpy for.

Taken on 28th October - a new shirt!

Friday 17 December 2021

Crab Apple Wine 2020 - Second Bottle (5), 23rd September 2021

I left this bottle in the fridge for the combined Taylors to enjoy whilst I was out playing trios with Pat and Peter, but with strict instructions that there should be a glass for me to enjoy on my return. Happily those instructions were obeyed and I had my ration before bed. Susanna said how much she liked this wine, with its elements of Croft Original. I don't pick those up, but it certainly has a fruity rich taste. I returned from Pat & Peter's via Sainsbury's with four bottles of real wine - we can't just drink my stuff whilst we have guests!

Taken on 24 September - a Japanese Garden in Horsforth

Thursday 16 December 2021

Japonica Quince Wine - First Bottle (5), 2nd-3rd September 2021

Not a terrible wine by any means. I'm not sure it tastes of much, though, other than an overly dry white wine. 'Sharp' will be an adjective that I shall overuse on this page. It is not as dry as the Quince I made about a decade ago, but it is approaching that. Claire suggested adding a sugar syrup and that worked, though did not make the wine any more interesting.

We drank most of the bottle on Thursday, though I had the final glass on Friday before Book Group to celebrate being on holiday. This coming week we will walk The Herriot Way.

A Cake I made on 3 September. I have no memory of this.

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

Wednesday 15 December 2021

Blackberry Wine 2020 - Eighth Bottle (A5), 19th November 2021

The second I walked through the door, Claire handed me a glass of blackberry wine. It was quarter past seven and it had been a long, intense day at work. I have much of the coming week on holiday - mostly to avoid losing days from my annual allowance - and so I wanted to leave the office having done everything required. When I turned off my computer there was not a single email in my in-box, which is an unusual state of affairs. The blackberry wine was hugely welcome and this is a fine vintage with hints of real wine.

On 18th November, I made a Christmas Pudding.
These are some of the ingredients.

Tuesday 14 December 2021

Blackberry Wine 2020 - Seventh Bottle (A2), 2nd October 2021

On the dankest of Saturdays I have been out in the rain thrice. The first two were to buy provisions for the coming week. The last was to check if the local garage was selling petrol. We are in the midst of a fuel shortage because (thanks to Brexit - the gift that keeps on giving) there are not enough lorry drivers. And as soon as the Government says "Please don't panic buy", everyone does. There have been queues of traffic at any open garage for the last week. On Saturday evening I joined that queue (short, when I was there) and celebrated my success at home with a bottle of Blackberry Wine, a lamb curry and an episode of The Bridge.

Taken on 2 October - the result of a 
startled cat after I sneezed.

Sunday 12 December 2021

Blackberry Wine 2020 - Sixth Bottle (A3), 19th September 2021

Blackberry Wine feels like a proper Sunday night bottle. One that you can relax into like a favourite sofa. It had been a gentle weekend full of entirely pleasurable nothing much. On Sunday that involved walking the suburbs of North Leeds in search of elderberries and making both bread and a ginger & marmalade cake (note to self: the marmalade was a flavour too far). Then in the evening we had a Padian chicken curry, drank this wine and watched The Crown. The curry involved me sucking on a chili by mistake. Emergency yoghurt was required.

Ginger & Marmalade Cake


Blackberry Wine 2020 - Fifth Bottle (C2), Mid-August 2021

Claire had this bottle whilst I was in the Brecon Beacons with Rachael & Myles. She says that she has written it up in her diary and hopes that this is Good Enough. It isn't really, but it is also clear that she won't write it up in this one. I think she had a reasonable week whilst I was away - plenty of Midsomer Murders and RuPaul's Drag Race I understand

Rachael in the Brecon Beacons

Wednesday 8 December 2021

Damson Wine 2020 - Fourth Bottle (3), 23rd September 2021

We have an infestation of Taylors. Bob, Judith and Susanna are staying for several days - and that is a thoroughly good thing. I was dashing out playing trios with Pat & Peter so really only had time to open this bottle, have a small glass and leave the Taylors to it. Reports of the wine were positive, and it was the first of two drunk on a Thursday evening. I am so pleased that our house is open to guests again.

Taken on 20 September - the view from my office

Sunday 5 December 2021

Damson Wine 2020 - Third Bottle (5), 27th-28th August 2021

Claire fancied a red on Friday night and neither of us felt the inclination to cook, so a bottle of Damson wine and a take-out curry it was. The wine was not as good as I had remembered: too dry and slightly thin, but certainly drinkable. Claire enjoyed it, saying that it had hints of real wine.

The curry was blisteringly hot and we made inroads into our yoghurt mountain in an attempt to cool it down.

There was half a bottle left for Saturday night, which we drank to the Snarkalong Film choice: 9 to 5. Whilst the film is unsubtle, it had aged remarkably well and is a pure joy.

Taken on 27 August - our damson tree

Thursday 2 December 2021

Blackcurrant Wine - Third Bottle (3), 14th August 2021

It is good to be home! The last two weeks have been excellent: a superb week at Rydal followed by another one in the Brecon Beacons, but returning to the Usual is, in some ways, a relief. A quiet night in with Claire, who did not come to Wales, curled up on the sofa watching a movie with the Snarkalong Film Club was absolutely the right thing to do. This time it was Relative Values: a comedy of manners with a terrific cast, led by Julie Andrews. Nothing demanding or noisy at all.

A running stream in the Brecon Beacons

Wednesday 1 December 2021

Blackcurrant Wine 2020 - Second Bottle (1), 27th-28th July 2021

I was on hairdressing duties on Tuesday evening. We are shortly to go to Rydal (!) and Claire wanted to re-blue her mohican. The bottle of blackcurrant was opened before the process began. What could possibly go wrong? My task was to paint bleach into the back of Claire's head and then later in the evening (and further down the bottle) to shave the sides of her scalp, leaving a wide blue stripe of hair in the centre. It all looks quite alarming, but in a thoroughly good way. The wine was also excellent and is Claire's favourite of all my brews.

The hairdressing process

Tuesday 30 November 2021

Blackcurrant & Raspberry Wine 2020 - Fourth Bottle (1), 14th November 2021

The Internet is a marvelous thing. It allows one to order Dim Sum to arrive through the post, complete with cardboard double-decker steamer and dipping sauces. This was Rachel's idea and we had a Zoom Dinner Party with her and Duncan, during which I opened this Blackcurrant & Raspberry Wine. Whilst a white wine might have been preferable, I had nothing chilled. The Dim Sum was fantastic - and my favourite was the pork bun. It all made for an entertaining evening.

An upside-down Mango cake made on 14th November

Monday 29 November 2021

Gooseberry Wine 2020 - Fifth Bottle (5), 20th November 2021

 Liz & David hosted an evening of pure jollity on Saturday. Phil, Angie, Claire and I all gathered there to eat Take-Out pizza and make merry. It has been a little while since I had such unadulterated fun and there was much laughter. Also much wine, of which this bottle of gooseberry was one. It really is a good wine, with a sweetened gooseberry taste. The postscript to this evening, though, is that on Wednesday Liz sent round a message to say that she has Covid. I hope to remain unaffected.

A current selection of the wine I have on the go.

Sunday 28 November 2021

Gooseberry Wine 2020 - Fourth Bottle (2), 17th October 2021

Sunday night was our monthly Zoom Dinner Party with Rachel & Duncan, and that required a bottle of something decent. The menu was Prawn Curry and a dhal (dahl?), meaning the wine needed to be a sharp white. This describes gooseberry perfectly and neither the bottle nor the food disappointed. Again we had a lovely, boozy evening and once the Zoom call had ended Claire and I cut ourselves a slice of Gugelhupf (bless you!) I had made earlier in the day and watched The Crown.

The Gugelhupf

Saturday 27 November 2021

Gooseberry Wine 2020 - Third Bottle (1), 25th-26th August 2021

Instructions for a beetroot & goats cheese risotto directed me to use 150 ml of dry white wine. Having nothing real in the house, I thought that gooseberry would work so opened this bottle. My supposition proved correct: the risotto was excellent and it is a good one to have in my repertoire. The wine wasn't bad either, though not as dry as I had remembered. It was improved by chilling. There was a glass left for Thursday - a day in which a dental hygienist looked at my teeth after four years. Torture!

A fallen and sawn up tree on my walk.

Friday 26 November 2021

Strawberry Wine 2020 - Second Bottle (2), 29th August 2021

I took this bottle to an impromptu barbecue at David and Liz's on Sunday evening, knowing this to be one of Liz's favourites. It was the last of three bottles drunk, which is perhaps too much between four (particularly as Claire had only a sip of this one), but when it is a bank holiday the next day, who's counting? This strawberry vintage is excellent and Liz and David both thought it akin to a proper rosé. It was a lovely way end a day that had been full of chores (one of which was making a damson cake - the result of which was a triumph despite my misgivings).

Damson Cake

Thursday 25 November 2021

Rhubarb Elderflower & Mint Wine 2020 - Third Bottle (3), 5th November 2021

A Friday night bottle. It being Bonfire Night, we spent our evening indoors reassuring the cat that all these loud bangs and fizzes did not mean that she was required to poo on the landing carpet (which is what happened last year). Instead I opened this bottle of Rhubarb, Mint & Elderflower and cooked Tuna Surprise. The wine is a decent white, with elderflower being dominant.

A Google lion in our kitchen

Sunday 7 November 2021

Rhubarb Wine 2020 - Second Bottle (B3), 16th-17th September 2021

There is a burnt taste to this wine and it is quite unlike any rhubarb wine that I have made before. It has a flavour of "Early stages of Lockdown" when the supermarket shelves were bare of anything useful, like white sugar. That I have another ten bottles does not fill me with delight.

Thursday was a strange day. I was in the office (first week back!) but - due to the new hybrid working arrangements, just about no other bugger was. Sitting in a room by myself, but commuting to do so, seems like the worst of both worlds in this new regime.

No photos taken on 16-17th September.
Here is one from my last day of holiday.

Saturday 6 November 2021

Mixed Flower & Nettle Wine - Second Bottle (1), 5th August 2021

This wine was unexpectedly popular at Rydal, and of the three that I took, this was the one most enjoyed. Francesca said that it was the best wine of mine that she has tried - though I think her experience is limited. Someone compared it to a Chardonnay, and I am suspicious of their palate.

Thursdays at Rydal tend to be the day that "Too much fun" catches up with you - and so it proved for me. I didn't do any walking (mind you, the weather had broken), but there was still plenty of music, including Dvorak's 8th Symphony, a Beethoven overture and March to the Scaffold

Too Much Fun at Rydal

Friday 5 November 2021

Orange Wine 2020 - Fifth Bottle (B6), 15th October 2021

Friday was not the most relaxing fun day that I have ever had. Two hours of it was spent lying back in a dentist's chair with my mouth wide open as the dentist said things like "Don't worry about the pain: that's normal," and "Try to relax!". In the end he saved my molar and that is worth 120 minutes of discomfort. By the time 6 p.m. rolled around I was ready for my fair share of wine. By the time Taskmaster was on I was sufficiently numbed by orange wine and whisky to be enjoying the day again.

No photos taken on 15 October but this
was what I should have worn to the dentist's

Thursday 4 November 2021

Orange Wine 2020 - Fourth Bottle (B4), 15th August 2021

It was my first full day back home after two glorious weeks on holiday, and it was a restful, relaxing near-ordinary day. Okay, so I did about two and a half hours work, but I also made a cake (gooseberry orange drizzle), had a short walk, bathed with Claire, started my blackcurrant wine and watched an episode of The Crown. We also drank this bottle of orange wine to smoked haddock fishcakes, which was an excellent combination. Both are strong flavours and I could understand not liking either. However, I think both are fab!

Gooseberry & Orange Drizzle Cake

Wednesday 3 November 2021

Prune & Parsnip Wine 2020 - Fourth Bottle (5), 23rd October 2021

It has been a quiet Saturday, though originally Chris & Kate were meant to stay for the weekend. That they have both fallen ill (not Covid, I think) is unfortunate but at least it meant that I didn't have to spend two hours tidying frantically. Instead I have shopped, played my mother at Scrabble, made a fabulous bread & butter pudding (from the remains of the Gugelhopf) and tried to watch Lego Batman, which was a fail from me. Oh, and drunk half a bottle of Prune & Parsnip, which is Perfectly Pleasant

Wiggy on 23 October

Monday 1 November 2021

Ginger Wine 2020 - Fourth Bottle (5), 17th September 2021

Friday night is Take Out night. Sometimes. At least it was this Friday, and we had a Chinese: Salt & Pepper Tofu, Crispy Chilli Beef and Prawn Crackers - all excellent. A bottle of ginger wine seemed like the right choice (though I went for a bottle of 2021's vintage - which I suspect is better - and missed). This wine is very slightly cloying, but not in a "too sweet" way. It was the end of my first week back at the office and on the whole I am glad to have returned, seeing actual people!

The view from my office window

Sunday 31 October 2021

Xmas Tutti Fruti 2019 - Thirteenth Bottle (C6), 22nd October 2021

Christmas Tutti Fruti, when done well, is one of my best wines. It has depth and is just a delight to drink. That this was my first booze for five days may have helped. It was a gentle Friday night after a busy and productive week, and one where reheated macaroni and Taskmaster were exactly what was needed.

A rainbow on my way home from work.

Thursday 28 October 2021

Apple Wine 2018 - Final Bottle (5), 3rd October 2021

I made a pie! A pork & apple pie with cider gravy. It was really rather excellent, and obviously a bottle of apple wine was the natural one to choose. The wine was delicious too - light, fruity with a distinct apple taste and it is probably the best apple wine that I have made.

My day was spent entirely indoors, unless one counts the excursion into the garden to pick sage and two bay leaves, and most of that was spent in the kitchen. As well as the pie, I made ginger biscuits and bread. I learnt that I should bake ginger biscuits for rather less than 15 minutes and that it is unwise to keep pastry in the fridge for three hours.

The result of me sneezing (startling a cat)

Wednesday 27 October 2021

Xmas Tutti Fruti 2019 - Twelfth Bottle (C3), 30th September - 2nd October 2021

Have I mentioned that this Xmas Tutti Fruti is excellent? Claire opened it on Thursday whilst I finished a bottle of Dandelion Wine, and I had most of the remainder whilst Claire was in Menston rehearsing with the Wharfedale Chamber Ensemble. There is little of note to report for either day and this entry will definitely not make it into my blog for being as dull as it is. But have I said that I think this wine excellent?

Modelling my Great Uncle Jerry's coat from 1936

Tuesday 26 October 2021

Xmas Tutti Fruti 2019 - Eleventh Bottle (C4), 12th September 2021

This bottle marked the end of a week's holiday. We had spent most of the week in Wensleydale and Swaledale walking the Herriot Way in glorious sunshine. If anything, it had been too hot. Sunday, though, was a quiet day in which I failed to pick any elderberries. In the evening I was feeling strangely anxious about work. Monday was to be my first day back in the office after 18 months of home-working. Change never sits well with me. The wine was delicious, which helped.

No photos taken on 12 September, but here is one from the Herriot Way

Monday 25 October 2021

Xmas Tutti Fruti 2019 - Tenth Bottle (B2), 30th July 2021

We are on holiday. And this time the holiday will involve going away from home! After the disaster that was 2020, Rydal is back on. Whether sitting in a confined space blowing down my bassoon with 40 friends surrounding me is entirely sensible remains to be seen, but I cannot express my joy sufficiently. Friday, though, was exceptionally busy at work and a bottle of wine afterwards was a given. I didn't really pay much attention to this flavour - I was more interested in the effect. The day's edges became suitably blurred.

Taken on 30th July. I like the idea of a shop where
those plotting evil deeds buy their food and drink.

Saturday 23 October 2021

Apple & Strawberry Wine 2019 - Second Bottle (2), 11th August 2021

This apple and strawberry was far better than I had remembered. Whilst it tasted neither of apple nor strawberry, there was a faint scent of the latter if you gave it a good sniff. If anything, it was like a real white wine.

This was the last bottle of my wine drunk in the Brecon Beacons, and earlier in the day Rachael, Myles and I had been to the Cantref Adventure Farm, which Myles absolutely loved. One of the most joyous things about the week in Wales was being an uncle, doing fun things with Myles that he is likely to  remember into adulthood.

My lovely sister, Rachael

Friday 22 October 2021

Elderberry Wine 2019 - First Bottle (B3), 4th September 2021

I left this vintage two years before opening the first bottle. As a consequence I have avoided a disappointing thin and metallic elderberry wine. This bottle was a fine elderberry: rich and dark, with a hint of real wine.

Duncan and Rachel are here: our first overnight visitors since the Before Times, and our house is tidy! We had a lovely evening which started with negronis and ended with bush tea. Then tomorrow we go to Aysgarth to begin a 52 mile walk round the Herriot Way. Wish us luck!

Taken on 5th September - at Aysgarth Church

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

Thursday 21 October 2021

Blackberry Wine 2019 - Fifteenth Bottle (B3), 30th August 2021

Blackberry wine was the natural choice of wine after a day spent picking brambles for 2021's batch. The wine was delicious and bursting with bramble flavour. Rather better than the vegetarian moussaka I made to accompany it, which, despite its vegetarian credentials, would have benefitted greatly from a chicken stock cube. The rest of the evening was spent watching The Crown and then reading A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, which is witty and beautifully written. One of those books that manages to be engaging despite a paper-thin plot.

A grave from which I picked brambles

Wednesday 20 October 2021

Blackberry Wine 2019 - Fourteenth Bottle (A5), 6th August 2021

I was disappointed with this blackberry - there was something earthy in its flavour and it was not sufficiently sweet. Of the three bottles that I took to Rydal I had expected this to be the best and it clearly was not. I was glad to have it, however: the bar was shut and a sober last night would have been more than unfortunate.

Friday had my musical highlight of the week - playing the Poulenc Trio with Matt and Jane. We worked at the middle movement and we sounded glorious. That is near literally blowing my own trumpet.

Nick on a damp walk near Rydal Hall

Monday 18 October 2021

Elderflower, Mint & Rhubarb Wine 2019 - Fifth Bottle (3), 4th August 2021

Despite Covid 19, we made it to Rydal this year, and I cannot express what a joyous week it has been. Playing again in an orchestra that I love and with my favourite group of people has just been wonderful. 

This wine was the first of three opened during the Rydal week, after a day of walking in brilliant sunshine with Claire and Judith - so there was an element of it feeling earned. Nick claimed he was allergic to mint so didn't have any, and Kirsty pulled a face, but otherwise this bottle was enjoyed.

Claire and Judith on a long, hot walk.

Friday 15 October 2021

Magnolia Petal Wine 2019 - Third Bottle (5), 9th August 2021

I took this bottle with me to the family holiday in Wales because Claire thinks it is horrid and she is remaining in Leeds. Mom, Pop and Rachael all disagreed. They were enthusiastic in helping me finish the bottle. This was towards the end of a lovely day, which began with Pop and me going on a five and a half mile walk and ascending Bryn Teg. I had planned to go further but Pop had not brought walking boots and climbing hills with an octogenarian in sandals would have been a disaster. Still, it would have hastened the inheritance.

Spending this much time with my father was a delight. The Alzheimer's is taking its grip, but he is still very much Pop and says that on the whole he is happy. And that is the important thing.

Pop and me at the summit of Bryn Teg.

Elderberry Wine 2018 - Seventh Bottle (A5), 8th August 2021

Some of this elderberry wine ended up in an onion gravy. Ordinarily I would use Madeira but I was staying in a holiday cottage in Wales and whilst it was equipped with a hot tub, there was no Madeira to be had for love nor money. Elderberry wine, though, made an excellent substitute.

The cottage was in the Brecon Beacons where I spent six days with Rachael and Myles with Mom and Pop there for the first three. My drive over had been hellish - so the elderberry wine was more than welcome. The setting is lovely: mountains on one side and a wide vale on the other. It was the beginning of a terrific holiday.

Stuck on the M62 - part of the hellish journey

Wednesday 13 October 2021

Rhubarb Wine 2018 - Thirteenth Bottle (A2), 18th-24th August 2021

This was very much a mid-week bottle that lasted several days in the fridge. It was okay and served its purpose, but was not a memorable or delicious wine. Medical procedures have figured rather in the timeframe. I won't go into the first one, but everything was fine. On the day the bottle was finished, I went to a new dentist with a toothache. Disaster! Either I shall have to have it pulled or I will have to have a two hour root canal operation followed by a crown. Neither is joyful!

Taken on 24 August to celebrate International Bow-Tie Day

Monday 11 October 2021

Elderberry Wine 2016 - Final Bottle (B4), 26th September 2021

This wine accompanied a roast dinner, where nut roast was the star. Then we had Golden Raspberry & White Chocolate Cheesecake, which was truly fabulous. The wine was a little disappointing in comparison: okay without being special, despite its age. Many Taylors were here and it was a delightful weekend. Unlike the previous two times that we have seen Bob, there was no requirement for an ambulance!

The Cheesecake - an overview

Sunday 10 October 2021

Rose Petal 2014 - Final Bottle (B2), 10th September 2021

I opened this bottle, anticipating that I would have to pour it down the sink. Not a bit of it: the wine had matured nicely, whilst keeping its rose flavour. It had not developed that off-sherry taste that most of my wines acquire on age.

This bottle was drunk in celebration of having completed The Herriot Way, a 52-mile walk in the Dales over the previous 4 days with Rachel & Duncan. It had been a wonderful holiday and the wine was chosen specially for Rachel.

Duncan, Claire and Rachel - at the very end of 52 miles.

Saturday 9 October 2021

Dandelion Wine 2013 - Final Bottle (5), 25th-30th September 2021

NB For the next several entries, I am going to dispense with Date Order, and post them in the order in which they appear in my written diary. This means such narrative that there is (which is very little!) will be somewhat disrupted.


I saved this final bottle of Dandelion Wine for a special occasion where I could share it with guests, on the basis that with 8 years aging it was likely to be spectacular. Bob, Judith and Susanna were here - only the second time that we have had guests to stay since Covid 19 hit. The wine, however, only served to disappoint. Yes, it was drinkable and had an element of sherry to it. But it was not the rich delicious nectar-like substance that I had anticipated. If anything, it was slightly rank.

No-one had a second glass, even though they stayed another two days. I drank it over the course of the week. The final glass was brown and murky.

Wiggy on 25 September, claiming her space

Sunday 3 October 2021

Elderberry Wine 2017 - Thirteenth Bottle (C1), 24th July 2021

It is not many bottles of wine that result in five people dancing to a mix of Abba and Tchaikovsky in the garden after dark. This was one such bottle. Actually, it was one of many that evening, but it was a glorious night. This was the first weekend since the Covid restrictions had been lifted and we spent it in Cambridge with Rachel & Duncan (Howard was our fifth). 

Earlier in the day we had helped out at a Food Hub, which was itself an interesting and enjoyable thing to do, but it is the evening that will stay with me. One of those magical times where my own universe is full of joy. The wine wasn't bad either.

Rachel at the Food Hub

Gooseberry Wine 2021 - The Making Of...

For years we have been saying that our freezer is too small for all the excess fruit that I pick, and that we must investigate getting a small freezer just for wine making. Claire and I are great procrastinators. If you require further evidence, you only need to go into our front room. We have owned the house for six years now and have yet to paint the plaster.

Some of our gooseberries, close up.

Anyway, on Sunday 10th July I went on-line to investigate mini-freezers and about ten minutes later had ordered one. It arrived on Monday. Why I took about four years or so over this, I do not know. Mostly it will be filled with gooseberries this year. Our bushes are rampant. We have at least three varieties and all have had a good summer.

Gooseberries being washed

On Sunday 11th July I went out to harvest 6 lbs for this wine. Those in the back garden are not as far on as those in the front, but I still picked a few from each bush, getting lightly scratched in the process. Why are gooseberry plants quite so defensive of their fruit?

More gooseberries!

In the end, I picked 2 oz less than the 6 lbs required, but that was Good Enough. I put them in our largest cooking pot with 3 pints of water, brought them to the boil and let them simmer for 5 minutes. The whole lot went into my bucket with 2 lbs 14 oz sugar and a further two pints of cold water. I added a teaspoon each of yeast, nutrient, pectolase and tannin just before going to bed and by Monday morning it was all fermenting nicely

Gooseberry wine fermenting

The wine got one stir each day and I planned to put it in its demijohn on Friday evening. However, by then I had worked until 6:15 and was in a thoroughly bad mood, so I left it until this morning, 17th July.

Gooseberry does take a long time to put into its demijohn, though I had Radio 3's Record Review to keep me company. The wine is going to produce a huge sediment.

The first demijohn of Gooseberry Wine

It did - massive! I racked this on 20th August and I fit in most of 2 pints of water with 4 oz sugar dissolved.

I am making a second batch, this time crushing the berries rather than boiling them and 5 pints of boiling water. I started on Sunday 23rd August and racked it on 25th September. The sediment on this one was slightly smaller, but I put in 36 fluid ounces of water with 2 oz sugar dissolved.

Xmas Tutti Fruti 2016 - Final Bottle (B4), 16th July 2021

I had remembered this bottle as one of my weaker vintages of Christmas Tutti Fruti, but this final bottle was excellent. There was a complex fruity taste that Claire thought reminiscent of real wine. I was in too bad a mood to notice at the beginning and by the time my mood had improved sufficiently I forgot to notice. It is a shame that there is not another bottle left so that I could pay attention.

(Typing this up two and a half months later, I have no memory of why I was in a bad mood!)

A photo taken on 16 July, no idea where!

Orange Wine 2018 - Eleventh Bottle (A3), 22nd July 2021

Mostly I made quiche whilst this wine was in play. England is having a heatwave at the moment - so a perfect time to be baking. We are off to Cambridge on Friday evening and need an easy meal during the journey - hence the quiche. A glass or two of orange wine to help the process along is never a bad thing, particularly when the pastry starts falling apart. Orange wine, though, is not one to write reams about: it is a reliable white that has a citrus kick. Finishing the bottle was no hardship.

Oh - I did my first ever Lateral Flow test.

My quiche and lateral flow test

Cherry Wine 2018 - Fifth Bottle (1), 19th July 2021

As Sunday was an entirely sober evening, we were justified in opening and finishing a bottle on Monday. Also, it was Pop's 80th birthday so that was cause for celebration. We had spent the weekend in York, which was more convenient than being there on the Big Day itself.

The cherry wine was far better than I had expected. Claire used 'medicinal' to describe it, but not in a bad way. There was something rich and deep about its taste and maybe Cherry is one that matures well.

Pop, and the cake that I made him.

Tuesday 31 August 2021

Normal Service Should Be Resumed Shortly

With apologies: I have got rather backed-up with the number of bottles drunk and not yet appearing in this blog. It was all because I had two weeks' holiday, and then was massively busy at work, and I am about to go on holiday again. I will resume where I left off shortly - and in the meantime, here is a photo of lots of damsons!

Tuesday 27 July 2021

Prune & Parsnip Wine 2020 - Third Bottle (6) 14th-15th July 2021

Work has been tedious and anxiety-making this week. We have had a Subject Access Request and that means that I have spent literally half my working hours reading through old emails and spreadsheets, harvesting relevant information to present to the Requester. Therefore I was much in need of this Prune & Parsnip on both Wednesday and Thursday. It is at the upper end of midweek bottles and a white that does not need to be chilled. Television also helped - an opiate for the masses.

Wild flowers in Potternewton Park