Saturday 9th January began as one of those bitterly cold sunlit days which is the best sort of winter day. Friday's snow had turned from damp and malleable to hard, crunchy and entirely satisfying to walk over. Claire's gender non-specific snowperson was still standing and no-one had stolen its hat. There were a fox's footsteps leading down our drive and everything in the neighbourhood looked different. We get snow so rarely, far less than I remember from my childhood, that I become giddy when it is here.
|Ingredients in the snow (plus a bird's footprints)|
The walk to Chapel Allerton to buy ingredients for ginger wine was a pleasure, particularly my route through the park watching children hurtling down the hill on their sleds, colourful against the white.
I had intended to start this wine on the Saturday but the day ran away from me, so winemaking was a task for Sunday instead. I weighed 6½ oz ginger and, having read an article in The Guardian saying that removing skin from ginger was unnecessary, I gave it a quick scrub instead, sliced it thinly - skin and all - and put this in my bucket. Next I took four lemons and sliced the outermost peel from them, avoiding the pith, and put this in the bucket along with all their juice (11 fluid ounces). I then minced 1 lb of sultanas with the food processor and this went in too. My final winemaking task for the day was to boil 3½ pints of water and pour this over everything.
|Lemons and peel|
On Monday lunchtime, a day where the snow has vanished entirely, I boiled another 3½ pints of water and put this into the bucket with 2 lbs 8 oz of sugar. I let this cool for five hours and then added a teaspoon each of yeast, nutrient and pectolase.
|The dry ingredients (except for sugar)|
It took well over 24 hours before I was convinced that the yeast was doing its thing, but eventually it clearly was. I left the wine until Saturday 16th January before putting it into the demijohn - and there it is bubbling away: opaque and dark yellow.
|Ginger wine in its demijohn|
I've been meaning to get back to you for ages, my apologies for the delay. When racking then bottling the ginger wines Husband preferred the ginger wine with the extra orange, rather than pure lemon. It made it a bit more sweet and mellow, a little less scorchingly fierce.
He has declared you a genius with the addition of mint to the rhubarb and Elderflower wine. He thought the rhubarb and Elderflower wine couldn't be improved upon, but the rhubarb, Elderflower and mint was delicious. He was also thrilled with the orange and rose, he's not really a white wine or rose fan, but he'd definitely make and drink them this coming year.
As for the gorse and broom, no, no thank you. The broom has not improved and there's no hint of coconut in the gorse. While the initial floral taste has decreased, if anything that plant barf trace has increased in intensity and inclination to linger. It's actually getting a bit thuggish and belligerently squats on the entirely of your palate for far longer than you'd ever want it to.
The rose and gorse doesn't have the plant barf taste and was really pleasant However the Turkish delight rose favour can be achieved through your orange and rose wine rendering the gorse obsolete. So we'll make that next year rather than scoring up our hands with the gorse bushes.
Hello! Great to hear from you, and that your wine making is going very much like mine does: some superb successes and some good anecdotes. Interesting that ginger and orange is better than ginger and lemon. Maybe I should try that next year.Delete
It isn't me who is the genius for suggesting mint: that honour goes to Claire. And in 2020 I used only spearmint, which I think is better.
I have yet to taste my mixed flower wine beyond the glass when I was bottling it. That revealed something interesting without being particularly pleasant - so I don't hold out much hope with 6 bottles. I hope I have a better experience than you. I like the description of 'thuggish and belligerent'.
Do keep me updated with how you are getting on.