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 27 May 2021

Nectarine Wine - Final Bottle (3), December 2020 - 21st May 2021

I can't remember when exactly I opened this bottle (it was before Christmas), but it was a wine that both Claire and I rejected for being Too Nasty. Rather than do the sensible thing and pour it down the sink, I put a cork in the bottle and stored it in the porch. There it stayed until this week, and I have had a glass most nights. It is just drinkable and that is good enough for me. 

On Friday night I was very much out of sorts (see Orange 2020 for an explanation) and finished the bottle, knowing that I would wake on Saturday with a headache. I woke on Saturday with a headache.

A photo from earlier in the week. Orchestra is Back!!!

Wednesday 26 May 2021

Orange Wine 2020 - Third Bottle (A6), 21st May 2021

I downed this bottle (or more than my fair share of it) on Friday night in a state of existential glumness. Earlier in the day I had seen the doctor who told me to eat more (not a terrible instruction) but there may be a (not particularly serious) internal issue, and he has prescribed me pills (the potential side effects of which sound horrific). I am 50 (soon to be 51). I am too young to be on pills. I try to avoid taking even paracetamol unless I have a particularly bad headache. Anyway, I have yet to take one and I did not really taste the wine.

Fully clothed on my bathroom scales

Tuesday 25 May 2021

Damson Wine 2020 - Second Bottle (4), 19th-20th May 2021

Well, this is rather splendid. There is a distinct damson taste, it has a fizz to it, the colour is glorious and it achieves a lightness that makes this wine an entirely pleasant drink. Now that I have a source of damsons I will make this one of my regulars. There was little of note to happen on Wednesday when we opened the wine. On Thursday I went for more blood tests to see if there is anything sinister causing my weight loss (Spoiler - there isn't). And it tipped it down both days. Oh for some sun!

A cactus is flowering.

Sunday 23 May 2021

Crab Apple Wine 2020 - First Bottle (1), 16th May 2021

"Ointmenty". That is Claire's description of this wine. She doesn't think it unpleasant but feels it is a little medicinal in flavour. I, however, am really happy with it. This wine is sharper and more interesting that pure apple wine. It has a lovely golden colour to it and I delighted that after a five year gap, I am able to be self sufficient in crab apples for wine again.

We drank it on Sunday evening which was another Zoom dinner party courtesy of Padian Foods with Rachel & Duncan. This month it was Kapitan Chicken - excellent food at the hot end of spicy and it was a wonderful evening. Full of joy and laughter and, of course, Crab Apple Wine.

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

I also made a Rhubarb Meringue Pie

This is it before it was baked.

Friday 21 May 2021

Xmas Tutti Fruti 2019 (C2), 15th May 2021

I am so pleased with this Tutti Fruti. I obviously did something right when making it. Though it is clearly a red, it has a lightness and a refreshing quality that one would expect from a white.

Saturday was a gentle, undemanding day, in which I got caught in a downpour and lost to my mother at Scrabble (by only 7 points!). I said at the end of April that we were desperate for rain, and there hasn't been a dry day since. One day I'll be able to mow the lawn.

We finished the day by watching Bill with the Snarkalong Film Club - a comedy from the Horrible Histories Team about Shakespeare as a young man. I had expected it to be excellent, and it was merely amusing.

The downpour in which I got caught

Wednesday 19 May 2021

Rhubarb Wine 2021 - The Making Of...

Sunday 9th May was a day for domestic tasks. Most Sundays are. Ever since I made a cake for Claire's birthday in January, and thereby discovering that I could, I have used Sunday mornings to make a cake or similar to keep us in treats throughout the week. This Sunday it was my Aunt Jennifer's Traveler's Biscuit Cake - neither cake nor biscuit but somewhere in between and the winning combination of delicious and easy.

Traveler's Biscuit Cake - neither cake nor biscuit

Most of the rest of Sunday was occupied by wine-making. I racked my orange and bottled both the crab apple and the crab apple & strawberry. But the day's main task was starting this year's rhubarb wine.

Rhubarb in the front garden

All rhubarb used this year is home-grown. Last year Claire relocated several rhubarb plants into our front garden, which gets the sun nearly all day. This year they are thriving and these were the plants that produced most the rhubarb for the wine. In comparison, our rhubarb in the back is a sickly cousin; limp and weedy.

Freshly picked rhubarb

With judicious picking of stalks, I got 3 lbs 12 oz. Whilst I could have got another 2 lbs 4 oz for a double batch, I decided to do a single instead. We have plenty of rhubarb wine dotted around the house and I should start decreasing our excess.

Rhubarb sticks being washed

I chopped 3 lbs of rhubarb stalks thinly (after washing them, of course) and put these in the bucket with 3 lbs sugar. I boiled up just over 6 pints of water and poured this in, stirring to dissolve the sugar. On Monday morning I added the yeast, pectolase and nutrient (a teaspoon of each) and I was moderately diligent at stirring once a day throughout the week.

Rhubarb chopped thinly

The wine went into its demijohn on Friday evening, 14th May, after a hugely busy day at work - by early afternoon I was on the honey & lemon to ease my throat. I had spent the day on call after call. Anyway, the wine making tasks were relatively quick and I now have a demijohn of pale pink liquid bubbling away.

The rhubarb in its demijohn

Tuesday 18 May 2021

Strawberry Wine 2018 - Fifth Bottle (3), 14th May 2021

I think that this vintage may have improved. Claire described it as at the good end of a midweek bottle, which is definitely a step up. Though the strawberry flavour is subtle, it is present and otherwise this felt like a soft white, but with a glorious red colour.

Friday has been a busy day at work but the evening was pleasantly relaxed. After a tortilla, I made rhubarb wine and then we curled up on the sofa to watch ER. Not a Rock & Roll lifestyle!

Taken on 14 May

With some apologies for the above image (it is the only one I took on Friday), but I have got all concerned about my health again. I looked in the mirror sideways on, and all I could see was ribs. And I have been trying to gain weight for the last few months: instead I have lost a couple of pounds. This photo is, in some way, to encourage me to go the doctors again - even if I do come across as a neurotic hypochondriac! 

Monday 17 May 2021

Blackberry Wine - Thirteenth Bottle (A6), 12th-13th May 2021

Sausages, mash, onion gravy and blackberry wine - a winning combination. Claire's day involved five blood samples to analyse for a Covid 19 research project, and therefore most of a bottle of wine on a Wednesday was her reward. We shared the remaining glass on Thursday after I had returned from Madeleine's quintet. Though indoor restrictions end on Monday, they are currently still in force, so we played under Madeleine's car port for an hour, hoping the neighbours were forgiving souls.

Taken on 12 May in Gledhow Valley Woods

Saturday 15 May 2021

Rhubarb Wine 2020 - First Bottle (B4), 8 May 2021

The brown sugar I used when making this rhubarb wine has definitely had an effect. There is no hint of pink to this wine - it is instead a golden yellow. Its taste has a burnt element to it, but not in an unpleasant way. This is an unusual rhubarb wine but I think one that is rather good.

We drank it on Saturday evening after a lazy, wet day. The rain hardly stopped, but after the driest April for a generation that is a good thing. I played my mother at Scrabble, getting my highest ever score of 510 and in the evening we watched The Kid who would be King with the Snarkalong Film Club, which was entirely satisfactory. So, a gentle Saturday (which makes for a dull read - apologies!)

Taken on 8 May

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

Tuesday 11 May 2021

Blackcurrant & Raspberry Wine 2020 - Third Bottle (4), 6th May 2021

As we should have been in Shropshire this week, we had a Zoom get-together with our holiday compatriots and everybody, for obvious reasons, brought their own bottle. Claire chose Blackcurrant & Raspberry because it is her favourite of mine, and either we had to drink something excellent or one that fell into the 'Comedy Wine' category. The raspberries soften the blackcurrant and I think it a better wine as a result. The Zoom meeting was fun and maybe next year we will meet in person.

Wiggy sitting on my work (on 5th May rather than 6th)

Sunday 9 May 2021

Elderberry Wine 2018 - Sixth Bottle (B2), 2nd May 2021

Our week's holiday is nearly over and to mark the occasion we drank a bottle of elderberry wine with Toad in the Hole and onion gravy. Earlier in the day we ate sausage sandwiches in Bedale after planting an apple tree. The day had clearly been sponsored by the Sausage Marketing Board. 

The wine was excellent - everything elderberry wine should be with no metallic taste. We then watched the final episode of Line of Duty which ended on a moment of reflection rather than the fireworks the Nation expected.

An apple tree planted in Bedale

Wednesday 5 May 2021

Prune & Parsnip Wine 2019 - Eleventh Bottle (B2), 29th April 2021

I opened this bottle in the attempt to improve Claire's mood. She had taken delivery of a new phone in the early afternoon and by the evening she was a spitting ball of fury. Nothing worked like it had on her Motorola and therefore it was wrong and unacceptable. Any offers of help were themselves unhelpful. At least I could hand her wine - which I think elevated me from the position of 'Most Terrible Husband'. I drank what Claire did not.

A photo I took in Leeds City Centre on 29 April

Monday 3 May 2021

Blackberry Wine 2019 - Twelfth Bottle (A3), 28th April 2021

This bottle came at the end of a day's holiday which had involved a walk round the rural parts of Bingley (yes, there are some), Ethiopian leftovers, and being propositioned by a man on the Leeds-Liverpool canal. I was graceful in my decline (I hope) and somewhat flattered.

The blackberry wine finished off the day nicely - it is a great bottle, full of juice - but did mean that neither Claire nor I could concentrate on a subtitled television programme.

Bingley Five Locks - on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal

Saturday 1 May 2021

Rhubarb Wine 2019 - Seventh Bottle (B5), 25th April 2021

Whilst not sparkling clear, this wine is a pretty colour. It has retained its pale pinkness and has a dry white-wine taste to it. We drank it on Sunday night, after I had returned from an 8 mile walk round St Aidan's Nature Reserve and before Line of Duty. I am on holiday this coming week and we have had to postpone our Shropshire excursion for a second year in a row. So, again, I am walking in Yorkshire. Today's walk was lovely - the bird sanctuary was a cacophony of gulls and geese, making a party out of nesting season. The riverside was dotted with apple trees, all in blossom. And I was in such a good mood that being forced to retrace my steps when presented with a collapsed bridge did not feel like an irritation.

The collapsed bridge (plus footpath on the other side)