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