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, 24 March 2018

Blackcurrant Wine - 21st Bottle (D3), 16th March 2018

I was all prepared to be distinctly cross with our plumber, but I ended up giving him a bottle of blackcurrant wine instead. He hadn't arrived when we were told he would - by a matter of several hours - and ultimately he did not fix the problem (though he is coming back). However, he was charming and interested in the wine and (most importantly) saved us £100 be declaring to the administrating firm that he had fixed the problem within an hour (rather than failing to fix it within two). That, I think, is worth a bottle of one of my better wines.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Blackberry Wine - Seventh Bottle (B4), 14th-16th March 2018

Returning home from WYSO, I asked if I should open a bottle and received a positive response. We had been rehearsing with the chorus for La traviata where the six men outsang the thirty or so women. I chose blackberry as a decent mid-week bottle. In past years, blackberry has been for special occasions only, but not this vintage.

I finished the wine on Friday after being in the audience of Vivaldi's Gloria  and Bach's  Magnificat. Claire was playing viola in the tiny orchestra. The Vivaldi was better than the Bach: it felt like the choir were more familiar with it. We walked back in the snow and warmed ourselves with alcohol.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Rhubarb Wine - Thirteenth Bottle (B6), 10th March 2018

Richard & Linda came round for a meal, and what a meal it was. We started with a carrot & orange soup accompanied by walnut sourdough bread. Our main course was a smoked mackerel quiche with potato slices roasted in lemon juice and rosemary. We broke for a cheese course and then finished up with rhubarb fool and ginger shortbread. Claire made it all (other than the cheese) and my contribution was shopping and tidying. I feel I got the better deal.

I opened a bottle of rhubarb wine on the basis that Richard prefers dry whites. He was really impressed with this one - thought it was one of the best of mine he had drunk. A grand evening.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Orange Wine - First Bottle (B1), 9th March 2018

There is water coming through our kitchen ceiling. This is not a feature one generally wants. 'Happily' this only started on Friday while Claire was in and it was dripping through a gap where pipes run down anyway. Dan Benn came round sharpish, stopped the pipe causing the problem and now we wait for a specialist plumber to fix it. The deal with the anxiety caused, Claire and I downed this bottle quickly - the wine is much the same as previous batches, if a little rougher - and retired upstairs early.

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

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Gooseberry Wine - First Bottle (3), 4th March 2018

Ordinarily I wait a year between picking fruit and drinking the first bottle of wine. However, I think that gooseberry may be a wine best drunk young, so I have opened this early. Also, it was a suitable bottle to take round to David & Liz's: we have given them six cuttings from our gooseberry plants and seeing as I have converted Liz to making her own wine, I thought I'd show her what gooseberry wine was like. This was a high-risk strategy: I have had some spectacular failures with gooseberry. It paid off. The wine is bone dry and has a bite to it. There is a slight fizz and the gooseberry taste is there on the first sip before retreating into a prosecco feel. This wine is definitely a hit.

Any guesses as to why I have chosen this image?
If you want to see how I made this wine, click here.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Orange Wine 2018 - The Making Of...

My colleagues say that I am a creature of habit. I won't have my first cup of coffee until 9:30 and it must be 11 before my second. When 'lunch hour' was shifted by thirty minutes, I complained. This was not part of my established routine. Taking all this into account, it is unsurprising that I have stared a double batch of orange wine in March. It must be at least fifteen years in a row that I have done this.

I bought the oranges from Sainsbury's rather than going anywhere more exotic. Whilst I prefer shopping at small, local businesses, we were off to Sainsbury's anyway and their quality is consistently good. Plus the weather was poor - our road was still icy.

The thinly sliced orange peel
I started the wine on Sunday 4th March. The first job was to slice the top layer of peel from 12 of my 24 oranges as thinly as I could, and then cover this peel with 2 pints of boiling water. This is the most tedious part of making orange wine and I did particularly badly avoiding the pith. It took an age (helped along by Radio 4 Catch-Up) and by the end I just didn't care. Having completed this task, I covered the bowl containing peel and water with cling film and left this to one side.

The orange wine in its bucket
Next I squeezed all 24 oranges and measured the juice - 2¾ pints. This is one less pint than last year, which suggests this orange wine will not be as good. I put the juice into the bucket along with 10 pints of cold water and 5½ lbs sugar. I also added the yeast and a rounded teaspoon each of pectolase and nutrient at this point. 24 hours later I poured in the water that had been covering the peel into the bucket and I discarded the peel.

Orange wine fermenting in the bucket
I had meant to put the wine into its demijohns on Friday night but was otherwise distracted and did this on Saturday morning, 10th March, instead. The wine currently looks like orange squash - a jolly, opaque yellow.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Blackcurrant Wine - Fourth Bottle (1), 28th February- 1st March 2018

Britain really doesn't do snow well. We are in the grip of 'The Beast from the East', which has resulted in four inches of snow. The country is in lock down and there is only one topic of conversation. In fact, driving to work on Wednesday was slow and unpleasant. On Thursday I walked six miles instead, getting in late. But many people remained at home and the day was quiet.

On both nights we drank blackcurrant wine and I think deserve some congratulations for not finishing it as soon as it was opened. It is very drinkable and goes down like pop.