Yesterday, one of the last of my treasured summer half-days, I looked at my wines and saw that the rhubarb, blueberry, and red currant had all cleared. I was fairly surprised about the red currant, since I made it earlier this month, but it was definitely nice and clear. So I racked them and, in the process, learned that I am not good at racking. In fact, you can see a layer of new sediment in the currant in this photo, taken maybe 30 minutes after I racked it. And it’s not clear at all, but I swear that it was when I started.
The red currant is on the right, and it’s cloudy again because my sub-par racking stirred up all its sedimenty goodness. But it’s so young that I’m not terribly worried. The rhubarb is on the left, with the blueberry in the middle. (I got better at avoiding the sediment as I went along.)
And we finally got real tastes of them! They’re all still quite rough, but I was pleased with all of them. The blueberry is a particular relief because it had a couple vinegar fly bodies in the airlock, but apparently they weren’t in there long enough to do any damage. The red currant is dry and crisp and pleasant. You wouldn’t necessary think “ah, currant!” when you drink it, but it does still have some specific fruit flavor to it. The blueberry was Jolyon’s least favorite of them, probably because it definitely still has a taste of blueberry. I thought it was nice, but it will definitely be a little tricky to pair with food if the berry-ness lingers. It’s fruit-forward, of course, but also dry. The rhubarb is slightly sweet, and was Jo’s fave. I’d be hard-pressed to describe the flavor, but it’s got a nice edge to it, and it tastes kind of like spring. It does not taste of rhubarb, though. Since I made that one in May, I will aim to bottle it in around March or thereabouts. I think 3-6 months after racking is pretty standard, and apparently, wine gets better when it ages in bulk.
I also picked a whopping ounce of raspberries from my canes! I will need as much as 5 lbs. (the recipes range from 2-5) so I might as well start gathering early and keep my harvests in the freezer. Also, as I took Rose to the vet, I found a chokecherry by the doggie daycare, so I harvested some of those, but came up with an ounce after I removed their pits. In fact, pit-removal is quite a chore with them, and I now do not aim to make chokecherry wine. What I did process, though, will go into my Christmas Tutti-Fruti.
Dandelion seems to be starting to clear, so hopefully I can rack that soon. The mead has a big sediment layer and isn’t particularly clearing yet, but everyone who’s made it before says it just takes a long time, so I can wait. The cherry has the biggest sediment deposit of all, and I wonder if our 2 gallons will actually be more like 1.5. I have some beer growlers sitting around in case that happens.