Finally bottled the dandelion!


snowy Funny weather for bottling my first wine of this last spring, but I did it anyway.  It’s lovely and clear with a pleasing yellow tinge, but I forgot to taste it as it went into the bottle.bottled dandelionI did give up on putting all the dandelion into clear glass– you can see the pair of green bottles in the back here.  I have three clear but full bottles, but I’d have been in no condition to bottle anything if I’d gotten through those first.  And it looks like I have a little time before the crab apple is ready, so maybe I’ll just make a concerted white- and rose-drinking effort for the next few weeks.

Got to a little more racking, too, because what else are snowy weekends for?  For some reason, I only did one of the two gallons of apple, so I’ll have to make sure to get to the other this coming weekend.  more racking  I thought to taste both the mead and the melomel, and I’m quite pleased that the funny musty taste seems to be gone.  The melomel is definitely brighter-tasting from the peaches, and I’ve lost quite a bit in the rackings, which is why there are so many marbles in the bottom of the growler.

Freezer space being at a premium, and some carboys now being available, I also started another batch of Concord.  thawing concords  I used Montrachet yeast in the last batch, so this will have Bourgovin RC 212.  (I may remember Bourgovin, but not RC 212!  What’s with the goofy yeast names?)  The grapes thawed overnight, and then Sunday they went into the bucket with the sugar, water, yeast nutrient, acid blend, and Campden.  I’ll pitch the yeast tonight, but I probably won’t take more photos, since it should look almost exactly like the first batch.

And since weekends are also for fun, Kim and I went to her uncle Kirk’s wine store, City Wine, for a pre-Thanksgiving tasting.  Alas, I did not come home with this bottle. Em_Kirk_wine




Cold snap


Well it’s a good thing I pruned the fruit trees over the weekend, because now it’s suddenly bitterly cold!  We are getting our first snow, starting yesterday and continuing into today, which is really a good thing. But the cold!  Today’s projected high is 7, and when I left this morning, the news was saying the windchill was -17.  The dogs won’t walk, just rush out back to do their business and then back in as quickly as they can.

But I did re-rack some wines this weekend.  The Concord, dandelion, and crab apple should be ready for bottling soon.  They’d each cast a little sediment last time, but really not much.  I haven’t checked since the weekend, but I’m hoping they’re ready.  Alas, I have failed to get more clear glass bottles, so I guess the lovely dandelion will just go in regular bottles.  I might snag the few clear ones I have and use them, though I’m kind of resisting that.  I like the idea of each kind being kind of identifiable: all the currant in clear glass, all the rhubarb in green with narrow shoulders, etc.  I’ve already failed a little on that front, since the shoulders of the clear bottles are pretty varied, so maybe I’ll talk myself into a mixed batch for the dandelion.

November racking


I’m still finalizing the labels for the crab apple, too.  I have plenty of very cute photos of the dogs, but I keep hoping one just feels perfect, and I haven’t found that one quite yet.  When I do, make my choice, though, I’ll post all the labels I’ve made for this year’s wine.  It’s quite satisfying, bottling and labeling after all the actual making of wine.  Now I just have to sit back and let things age, and cross my fingers that some, at least, are good.

Weekend o’ tasks


I took Halloween off, not for any particular reason other than the fine suggestion to take a 3-day weekend every month.  This month, I opted to focus on lots of tasks: I painted my bat houses; had Gerry over for dinner and to take a look at the bat houses and help figure out how to hang them; got a long-overdue haircut; took down the raspberry canes (ouch); did some cooking for the week to come; spent a lovely time at the last farmers’ market of the season with Kim (and then went for drinks at a lovely little Francophilic art bar called La Cour), and, most importantly for the purposes of this here blog, bottled some wine.

bottled red currant2 bottled red currant

The red currant here is a really lovely color, so I put it in clear bottles.  I don’t have many , apparently because I drink a lot more red, so there was some rattling around to find enough.  You can see in the second photo that I over-filled one bottle and the cork wouldn’t go all the way in, so I had to take the cork out, pour off a little excess wine, and then re-cork.  I have a little set aside from the rackings, which was good because I was a little short on the final bottle, and also because I then had a place to put the excess from that over-full bottle– probably the final one, overfilled in my excitement to have a use for the excess.

I wasn’t entirely sure the cherry had actually cleared– it’s very dark red, but I didn’t SEE any sediment, so what the heck, right?  I had some left when I finished bottling, so I poured myself a big glass and had it as I cooked dinner for Gerry.  (I was trying to get the light through the bottles to show the color off here, not to be unnecessarily artsy in my photography.)

bottled cherry


Mom contributed Greek pizza, corn pudding, green beans, and sauteed cherry tomatoes, and I made sesame salmon and brownies, and also cooked the beans and tomatoes she brought down.  I think things went quite nicely for someone cooking on an empty stomach and a big glass of wine.  Said wine is still quite harsh, but the flavors are nice.  I don’t get much cherry taste from it, but we’ll see after it ages some more.  Gerry tried some and reckoned that it tasted like a nice dry red, though to be fair, the last time he had a glass of wine was probably 1987.  (He drinks alcohol-free beer.)  Half of this goes to Kim tonight, after I label and bottle, since she and I took the class in which we made this together. (We had to switch up our girls’ night this week– that starts happening a lot this time of year.)

I also racked the dandelion again, since the addition of bentonite made it clear up quite nicely.  Alas, I apparently forgot to take a picture.  I hope it’s ready to bottle soon, too!  It’s a lovely golden color but I think I only have 2 clear bottles left, so unless I can get through 3 more bottles of white or rose soon, it may have to go in green.  That said, I may bring a bottle of white tonight to help us along.  Kirsten usually brings a red or rose, though often those are in screw-top bottles that I can’t use.  Pictures for sure when I bottle, in any case.  I’ll also start a new gallon of Concord soon, since I finally have some growlers free, and am kind of desperately in need of freezer space.