Tasting the dandelion wine!

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Christmas in January is a tradition that Kim, Jen, Kirsten and I have had for probably around a decade now, and it’s something we really love.  We either draw names or go around the table in some manner that seems sensible at the time.  This year, I bought for Kim, Jen bought for me, Kirsten bought for Jen, and Kim bought for Kirsten– we drew names, but it wound up being the order we sit in at my house, which is where we were when we chose this year.

Jen wanted to host the event this year, and do the wine pairings.  (Kirsten has usually done it in the past, and usually we each also bring a course.)  But also, everyone wanted to try the dandelion wine, so I brought that (and the chocolate-peppermint bath bombs you can see in the photo above for everyone), and we had the wine with our appetizers.  And it was a hit!  Hooray!  It was sparkling, which explains why I lost a bottle, but the fizziness was quite nice.  I may have to do it that way on purpose from here on out.  (This time was wholly accidental, a result of my anxiety to bottle it and make some room on the fermenting shelf.) 20150124_183219 The wine has a nice gentle back-note of bitterness from the flowers, and starts out with an immediate almost sweet flavor.  Beyond that, I fair at describing it– like wine but not.  And delicious, if I’m allowed to say that.  (I figure I am, since it was the yeast doing the work, not me.)  We finished the bottle with our appetizers (kale puffs and caramelized onion tartlets), though Kirsten did pour our the last of hers to make way for the soup wine.

So dandelion stays in the rotation.  In fact, I’ll probably be harvesting again soon!

The soup was a lovely acorn squash, topped with mushrooms.

20150124_185649  The wine was a rose, crisp and perfect with the sweetness of the soup.  The salad was topped with figs, garnished with goat cheese crostini, and paired with a lovely pinot noir, but I forgot pictures.20150124_201324The main course was arugula ravioli in a nice light tomato sauce and this nice Toscana.  Then Kirsten was so pleased with her little caramel-filled chocolate horses that we also shared one: 20150124_210724.  Dessert didn’t have a wine pairing, which was probably a mercy, though I’m always open for a nice port or an icewine.  It was a nice tiramisu cake, the leftovers of which I brought home for Jolyon. 20150124_210411 (He hasn’t had any yet, since he was in bed when I got home.)

So a lovely evening!  Also, I’ll be keeping those remaining bottles of dandelion wine upright, in case they lose their corks, too.

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January 23, 2015

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20150123_090115 A day off feels like a good day for wine tasks!  I have an acupuncture appointment later (my first– I’m kind of nervous!) but otherwise have no obligations, so after walking Lily this morning, I started on some overdue tasks.  I clarified the big carboys of peach and apple wine, plus the gallon of apple that appears to have stopped fermenting, and the apple cider.  I also racked all three gallons of Concord, the mead, and the melomel (both of which seem to have returned to their previous funky tastes).

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Not sure why those two have gone funny again– they seemed to have lost that sort of strange mustiness last time.  Maybe I tasted them differently before.  I did just take a swig off the lees this time, which may be an unfair measure.

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Everything else tastes nice, though I didn’t sample the ones I just clarified.  Of the Concords, the Montrachet is the darkest, and also it has the best flavor, though it’s also the oldest, so the taste might be a function of the aging rather than the yeast.  20150123_110450 The Bourgovin batch has the strongest Concord taste, but it’s also still fairly young, so some of that might fade.  As one might expect, these taste more like regular ol’ wine than the non-grape kinds.

Later: So acupuncture is lovely!  I should have started going years ago.  A couple of spots ached while the needles were in, and my right  hand feels a little like an overworked muscle, but I feel relaxed and mellow, and kind of glad I did the wine stuff earlier.  Now I’m chilling out with the dogs, and I think I’ll go make myself a nice cup of tea.

Winding down the winter break

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Just a few days left of my lovely winter break, so it’s time to get some final tasks done.  Happily, the tutti-fruti wine has continued to look quite nice!

tutti-fruti2 This is after I added the yeast– went with Champagne, after all.  I hope the final color is close to this.

And here’s day 7 in the primary:tutti-fruti3.  Love the red!  I let it ferment on the fruit for an extra day, hoping to get lots of fruit flavor.  This time, I’ve been tasting the mixture each day, which has been interesting.  On day one, it mostly tasted of raspberry, but by yesterday, it was getting to taste pretty complex.  It’s still quite sweet, of course, and it never quite tastes like what I thought initially.  But I liked observing the changes, so I think I’ll try to remember to give the spoon a lick after I stir each day.

And not that it’s wine-related, but I’ve also been making lots of bath bombs.

 

lemonrose_bathbombsThese are lemon-rose, and are quite nice.  Yesterday I tried full spheres, with some success (they’re in the photo below).  I made vanilla-cinnamon-clove (light yellow), sandalwood-vanilla  (green), and citrus-cassia (blue).  And today I put the wine into its carboy, and filled a pint jar with the overflow.

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(I’ve also clearly become enamored of photographing things on these chairs.)  The wine is quite active and the carboy is very full.  With all the overflow, I hope that means I won’t have to top it off with anything else when I rack it.

I also think it’s about time to bottle the crab apple, finally!  And the first Concord is looking pretty close, as well.  The apple wine and cider are both still fermenting, and since I lost that bottle of dandelion, I’m opting to err on the side of caution for everything else.  No more bentonite unless absolutely necessary.

Finally, 2014 would not be complete without a cute photo of the dogs. LilyRose  Happy 2015!