Hey, the world’s laziest homemade wine blogger is back! I know my massive following with both be delighted.
Side note about life: My WordPress site page has a rainbow banner across the top, which is making me happy. Jolyon only wishes the news would start just saying “marriage” now, but so far they haven’t been cooperating.
Anyway. Wine. Now, don’t ask me why I fell down when it came to writing about the fun part, but we have now tasted several of the wines and I’m just now getting to mentioning them. Some are delicious and some are interesting but not really worth making again. (Okay, one. One is not worth making again.) The rhubarb was the first, of course, and I think I have noted it already. It has a nice flavor but is much too sweet for me. Jolyon likes it, though, and I am willing to play around with it again to see if I can make a drier version.
Peach Perfection came next. It has a bit of a musty smell– most seem to– but a nice taste. Dry and pleasant, and worth making again. The very bottom of the first bottle had some lees, which were decidedly musty, but I’ve ordered a new fermentation unit with birthday money from Gerry that should help remove the sediment better. (This is a photo from the website, incidentally. Mine hasn’t arrived yet.)
Apple is a clear winner. I’m almost sad about that, since it’s harder to make and I still haven’t found a big piece of wood to attach to my press. But it was good enough to be worth the effort and strange knee bruises. The wine is a little bit sharp, but pleasantly so, and has a nice white wine color.
Sadly, the loser was red currant. I really wanted it to be nice, since they grow so well for me, but the wine is sort of peculiar and sharp in a way that isn’t as nice as the apple. It’s not awful, and might be nice in some sort of cocktail, but it’s definitely the least pleasant of the wines I’ve tasted so far. That was only the first bottle, though, so maybe the others will be better. Or not.
Blueberry-pomegranate is a definite winner! It’s slightly sweet with a full red color and a great flavor balance. I am still looking for a good local supplier, but until then, I can continue using frozen fruit, since the wine is so good.
Speaking of which, I harvested about 2 cups of tart cherries from my little shrubby cherry in front, and was at something of a loss. I wanted to do something interesting with them, but after I took out their pits, I had a little over half a pound– not enough for wine, jam, marmalade, conserve, or even a pie. But then I remembered seeing a recipe for rumtopf (pronounced “romtoff,’ apparently) in my Booze for Free so that’s what I did!
This is the first layer of fruit, with half its weight in sugar, the whole covered with rum. The French version uses brandy, but I didn’t have any, so we’re going to be Germanic here. The next layer I plan to add is red currants, since I get loads of them and they’re already ripening, but the wine wasn’t particularly worthwhile. And I should still get enough for things like currant-raspberry jam and some tarts. Rumtopf is an old European fruit preservation method: you just add layers of fruit as things come into season, and at Christmas, you have some gorgeous boozy toppings for pancakes or apple strudel or, I’m thinking, ice cream. The very wise Andy Hamilton, author of Booze for Free, recommends taking a spoonful now and then, just to check quality, of course, and not at all for enjoyment. This seems like sound advice and I shall follow it.