(Sorry for the hasty photo. You can see the edge of a jar of tahini, and my blender features almost as prominently as the wines.)
Finally we’ve drunk something I helped make! Last night, we had dinner at Jen’s and I brought a bottle of the Horse-Key Malbec that Kim and I made in our first wine-making class back in February at Wine and Whey. It’s a kit wine, which is why we could drink it so early, and we weren’t exactly on our own when we made it– W&W’s Katrina taught, and there were 4 other women in the class. Still, we did help to make it, and Kim designed our excellent tags. (Horse-Key is the name of a club we made up when we were very small. We liked horses and were latchkey kids. She was Arabian Anderson, I was Foal Frank, Kirsten was Pony Logan, and Jen somehow missed out on the whole thing.) I love how the key has a kind of horse shape.
Anyway, so the wine itself was quite nice. It wasn’t quite as deep and complex as a Malbec from a commercial concern, but I suppose that’s kind of the deal with kit wines. You can have success but you probably any international competitions. I think a lot of serious kit wine-makers also customize their brews, sort of like adding chocolate chips to a boxed cake mix. But I, of course, don’t use boxed cake mixes, and my default setting is making things from scratch (food and drink, anyway; maybe not bookshelves) so I’m not likely to continue with the kits. I already feel a little like I’m cheating because I’m planning to make my beers with malt concentrate instead of from whole grains, and like the wine I made from frozen blueberries somehow counts less. This is all quite silly because I wouldn’t feel that way about anyone else’s attempts, but there you are.
The other important piece to this hasty photo (the blender is new, if that matters) is the lovely cleared overflow of the red currant wine. I think I might want to rack these, but how does one rack mason jars? I might try the very sophisticated method of pouring. Mostly I am pleased by the color, and by the fact that these two smaller containers cleared so quickly. The wine still tastes quite rough and tart, but I’m hopeful that that means it will age itself into a nice crisp rosé.
I’ve been reading Ben’s Adventures in Wine-Making (there’s a book as well as the excellent blog), and Ben does a Christmas Tutti-Fruti every year, which I think is brilliant. I will begin collecting extra fruit in the freezer, and am excited to have a potential new tradition for the holiday. I already have a little over 5 oz. of red currants, but since I now have something to do with them besides vague thoughts of jam and pie, I will harvest more soon. I saw some cherries in a yard recently while walking the dogs, too, so I might see if I can get up the courage to ask those folks if I can harvest some. I’m sure I also saw a mulberry tree on a recent dog walk, but for the life of me I can’t remember where. So at this point, I am reasonably confident my Christmas Tutti-Fruit will have red currants and raspberries, which potentially makes it a mere Bi-Fruti, but we shall see.