Tag Archives: wine

Tasting Notes: Sakura Wine

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Well, the sakura wine came out. The sweet blushy pink was lost in the fermentation process, and while I was tempted to pink it up again with an adjunct, I also decided I wasn’t actually that invested. Since it was a comparatively low-alcohol wine, and since the flavoring involved was so light, it didn’t seem like a good candidate for aging. Just went right ahead and bottled it up and let it sit for a bit and busted it out on a nice cool evening after a warm late-spring day.

So! Did it suck?

winesuck

Yeah. It sucked. It tasted like cheap floral deodorant smells. A worthy experiment but not something I’m going to mess with again. The mild acidity was appropriate, the dryness was appropriate, the body was kinda lacking. More or less happy with the recipe overall, with the unfortunate caveat that it was formulated to complement something that makes a sucky wine. Oh well. Win some, lose some.

cheekywine

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Sakura Wine

Springtiiiiime~

Tiiiiime for flower wiiiiiiine~

Chez Ape has a couple of flowering cherries right close. Not the ones that have been bred to go off as early as possible, and not ones that make fruit worth anything, but what they can do, really well, is once they get around to it they make vast¬†wads of huge fluffy pink blossoms. Gorgeous. I’ve never tried to make a cherry-petal wine before, so I have no idea how the delicate scent and color will translate to a final brew. Whatever, life’s a mystery, let’s do this.

I’m following a pretty basic “country wine” template: make a tea/decoction, add sugar, add acid (citrus) and tannin (raisins) as appropriate, and go to town. Since the scent is so delicate I’m being pretty gentle with the acid and skipping the tannin entirely.

Here’s what a gallon of cherry blossoms looks like before you cook them.

cherrypetals

Here’s what it looks like afterward.

cherryboil

Initial notes: scent is a bit disappointing. It smells more like vegetables than flowers. I’m feeling a little ripped-off by life. I’m feeling like I should have expected this with trying to make brew out of a faintly-scented flower, and also like I kinda WAS expecting it, and disappointed that life has FUCKING FAILED TO SURPRISE AND DELIGHT ME DESPITE MY FONDEST HOPES AND DREAMS.

Screw it, it’s gonna be wine anyway.

So here’s the recipe:

1 gal sakura

1.5 gal water

zest of 1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp malic acid

2lbs sugar

1 packet white wine yeast

Boil water. Turn off burner. Chuck sakura and zest into pot; let the mess sit and fill you with doubts until it’s no longer steaming but still feels warm. Chuck everything else in; stir to dissolve sugar. Pour into a couple of gallon jugs, cap and wait until it’s not warm anymore and then chuck the yeast in and put an airlock on.

Squint at it. Wait.

So that’s where we are now. Waiting. We are waiting to find out that we have basically made lettuce wine and that we should re-think our life choices. We are suspicious. Check back in a couple of weeks.

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September 23rd Massacre Wine

Most of a plum tree died for this wine.

It’ll be okay though, it’s just that my brother in Tacoma had a plum in his backyard that was taking it over and was coincidentally covered in fruit. Easy fix: cut off the branches with fruit and let his sister get in there like a locust and shark a couple buckets of gorgeously ripe Italian prunes.* (I’m every species. It’s all in me.)

So, 17 lbs of plums with their pits gouged out and crushed in an authoritative fist later, I’ve got a wine that’s coming along nicely. Have a 5-gallon-bucket recipe:

  • 17 pounds plums
  • 4 gallons water
  • 8 pounds sugar
  • 2 tsp acid blend
  • 5 Campden tablets, crushed
  • 2 tbs yeast nutrient
  • 1 packet of wine yeast

Wash and oppress your plums; just dig a thumb in there and gouge the pit out, then crush the sad fleshy remains in your fist before dropping it into the fermenter. You can use a mesh bag for your plums, I did not. Add all the other dry ingredients EXCEPT THE YEAST and pour boiling water over the mix. Stir to dissolve everything and pop the fermenter lid on. Wait 24 hours. Now that the Campden tablets have made your plum sludge all hygenic and such, prep and add the yeast. Pop the lid back on, stir daily, and enjoy the big heaps of bright pink fizz for a few days.

After a week or when you start to get a good thick layer of yeast corpses and other sediment at the bottom of the fermenter, siphon the wine out into a secondary fermenter and let it finish up its business for another two or three weeks. Now your wine’s done! It’ll be cloudy. Left to age for a good long time it may clear up, but don’t wait on that. Cloudy is fine.¬† (Let me tell you my thoughts on cloudy homemade wine.)

You can sweeten the wine before bottling by adding 1/2 teaspoon potassium sorbate (wine stabilizer), 1 Campden tablet, and a quarter-pound to a half-pound of sugar–all of these measurements are per gallon. Maybe you want half a batch of dryer table wine and half a batch of sweet dessert wine. Rock out.

Here’s a few shots of mine as it works it way through that process. It’s stopped fizzing hysterically, which is a shame because I liked to put my ear next to the fermenter and listen to it go. Like the ocean in a seashell, but the ocean is not made of delicious brew. I’ll probably plop it into a carboy later today and drag it over to the Ape Cave to finish fermenting.

Tasting notes so far: it’s been getting rapidly drier over the last few days and still has a nice plum-skin flavor. I’ll probably sweeten a couple of bottles and leave the rest as-is.

* The Italian Prune Plum is both a prune AND a plum, even while it’s fresh. This amuses me more than it should. Apparently they’re so named because they’re the perfect plum to dry for prunes: small, sweet, and free-stoned (i.e. the pit falls right out. It does.)

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