Monday, February 15, 2010

V-Day = Dessert Wine

Dessert Wine of four types in one day?

To pull this off you must know people who make it, make it yourself, and/or know where to buy it.

For Valentine's Day in 2010 that was a combination of all of those. We started with a brunch finisher and then went on to homemade and then to back-in-the-day Montreal with some ice wine.

At Sel de la Terre we had a wonderful brunch. We started with a bottle of Lange 2007 Pinot Gris, an excellent choice. It paired well with both barbequeued salmon and fried egg and duck confit hash. We led off with a cheese plate and goat cheese dip, great matches with the breads, apples and nuts paired with them.

The Sauternes and Late Harvest New Zealand Sauv. Blanc were kick ass! What a great way to finsh a meal.

We then returned home and indulged in a bottle of the 2008 Plum Dessert wine from our own collection. This is still drinking mighty good and won't last forever!

The final selection was the Magnotta Vidal Dessert wine from Quebec made in 2005. We bought several bottles of this to bring home in 2006 or 2007 and it is still as good now as it was then.

I had hope to write more in this entry, but it got lost in my drafts so I just decided to quickly finish it and ship it.



Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cider Update

I am racking and back-sweetening the remaining six (of seven) carboys of cider this weekend. The first one was flavored with strawberry and has already been bottled.

I started with seven buckets of cider from Lull Farm in Hollis, NH in the first week of October. They were inoculated with 3 different types of yeast which was a new twist in my home brewing journey. Three with traditional cider yeast, two with sweet mead yeast and the remaining two with rudishiemer yeast. From the beginning there were differences in the pace of the fermentation and tastes between the evolving products.

Now at the point of preparing them for bottling the differences are very obvious and quite interesting.

A couple baseline notes. I prefer my cider without carbonation and thus I allowed the fermentations to complete and used sorbate and sulfite to retard further activity. I didn't make any cider in 2008 which is why I went nuts with 35 gallons; I hope it lasts.

As expected the traditional cider yeast yielded a dry cider which will get treated in three ways, with strawberry flavored syrup, dry and medium dry.

The sweet mead batches ended up with some residual sweetness, as expected, and will be treated in two different ways, medium dry and with raspberry flavored syrup (3 gallons). These should be a hit all summer!

The rudishiemer batches expressed a nutty flavor early on and it has remained, although to a lesser degree in the finished product. There is also residual sweetness similar to the sweet mead, which is a pleasant surprise. These batches will be treated in two ways, medium dry and with cherry flavored syrup (3 gallons). The nut and cherry flavors should meld nicely.

In the end I will end up with seven different styles that should easily be differentiated. This is by far the most interesting home brew project I have taken on to date.