December 2016 Wine of the Month Club

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Jericurl

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Happy Holidays everyone! This is our official December thread.

This totally unofficial club is open to anyone who is interested in making a one gallon (or larger) test/experimental batch and sharing the recipe, process, ups and downs with the rest of the club.

We like:

a) full recipes with all ingredients and steps as you go along
b) pictures
c) helpful suggestions on recipe ideas, advice to stumped members
d) thinking outside the box
e) pictures! (did I say that already?)

At the end of the month, we would appreciate a recap of the good, the bad and the ugly of the primary fermentation, as well as periodic updates throughout the year as you go along. A recap isn't 100% required. When we started doing these WOTM club threads some of us were new to winemaking and it was quite helpful at the time.

At the one year mark, we will all pop open a bottle of the previous year's wine and take pictures, post comments on how it turned out, and hopefully have a tried and true recipe to post in the recipes section.
And if it turns out lovely, well you will have some ready made holiday presents to give out. And...well, if it's not so lovely, you will have a fantastic alternative to coal to put into someone's stocking.

DECEMBER 2016 PARTICIPANTS:

1. Jericurl.....Sobremesa

2. dcbrown73.....Cherry Chocolate Walnut Fortified Wine
 
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BernardSmith

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Came across the following podcast discussing the hosts' submission of what they called 8-day hydromels (low ABV mead) to a mead making competition.
http://www.meadmakr.com/mc036-soda-mead-challenge/
Got me thinking about making a "sour mead" using Lacto Brevis* with the goal of being able to bottle this before the New Year. Not 8 days but a month is not chopped liver either.
In the podcast they talked about how much work they had to put in to get their hydromels bottled ready for competition so quickly - it required several rackings to remove the yeast and help clarify their mead but the judges complained about tallow flavors they found in the mead and how such flavors may have come from the wax. My plan is to use Mesquite honey (Trader Joe's), so not raw honey, and I am aiming for an ABV of about 6%.
* I have used this strain once before (it needs a higher fermentation temperature) but I allowed this to ferment too long and the incredible flavors that were in the mead during the first few weeks all became much more muted once I had blended this with some mead I had made with wine yeast.
 
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Jericurl

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This month, I'll be continuing my "series" based on beautiful words that don't fully translate into English.

This month's word is sobremesa. It is Spanish and the literal translation is "over the table."

One site defines it as "Time spent in conversation, digesting, relaxing, enjoying. Certainly not rushing. Not reserved for weekends — though it can be longest on Sundays — even weekday and business meals have sobremesa."

Wikipedia: The sobremesa is a period of relaxation immediately after a meal (usually after lunch) in some countries such as Spain. It begins after dessert and lasts from half an hour to a full hour. In summer and on holidays, it tends to be longer. The sobremesa is used by diners to socialize and digest their meal before leaving the table. Depending on the customs of the area or country, diners usually take coffee, tea, or a small glass of brandy, or smoke a cigar.

My goal is to have something light and refreshing for summertime.
I do like a little bit of citrus sorbet when it's hot outside after dinner, so I'm thinking a blood orange melomel will be nice. I'll try to keep this one around 10-11%.

Blood Orange Melomel
9 lbs orange blossom honey
water to just over 3 gallons
1 over ripe banana, boiled in a portion of above water
FermK for nutrients
D47 yeast

In secondary:
Add one can Vintner's Harvest Blood Orange Puree

I've also got some orange blossom water that I'm wanting to add mainly for aroma, although the flavor should complement the blood orange nicely (Nielsen-Massey Orange Blossom Water). I'll likely start with 1 tsp and see where that gets me.

original-7363-1426679145-9.png
 
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wineforfun

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This month, I'll be continuing my "series" based on beautiful words that don't fully translate into English.

This month's word is sobremesa. It is Spanish and the literal translation is "over the table."

One site defines it as "Time spent in conversation, digesting, relaxing, enjoying. Certainly not rushing. Not reserved for weekends — though it can be longest on Sundays — even weekday and business meals have sobremesa."

Wikipedia: The sobremesa is a period of relaxation immediately after a meal (usually after lunch) in some countries such as Spain. It begins after dessert and lasts from half an hour to a full hour. In summer and on holidays, it tends to be longer. The sobremesa is used by diners to socialize and digest their meal before leaving the table. Depending on the customs of the area or country, diners usually take coffee, tea, or a small glass of brandy, or smoke a cigar.

My goal is to have something light and refreshing for summertime.
I do like a little bit of citrus sorbet when it's hot outside after dinner, so I'm thinking a blood orange melomel will be nice. I'll try to keep this one around 10-11%.

Blood Orange Melomel
9 lbs honey
water to just over 3 gallons
1 over ripe banana, boiled in a portion of above water
FermK for nutrients
D47 yeast

In secondary:
Add one can Vintner's Harvest Blood Orange Puree

I've also got some orange blossom water that I'm wanting to add mainly for aroma, although the flavor should complement the blood orange nicely (Nielsen-Massey Orange Blossom Water). I'll likely start with 1 tsp and see where that gets me.
Thanks for the education on new words, I do enjoy it.

This month's word brings back VERY good memories of our trip to Spain this year. A lot of food, vino and relaxing.
 

Jericurl

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This month's word brings back VERY good memories of our trip to Spain this year. A lot of food, vino and relaxing.
It sounds wonderful. Share pics?

I would love to travel to Spain one day. The history alone would keep me occupied for years. And that's long before I ran into all the food and wine.

What was your favorite place? Favorite meal there?
 

wineforfun

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It sounds wonderful. Share pics?

I would love to travel to Spain one day. The history alone would keep me occupied for years. And that's long before I ran into all the food and wine.

What was your favorite place? Favorite meal there?
I will upload a few pics over in the photo section.

Favorite was probably Madrid, with a close second of Seville. Barcelona was nice but didn't do much for me. We chose to stay in mostly B & B's. I am not a big fan of the hotel chain places, ie: Hilton, Hyatt, etc. when I travel abroad. I like to get into the local culture.
Also, very easy to get around within the cities(public transportation) and within the country(trains and planes).

Favorite meal is too hard to pin down. Couple restaurants that come to mind are a. Zerain in Madrid. We had the Traditional Basque Menu which included salad, Chuleton steak, cod omelette, txistorra sausages, puff pastry and wine(they provide a whole bottle with the dinner) and a shot of Patxaran(which comes with the dinner). Approx. $40 USD
b. El Reconcillo in Seville we tried numerous tapas (cheeses, jamon ham, olives, steak, etc. and had some incredible sherry with it. Very unique place.
 

dcbrown73

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Cherry Chocolate Walnut Fortified Wine

I'm making 5 gallons, I'm expecting two gallons to be the fortified wine, the other three is expected to be just plain cherry wine.

(1) 128oz Cherry Wine Base
(4) gallons spring water
(12lbs) cherries
(1) EC-1118 Yeast
(1/2lbs) Belgian 72% cacao chocolate
(*) I have a pound of walnuts, but I'm not sure how much to use yet. I figured I would just slowly add it and stop once I find the flavor I think is good.
(*) Everclear to fortify if I can find it in Connecticut. Not sure if it's legal or where I can get it. It's illegal in NY.

If I can't find it, I suppose I can use Vodka, but I prefer not too.

Can someone tell me what that calculator is to calculate how much is needed to fortify to a specific level. (haven't decided that yet either)
 

Jericurl

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It's called Pearson's Square. I haven't used it myself, but I found this link: http://www.vinovation.com/Pearson.html


I'm surprised to hear Everclear is illegal up there. You can find it in the liquor stores here.
And when we went to Santa Fe, they had it at the Walgreens and the CVS! We were in shock.
 

dcbrown73

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It seems my favorite local shop carries Everclear (I live in Connecticut), so I'm good. It's just illegal in NY.

So, the Cherry wine base makes 5 gallons, but the 12lbs of cherries seems to have provided the last gallon of juice and my batch is now a full six gallons. It doesn't quite top up the six gallon carboy. What exactly is good for topping it up? I have some Welch's black cherry 100% juice. I suppose if do that, I need to sorbate, especially since I plan to slightly back sweeten, except that the gravity says it's a 1.004 now which is where I thought I read it should be post back sweeten.

Heck, I don't know. I still haven't decided if I'm going to make 3 or all 6 gallons fortified wine. The wine is much much darker and thicker that I expected. It's like a very dark Pinot Noir and thick like a Cabernet Sauvignon. I'm unsure if it will make a good straight cherry wine as all the cherry wines I've tasted where remotely this dark. I hate not knowing what to actually do!

Any advice should be greatly appreciated!

 

dcbrown73

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I just decided I would make the entire six gallons into cherry chocolate walnut, but maybe I only fortify part of it.

I dumped the 1lbs of 72% chocolate and I'm not even sure how much walnuts in. It wasn't a whole lot, but I can always add more later if the taste isn't where I like.

I added sorbate. Seemed like a lot, but it said half a teaspoon per gallon which ends up at 1 tablespoon. Hopefully it doesn't end up making it taste awful. Given it's already at 1.004, I'm not adding any sugar until I can really determine where it's at after the chocolate and walnuts come out.

Any idea how long to leave them in? One week? Two?

After this, I'm going to move it to (1) three gallon carboy and then the rest into one gallon carboys to eliminate as much headspace as possible.

 

Jericurl

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I can't speak to the walnuts as I've never used them, but I would leave the chocolate in for months. Like...at least 3 months, probably closer to 6.
 

dcbrown73

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Ouch how do you do that when you have to rack? Just add more chocolate?
 

Stressbaby

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Just a question, but can you use Hershey's chocolate syrup to flavor a wine when you want chocolate flavor?
There is a well known chocolate mead which I'm told is commonly backsweetened with Hershey's syrup. I have 1.5 gallons of it and after 1.5 years it is still cloudy as h3!!. If it doesn't clear, I'm going to try it, nothing to lose...
 

Johnd

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There is a well known chocolate mead which I'm told is commonly backsweetened with Hershey's syrup. I have 1.5 gallons of it and after 1.5 years it is still cloudy as h3!!. If it doesn't clear, I'm going to try it, nothing to lose...
Just curious, don't make much of that kind of wine, but seemed like a viable chocolate flavor source. It's dang good on ice cream!!
 

Jericurl

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You have just racked into secondary. You can probably get away with not racking for a couple of months. How much lees are you dropping?
 

dcbrown73

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You have just racked into secondary. You can probably get away with not racking for a couple of months. How much lees are you dropping?
I just racked it from the primary today, so it's only dropped maybe 1/4" of sludge in the bottom of the primary. It's still completely opaque. I haven't added any clearing agents as of yet.
 

Jericurl

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I just racked it from the primary today, so it's only dropped maybe 1/4" of sludge in the bottom of the primary. It's still completely opaque. I haven't added any clearing agents as of yet.
It should be fine for at least a month. Unless it drops an insane amount of lees I'm guessing you can get away with not racking again for a couple, three months. Don't want to rack too much anyway, you'll miss all the flavor.
 

wineforfun

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Couple of things.
I wouldn't have added sorbate until it was clear.
As far as Hershey's chocolate, IIRC, it leaves an oil or something to that effect. I always use Lindt 85% chocolate bars whenever I want chocolate flavor. Maybe @Julie will chime in, I know she is pretty knowledgeable on the chocolate additions.
 

dcbrown73

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Couple of things.
I wouldn't have added sorbate until it was clear.
As far as Hershey's chocolate, IIRC, it leaves an oil or something to that effect. I always use Lindt 85% chocolate bars whenever I want chocolate flavor. Maybe @Julie will chime in, I know she is pretty knowledgeable on the chocolate additions.
Too late on the sorbate. I haven't added any clearing agents except Pectin.

As for the wine, do you also keep the chocolate in the wine for 3-6 months?
 
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