Elderberry wine

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Rodj

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I usually make black and elder. Has anyone else noticed (or commented) that although wild blackberries are much smaller than cultivated ones, they have a much better, stronger, richer taste? It seems to me that cultivated blackberries have been developed for size and appearance only, and flavour is forgotten about. I only ever use wild ones. Collecting them is also more fun than shopping (and I won't waste time, garden space and effort growing them).
I usually try to make my B&E very slightly sparkling, simply by bottling it before it has completely finished fermenting. Care is needed, but using one (smallish) PET bottle permits squeeze tests to ensure all is OK, and I use screw-cap wine bottles just in case it isn't. You've got to leave it for quite a while to finish fermenting and clear, but as I'd leave it for a good while anyway, that's no problem. Chilled, it is gorgeous.
 

Applesnmore

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From my past life experience in years of writing food lables.
In the UK/EU there are different regulations for food and wine/beers as well as specific regulations for the likes of jam, honey, meat products, flour...
With regards to food all functional additives are declared unless it is a processing aid (unless it is an allergen, then it must be declared) and not a functional part of the final product. Eg think adding lemon juice to water to acidulate it to prevent slices of apple browning.
Many of the food regulations followed UK framework legislation but over the years we have been less of a driving force.
Equally with wine and beer France and Germany had their views. Water treatments etc...

One thing that has changed with regards to fruit juices is their processing. Of old they were fresh, pasteurised = chilled short shelf life or Ultra Heat Treated long life tera brick type products, which like milk tasted different to fresh because the had been treated at a higher temperature. This process has been refined and is not held at high temperature for as long a time leading to brighter coloured juices. Many chilled juices fit into this category where they are ambient stable and only chilled for consumer preferences / after opening.
 

johncrobinson

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Its the same with roses,Few modern varieties have a good scent on accord of being bred soley for appearance.
Not an ideal situation for winemakers.
 

Rodj

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Its the same with roses,Few modern varieties have a good scent on accord of being bred soley for appearance.
Totally true. Nevertheless, years ago my mother used to make a superb rose petal wine from the petals of three (maybe 4 or 5, I can't remember) identical bushes in her garden. The flowers were a good strong red and richly scented, and I never got over the odd sensation of lifting a glass of wine to drink and smelling roses in the glass. The best bit was the name of the rose variety ... wait or it: Erotica.
 

Elderflower.

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It seems to be the way of the world with most things these days.Appearance over substance. We are sold stuff based on how it looks and only realise later that that is often not the most important property.
 

CeeGee

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This is the recipe and method I use, very slightly modified from a recipe from ‘Booze for free’ by Andy Hamilton (an excellent book, btw). Will also make pure elderberry or blackberry, just use 2kg of one fruit:

2kg blackberries/elderberries (equal quantities)
1.5kg sugar
Half cup of very strong black tea*
4 litres water
Juice of one lemon (I use 1tsp of citric acid)
1 campden tablet (crushed)
1 tsp yeast nutrient
1 tsp pectolase
Red wine yeast

Freeze berries overnight (or longer if still gathering), then put into a fermentation bin and allow to thaw. Give them a bit of a squish to get lots of juice out, but try not to crush the seeds too much. Add the sugar, boil one litre of the water and pour it over, stir until sugar has dissolved. Add the rest of the water (cold) and all the other ingredients. My method differs only in that I leave it all for twenty four hours before I pitch the yeast to give the Campden tablet a chance to kill off any remaining wild yeasts and to disperse.

Let it sit in the bin for three-five days, then strain into a demijohn (I strain it into another bin first using a sieve and a muslin cloth, then pour into demijohn up to the shoulder as I make less mess that way). I have a litre plastic bottle that I fitted with an airlock that I put any excess into, then I top up after the most vigorous fermentation has finished up to the bottom of the neck of the DJ, more or less.

Rack after a month or so, let it ferment out. I’ll usually rack again after a few weeks, perhaps a month or two, maybe again if sediment still forming, then hide it away somewhere dark for a few months with a safety bung in it to clear fully before I bottle. Leave in the bottle as long as possible before drinking; pure blackberry less so, ready and drinkable in six months or so.

*If you decide to make pure elderberry wine, don’t add the tea; elderberry has plenty of tannin already. If you make pure blackberry wine, add more tea!

The idea of the half and half is that blackberry wine can be a little sickly, elderberry can be very tanniny, the two together balance each other out.

Quick to make, very labour UNintensive, but requires patience in spades before you drink it!
 
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