The Wine Pages: Homebrew winemaking
I enjoy homebrew winemaking, and I enjoy drinking my homemade homebrew wine. However, you can't live off wine alone. You need to have something solid, at least for breakfast. For many years I've been a keen homebrew food maker as well. My cooking is much like my winemaking. Recipe books are for browsing in an armchair. Improvisation and ad-lib are king in the kitchen. One of the things I love are very fresh herbs. I'm not a great gardener. My mother, on the other hand, is a great gardener. So when she visits I make sure she plants out the things I want in the garden. So I have herb beds and not flower beds.
One day during the summer (historical note: there was no summer in the UK in 2008, but it was July, so I'll call it summer) I was looking at the large sage plants, which had many many leaves to spare, and the natural thought occoured - can't I make sage wine?
From the outset I decided that sage wine might be a little "strongly flavoured" for drinking, but it would be a fantastic wine for cooking. Pork chops in homemade homebrew sage wine? Wow. I quickly decided to like the idea. :-)
I took a fairly simple course with the recipe. I harvested 200g of fresh green sage leaves (stalks and all) and chucked them in a bucket. I poured on some hot water.
I added 175ml of white grape juice concentrate.
And 300g sultanas.
I made up the bucket to the 10 litre mark with hot water and sugar to arrive at about 1085 gravity.
Then half a teaspoon of grape tannin powder.
I then added enough acid mix blend to get the titrated acidity up to about 3.5ppt sulfuric.
Then I chopped up a couple of ripe bananas and dropped these in.
A dose of yeast nutrient was added.
Finally Gervin No. 1 wine yeast was sprinkled on the top. By morning the blob of yeast on the top was looking very happy, so I stirred it in.
4th August 2008: Fermenting very well, so I strained it must off all the leaves.
12th August 2008: Fermentation has slowed. Gravity about 995. Tastes very strongly of sage. Also tastes a bit like oranges. It occours to me that orange and sage together might make a nice wine - perhaps a dessert wine.
16th August 2008: Racked the wine (2 gallons) and added 2 campden tablets.
20th August 2008: Added 2 part finings.
23rd August 2008: Racked and 1 campden tablet. Still tastes exceedingly sagey.