GOOSEBERRY WINE – 4.5L
Suitable yeast – Vintners Harvest MA33
2kg Gooseberries (use pink as much as you can)
1kg-ish Sugar to 1.08SG
3.75 litres water
Half teaspoon pectolase
1 teaspoon yeast nutrient
Gooseberries are known as the hairy grape which sounds disgusting but they behave like grapes making wine – no tannin or extra acid needs to be added to the fruit and some people even use the natural yeast on the berry to start the fermentation off! I have decided that I like predictability and control in my wine making though.
The wet summer seems to have made gooseberries scarce and the coveted dessert gooseberries even rarer. I have used a blend of 1/3 regular green and 2/3 red dessert to make what I hope is a nice tasty slightly sweet wine.
Finding the damn things was the most difficult thing. After washing and topping and tailing the mid season greens stayed in the freezer until the sweeter reds came into season – these taking longer to mature but having a sweeter taste for it. Freezing allows the pectin to break down by up to half and as I want wine not jam this is beneficial. They were further Han Solo-ed in a cold maceration in the fridge for 4 days which left them looking paler and softened right up for a good mash afterwards.
Mashing released the flesh and juice and the dreaded pectin do a further 12 hour soak with pectolase was needed to break down any remaining pectin. then pitched the MA33 yeast – good for acidic fruits. Usually I would add yeast nutrient to aid the yeast but I have decided not to to slow the fermentation down. The gooseberry aroma is very nice and I want to save it as much as possible, the metal primary fermenter should aid this too radiating some of the exothermic heat generated through the yeast respiration giving a more gentle movement in temperatures.
I am contemplating removing the fruit mid way through primary fermentation depending on the taste extracted as I may not want too much tannin to be extracted. Tannin starts to be extracted as the ethanol rises during fermentation.
I have enough still frozen for a second batch. Gooseberries seem quite versatile with “English champagnes” being possible – this would require a second fermentation with EC-1118 yeast in about 6 months time. Some recipes add elder-flowers or rhubarb to compliment the flavour or use honey as a more flavourful alternative to plain old sugar. I may adapt a sherry recipe but I am still undecided on the next batch and have a week to mull things over.
Updates will be forth coming and Ms Gazette may well have made the red gooseberry jam so the first complementary recipe may arrive soon!