BLACKBERRY WINE– 4.5 litres
Suitable yeasts – R56, R2, D80, D254, 71B
700g sugar to 1.09sg
1tsp yeast nutrient
Juice of 2 lemons
Foraging blackberries has been difficult this year as the warm but wet weather created a lot of growth but few blackberries that refused to ripen. Then just as all the jammy-mammies has picked them too early they were savagely cut back. It was like a scorched earth policy so I only managed to get 1kg myself and had to rely on shop bought fruit to bulk it up to the 2kg I needed for one gallon of wine.
It seems a lot later than last year getting the blackberry wine fermenting but this may pay dividends as I have some thoroughly ripe fruit that will make some excellent wine. Last year I was one of the dunderheads picking too early! The very nice blackberry wine I made last year was a medium body but very fruity number and this year I have decided to add 100g of raisins to add a little body and push it towards a full bodied red.
Blackberries have thin skins so there is no need to cold macerate them. First thing was to pour some boiling water over them to break the skins and sanitise them, as it cooled some pectolase was added so it could break down the pectin. 24 hours later it was time to add the juice of a lemon, sugar and yeast. The fruit must have been busting with natural sugar and the 24 hours as the must cooled really allowed it into the water and only using 700g extra was impressive. Some British recipes recommend adding 1.5kg which would surely be too much for the yeast to tolerate and make either an overly sweet wine or a horribly alcoholic one. I decided to use Lavlin 71B yeast to test it out but last years used the very good Vintners Harvest R56.
I used a sparge bag to pack all the blackberries into as I wanted them contained. When fermentation starts the fruit rises due to the Carbon Dioxide given off by the partying yeast – last year this created a perfect plug that rose up and exploded over the side of the fermenter. Just for the record blackberry stains to not wash out of wooden floors. Luckily it was a bare floor about to be relaid but I did not want any repeats this year.
Fermentation in primary took 6 days with thankfully no explosions. Racking off the gross leas was easy into the demijohn through sterilised muslin. This caught the fruit pulp allowing a really good squeeze to get all the lovely flavour from the berries. The pulp still looked very rich and often people reuse this for a second run rose wine. I could not manage it as the resulting fruit is half as flavourful so you half the volume of wine being made from the originator and I had already used the relatively small 4.5l demijohn. Rather than waste it I decided to throw it into some gin and added two bay leaves. In three weeks time this will hopefully have infused into the gin and be ready to filter then drink.
The wine however will sadly take a little more time. Racking off the yeast will happen in 6 weeks and then again at 3 or 4 months to remove any sediment that precipitates out. Last years wine was perfectly palatable after nine months maturing and even better after 12. I imagine that the raisins creating more body will mean that it needs a minimum of 12 months in the bottle and I may try to leave it 18 months if I am a good boy.