ELDERBERRY AND BLACKBERRY WINE – 4.5L
Suitable yeast- R56, Lalvin 71B, D80 or D254
1kg elderberries (or skins from previous run of elder)
1kg sugar to 1.09sg
1tsp yeast nutrient
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Yeast (If not reusing skins)
Wine making seems to escalate into mania rather than any real money saving or taste experiment turning into entertainment for hoarders. Currently I have the equivalent of 70 or so bottles of wine fermenting from this years recipes to compliment the ones that are aging in bottle in the Zero Drop Wine Cellar… the cupboard under the stairs. The rather heavy investment is to allow the blackberry, blueberry and elderberry a decent chance of aging rather than being snaffled too early.
The Elder and Black wine allows myself to indulge this greed for the last time this year. Elderberries are full of flavour, so much so that they can be recycled into a second run wine – this is from the skins being so thick and proportionally a lot of the berries as they are teeny weeny compared to grapes. The flavour is not as strong as the first run only having about half the punch so the 4kg of fruit from the pure elderberry wine is now the equivalent of 2kg of fruit. The taste has also changed to be less fruity moving towards the tannic side so I am using 2kg of blackberries to make up the deficit. These two berries compliment each other as the blackberries provide to fruitier top tastes and the elder skins the baser bitter tastes to make an at least medium red wine.
Alternatively I could have just reused the skins but halved the volume of wine being made but I was worried this would be too tannic dominating the light style that would be created by just the skins.
Planning ahead was important as I needed the blackberries to be blanched and steralised with boiled water to be the correct temperature to add to the left over skins. After racking off the thick rich elderberry wine I was left with a rather gloopy mess of juice and yeast. To this I added the soaked blackberries, some citric acid and 2kg of sugar to make to take it to 1.08SG. The yeast was already present and was energetic to say the least starting to bubble within 10 minutes of the sugar being added.
Party time was an intensive 4 days in primary fermentation and when I racked it had a rich vibrant blood red colour, different to the ink black of the pure elderberry. The smell was fruity and even at such a young age the two berries seemed well suited to each other. This mongrel may even outshine the pedigree but only time will tell. This year I have both an elderberry wine and a blackberry wine on the go and then the love child of them with recipes and methods tailor made to get as much flavour out of all of them. In theory the blackberry will be first to be opened at 9 months maybe 12, then the elder and black at 12 months and the thoroughbred elderberry at 18. If I can I would like to leave them at least twice as long to really bulk age them.