A month or so ago, I sent a friend a bottle of wine. She was appreciative, but also commented that she was glad I didn’t try to give her any of my tomato wine. She couldn’t imagine drinking that.
Now, if that isn’t the gauntlet thrown at my feet, I don’t know what is.
I would have given her tomato wine, had it been ready. I like the idea tomato as a base for wine – sort of pokes fun at my country sophistication regression, and it certainly isn’t a wine a friend already has I their cupboard. I sincerely doubt my tomato wine will be compared to famous tomato wines from Europe or California. No, I think I am safe in regards to my wine concoction living up to high tomato wine standards.
Today, my first batch of country tomato was ready to be bottled. It just so happens this is one of my best wines – in fact, Mark insists it IS the best wine I’ve made. At every stage of its fermentation, we’ve been tasting it, shocked at just how nice this wine is. Just goes to show – if you haven’t tried something, don’t knock it. It doesn’t taste tomatoey at all – sort of like a nice chardonnay. The end product didn’t even come out a blush color – just a sparkling white. Remarkable. If I didn’t tell you what this wine was made of, you’d never guess.
Now, because I was determined to make the dreaded tomato wine good (because I WILL be sending a bottle to my friend) I took time and effort to pamper this batch. I re-racked the 5 gallons several times to clear sediment, then added a wine clarifier (which also sweetens and smoothes the flavor a bit). Then, I ran the finished, fermented liquid through my new handi-dandi wine filter machine with a number two filter, then again with the finer, number 3 filter to polish. By the time I was done, this wine was sparkling clear and full of body. Smooth. (It will be even better with a few months to rest in the bottle) Yummy. Perhaps I should mention that I’ve been drinking wine all day as I played in my kitchen, so it is entirely possible that my judgment is slightly skewed. Ahem.
I also filtered and bottled a big batch of strawberry wine today, messed around with a batch of Riesling and a batch of Merlot, then decided to go back to the drawing board with tomato experimentation. I don’t want to just keep making the same stuff, so this time, I am making wine from Apple cider combined with several dozen beefsteak tomatoes I purchased from a roadside vendor this week. I figure this month is probably my last chance to get homegrown, local tomatoes, so I couldn’t’ resist buying all the fellow had in the back of his truck. My next tomato wine will be an apple/tomato blend. Interesting, hopefully.
This meant I had to be inventive with a recipe, because the amount of sugar and several additives is different for apple wine than for tomato. I split the difference, figuring I will learn what works as I go. I even threw in two pounds of raisins into the cheesecloth holding the tomatoes to add depth to the flavor. By Christmas (because tomato is a quick fermenting wine with a shorter shelf life), I’ll know if this combination has any merit. Can’t wait.
I am being overrun with wine now, so I figure I need some kind of a wine cellar. While I’d like to pretend I’ve got a la-ti-da place to store my rot gut wine, actually, I am stacking it sideways in wine boxes on shelves in a closet downstairs that hosts our water heater. (It is dark and cool in there, despite the water heater, so this works well). This is also where I kept my incubating eggs and raised my baby peacock. Yea – I’ve had good times in this closet.
I figure I can put a few hundred bottles in this space, then they will spill out into other areas, and Mark will get all annoyed and then we can discuss putting huge wine racks along the downstairs game room or something. Of course, my other alternative is to just drink more wine, faster. Yes, that might be the better solution.
Anyway, today was devoted to wine making. I didn’t plan to spend the entire day on this project, but one thing lead to another and before you knew it, I was starting a new batch, and bottling and experimenting with my new wine filter. You know how that goes.
Anyway, I think the best things in life often start off as mistakes.
I’ll prove that when we toast the New Year with my original Tomapple wine!
I see a new winemaking career in the future. You need a bota bag or two so you can take the wine hiking or horseback riding.
Hey when do I get a sample of this wine? Ha ha, no really! Hope all is going great!