After reading Terry’s post about his wonderful wines I kept wondering what I have in my cellar already bottled and what I have in the wings. First, let me assure you that I do not have a wine drinking problem – it’s more of a winemaking problem!
And while I am envious of those of you who possess wine cellars filled with the brim with exotic and rare labels, I must confess a bit of satisfaction at making my own variety of rare wines – some of which turned out to be big flops and others award winning. I’ll begin with what is already bottled in the cellar and then talk about what’s coming up.
Raspberry (2006) – lightly sweetened: Another one of our very first wines. Thin and not enough raspberry fruit flavors. (8 bottles).
Cranberry (2007) – lightly sweetened: A couple holidays ago, we purchased some fresh cranberries and made our first cranberry wine. Very tart and very past its useful life - oxidized (3 bottles).
Rhubarb (2007) – lightly sweetened: Grown behind the garage and fermented in the house! We produced only a gallon during our first try with rhubarb – a rascal to work with. (5 bottles).
Wild Grape (2007) - Dry: Handpicked wild grapes on state land in Iowa. One gallon was not enough! Very tasty! (2 bottles).
Concord/Marechal Foch Blend (2007) – lightly sweetened: A nice, fruity blend of Iowa grown grapes. First place: Eastern Iowa Amateur Wine Competition. (3 bottles).
Catawba (2007) – off dry: We got the juice from NY and fermented it here. This wine was very tough to start and is plagued with some off flavors – probably diethyl sulfide. Despite that we won these awards: First place: Cedar County Fair; third place: Eastern Iowa Amateur Wine Competition (13 bottles).
Apple-Kiwi-Strawberry (2007) – lightly sweetened: A summer, sitting in the garden drunk, wine! Second place: Eastern Iowa Amateur Wine Competition; Third place: Cedar County Fair.
Apple (2007) – off-dry: One of our favorites! Very reminiscent of a Riesling and so easy to drink. First place: Eastern Iowa Amateur Wine Competition and top-5 selection. (6 bottles – we’re sad).
I Was Bored – Grapefruit (2007) – lightly sweetened: Okay, I’ve heard that grapefruit makes wine with notes of Sauvignon Blanc – so, we tried! Yuck!
Rhubarb (2008) – Dessert-styled. If you like rhubarb crisp in a bottle, you might like this! (14 bottles).
Blackberry (2008) – Dry: We went wild making blackberry wine. Okay. (10 bottles).
Blackberry (2008) – Lightly sweetened: We left a little residual sugar. Okay (7 bottles).
Blackberry Port (2008) – Dessert, Port-Inspired: Our first attempt making a port-styled wine and we really like it. Bottled just before Christmas (2008) we give them as presents (375ml)! Very tasty! (22, 750ml bottles and 13, 375ml bottles).
Total: 142 bottles!
Just so you know, a family is legally allowed to make 200 gallons of wine per year and if our cellar isn’t full enough already, here is what is coming. FYI: 1 gallon is roughly equivalent to 5, 750ml bottles of wine!
To be bottled in 2009:
Peach – Sweet: We are phasing out of fruit wine making but I was bored in early August and so here is the result. Has nice peach flavor and its typical aromatic baggage. (6 gallons)
Marechal Foch (red) – free-run: We helped pick these grapes in late August – probably a little early but is showing its Fochy characteristics – strong earthy and coffee notes. Oak. (22 gallons).
Traminette (white): I have written about Traminette before. We are very impressed with this one. It is in the final stages of cold stabilization. (10 gallons).
Malbec (red): Our winemaking group purchased grapes from Chile and crushed them in April (08). Currently undergoing cold stabilization. We aged it with MT oak and is promising. (5 gallons).
Chambourcin (red): A true Midwestern favorite! Delicious berries and very tasty wine. One of our most promising reds! oak. (15 gallons).
Peach-Traminette (blend): We blended 50:50 peach-Traminette – sweetened! Yummy (1 gallon)
Pear – Sparkling): I helped a winemaking friend process a few hundred pounds of pears and came away with a few gallons. We are planning on making a sparkling wine from it using the traditional method. (2 gallons).
Zinfandel (red): After working the crush with a local winery that sourced some organic Zinfandel grapes from California, I was given four pails of must! Yay! (7 gallons).
Total: 73 gallons
If you’re in Iowa later this year and have an interest in being part of a bottling process, we welcome your help! What’s in your cellar???