This past year has been an exciting journey into wine making. If you had asked me 5 years ago if I saw myself making wine, GOOD wine, I'd say you were crazy. So far (knock-on-wood), all my experiments have been delightful, with some even good enough to be repeated or improved upon. Of course, wine tastes are subjective and what I think is good could taste like the back of an L.A. schoolbus to another. Thankfully, I have good friends who are more than willing to be guinea pigs.
Here's to another great year filled with good friends, love, health, and good wine!
“Cock of the Walk” Cherry Red – A semi-dry, vanilla-oaked cherry wine made with organic cherry juice, dried cherries, cranberries, and raisins. This batch was made in June and when tasted in December, it had strong potential to age into a nice Pinot Noir type red. It is still very young and probably won’t be drinkable for at least a year. The original recipe said it would be “drinkable in 6 weeks”…HA!
Florida “Spiced Orange Meade” – A sweet honey wine made with Florida oranges, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and organic, Florida honey from Frederickson Apiaries in Eustis. This is a sweet desert wine that can be served chilled or heated for those frigid Florida winters! I made two batches of this meade this year, one with raw honey and one with filtered honey. Both turned out beautiful.
Florida “Strawberry Muscat” – A semi-dry, blush with a wonderful strawberry bouquet and a delicate strawberry flavor. I made and bottled this in April and it needed a good 6 months to age to perfection. This wine surprised people, as they expected a wine that was sweeter and not as complex. It was blended with a Black Muscat from Washington State and was outstanding when chilled. Will definitely make a bigger batch this year!
Kathy’s “Lemongrass Mint” – An herbal wine made from my own recipe of organic lemongrass and spearmint. It turned out to be very crisp, dry, with a clean lemon flavor, and was spectacular with any kind of seafood, or spicy dish such as Latin, Thai, or curries. However, I felt it needed some more body, a little less acidity, and more of the mint to shine through. I’m starting my second batch this week, which will be made out of lemon balm and mint from my garden.
Mary’s “Harvest Fig Blush” – This wine was inspired by a dear friend that lives in Deland. Every year she blesses me with fresh figs grown on her property, so it seemed perfectly fitting to make a wine in her honor. This wine was started in August and bottled in October and we haven’t tried it since bottling, but it appeared to be drinkable even then! I can’t wait to really taste it in a few months. It was made with fresh figs, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, oranges, lemons, and dried fruit.
Kathy’s “Banana Grigio” – This wine should really be called a banana Chardonnay, as it is extremely full bodied. I made this in May and when tried in July, it nearly punched me in the mouth! I didn’t like it! However, after 6 months of aging, we tried it again and were completely BLOWN away at how good it turned out. It mellowed out into a full bodied, almost-desertish fruit wine. The banana is definitely there, but it’s not cloying and would be phenomenal with any kind of Latin food.