Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dry Fruit Wines, What's your favorite?

This year, I've decided that I want to focus on making a dry fruit wine that could mascarade as a dry, grape-based red wine. Some may say why bother when you can buy grapes, but this is a personal desire. Whenever I've found commercial wineries that make fruit wines, they almost always range from semi-sweet to sweet dessert wines. My assumption is that when people know they are drinking a fruit wine, they expect it to taste and smell just like the fruit from which it's made, and that invariably means a sweet wine.

My question is--if you make a dry fruit wine that mimics a dry grape wine and give it a creative label with no clue towards its origins, would people notice? Since I'm more of a red wine fan(atic), the corollary question would be can you make a full bodied fruit wine that mimics a dry red wine?

Several examples come to mind that affirmatively answer that question. Blueberry wines can be made in a full-bodied style that are reminiscent of a light merlot (see my recent Bartlett's Winery Blueberry review and tale of my own 2006 Blueberry wine). Blackberries, elderberries, and black currants are other examples of possible contenders. I made a blackberry wine in 2006, but I have no experience with elderberries or black currants. I'd like to develop a fruit blend that mimics a cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir. I'm currently gathering recipe ideas to start my experiments, but I welcome any comments from readers.

What has been your favorite dry fruit wine?

a Wine Student


Joe Kneale said...

I am actually looking for a non-grape dry fruit wine recipe as well (wow what a mouthful). I am just getting into the 'home-wine-making' hobby, and am no chemist--that said, I'd love to see what you come up with! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery you know. .

Happy brewing!

A Wine Student said...

Thanks, Joe!

As you can tell, I haven't done too much work on this so far. Got blind-sided with a divorce, so been dealing with that instead of winemaking this year. Stay tuned, though! I swear I'm going to start experimenting in January as soon as I get some free carboy space.

Gayle Muenchow said...

I make non-grape dry fruit wines. I bought a kit including the book, The Joy of Home Winemaking by Terry Garey, and I've just been playing with it for 2-3 years now. My best is elderberry wine made with tupelo honey (a local specialty) instead of sugar. The honey adds a lot of depth, so this wine is the equivalent of something like a pinot noir. Honey changes the pH, so watch out for that. Also, my parsnip wine is super -- recipe in Garey book. It's like a dry sherry. I usually use the yeast, Lalvin EC-1118, which creates a very dry wine.