Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Blackberry/Elderberry or BlackElder/Elderblack?

As many of you are well aware, MA had a bit of rain this weekend. If you call 10 inches of rain a "bit" of rain! While I was in the basement anxiously checking to see if I still had a dry basement, I noticed for the billionth time that I had some cans of blackberry & elderberry puree that I had purchased over two years ago. Well, it's raining cats & dogs, what's a winemaker to do? You guessed it, he makes wine! Decided to finally go after the bold, dry fruit red wine that I've been contemplating for a couple of years. I had to go play for church on Sunday morning, so I stopped by the grocery store on the way home to get a few more ingredients and then started mixing things together while doing laundry & cooking my annual St. Patty's Day dinner of corned beef & cabbage.

Now, I'm a little perplexed of what to call this wine. It's about 50/50 elderberry & blackberry based, so could call it Blackberry/Elderberry or Edlerberry/Blackberry.... Or how about just plain simple BlackElder or Elderblack? The BlackElder could lead to interesting label designs with take-offs from the cult classic TV series "Black Adder". Maybe I can get Rowan Atkinson to do celibrity endorsements. Hmmm.... Going to have to think about this one for awhile, so let's move on to the wine.

BlackElder/Elderblack Recipe
2 49 oz cans of Oregon Fruit Products Blackberry Puree
1 96 oz can of Vintner's Harvest Elderberry wine base
4 gallons 100% Niagra grape juice
1 tsp Scottzyme Color Pro Enzyme
6.5 g Laffort Tannin VR Supra

I mixed all of the above ingredients together to make about 5.5 gallons of must. OB = 14.2
Added 5.4 lbs sugar to reach OB = 22.0 (PA = 12.5%)
At this point, I took a pH reading. pH = 3.27. That's pretty much in the optimal range (perhaps a little low for a red wine) so I chose to make no further acid adjustments.

Have to say that the must tastes yummy. Lots of blackberry flavor with a husky undertone from the elderberry! I let the must sit overnight to allow for the SO2 in the grape juice to dissipate. The next evening I hydrated a packet of Llavin BM45 yeast (8g) in ~175 mL of distilled H2O with 10.5 g of Go-Ferm nutrient. After about 4 hrs, there was a good amount of bubbling and burbing in the starter so I added it to the must. Within 24 hrs, I'm observing visible signs of fermentation.

At this point, all systems are go! BM45 is a nitrogen hog, so I'll need to add a couple of good doses of FermAid K as the fermentation progresses. Will keep you updated!


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