Sunday, 4 November 2012

Medlar Wine Experiment

Last year a friend of ours gave us a delicious jar of claret-coloured Medlar Jelly, which was a big hit, especially with my daughter. This year I discovered a medlar tree in the University grounds, it is likely the same one that the jam originated from. I waited for a suitably sinister, cold and dank autumnal evening and furtively picked a big bagfull of the fruits and stored them in my laboratory until they were bletted.
After collecting these old English fruits, you need to leave them to blet, which as far as I can work out means to ripen, ferment or even rot. In the interest of medical science, I tested a fresh medlar and can confirm that it is dry enough to grow a fresh layer of skin over your teeth. Bletted produce on the other hand can be described succinctly as tasting "somewhat apple-ish/pear-ish with a hint of almost-cinnamon-like spice, perhaps".
I decided that it would be an entertaining experiment to attempt medlar wine this year, I uncovered a couple of articles and whittled them down to (what I guessed was) their vital parts and then, made up my own recipe.
Recipe
Ingredients:
·         8 lb. Medlars
·         2.5 lbs sugar (you can add half and half honey)
·         Pectin enzyme
·         Water up to 1 gallon
·         1/2 pint strong black tea (or 1lb of chopped raisins) for tannin
·         Campden tablet
·         Wine yeast
Method:
1.       Wash and crush the ripe medlars, place the fruit in a fermentation bucket.
2.       Add 1 lb. of sugar and the chopped raisins or tea.  
3.       Boil half the water and pour over the mixture, making sure the sugar is dissolved, then add an equal quantity of cold water.
4.       Add the campden tablet and pectin enzyme.
5.       Cover closely and leave for three- five days in a warm place, stirring daily.
6.       Strain through a fine sieve (do not press) add the rest of the sugar; a rule of thumb with country wine is, only add as much sugar as you need to reach an SG of 1.080 – 1.085 and that will almost guarantee a dry ferment at 12%.
7.       Add the wine yeast, put the mixture into a demijohn and fit an airlock to seal the jar.
8.       Store in a warm place and allow the fermentation to work.
9.       When fermentation has ceased, rack the wine into a clean jar and place in a cooler environment and leave. When the wine is clear and stable, siphon into bottles.
I will let you know how my science experiment goes in a later post; I hope it turns a claret red...

2 comments:

  1. Was it any good? :)

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  2. It was.
    I made it again the following year.
    I'm still drinking it.

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