Sunday, August 23
Its rhubarb season, isnt it? Apparently Australia does not have a rhubarb season, it grows all year round and if i think about it, my perennial plants are just that, perennial, fruiting ...umm..does rhubarb 'fruit' or just 'stem'? - off and on the year round. If you'd like to do something a little more unusual with your rhubarb, try this, some rhubarb champagne. We've not made any wine this past year, BoyBean *ahem*, but this summer we have agreed to lay down some more wines. Champagne will be one of them and for my taste buds probably mostly grape with some quince, rhubarb and Gooseberry champagne.
There are alot of recipes around on the net for a non-alcoholic version of 'rhubarb champagne' which is made quite alot like the method for ginger beer: mix, steep for a few weeks, strain and bottle. Not really methode champenoise if you're looking for something with a bit of the good stuff. So if its the alcohol content you're after, then Im afraid you're going to have to invest a little more time and effort.
The recipe below has a few 'chemical' additives but most organic wines have these as the shelf life is not much if you dont! All that hard work and you end up with vinegar...bummer.
1 cup herbal tea
1 cup Gooseberry must - you can use any other must or omit
50mg Sulphur Dioxide (S02)-provides germicidal and anti-oxidant properties
DAP 200 mg/l - yeast nutrient
FERMAID 250ml/L - yeast nutrient especially for must
VINO SUPER 0.3ml/10L -removes pectins to clarify the wine
TANNIN GALALCOOL 250ml/L -a naturally derived tannin for the protection and treatment of white must and wine and is derived from the gall nut of oak trees
FERMIVIN - yeast, can use any you like possibly champagne yeast too
2.5 lbs sugar
Cut 2cm off top and bottoms of rhubarb stalks, wipe clean with a cloth dipped in half strength sulphite soloution, chop stalks and put into fermenter (with bung, click here for previous wine recipe for some definitions)) with the water, tea, must, So2 and sultanas. Soak for 2 days, add remaining ingredients.
Strain and put into fermenter. add VINO SUPER 0.3ml/L (this is the first rack)
Second racking. 4 months later. add rapidase filtration (50 mg/L) and SO2 (25mg/L)
7 months later add 17g sugar per bottle and 250 mg/L LALVIN yeast and 100mg/L DAP and cap. Rack and cellar for a good while, 6 months or so, and then on a coolish day fill bucket with ice and stand each bottle, neck down, in the ice for minutes to 'freeze' the yeast plug that will have formed. This is why champagne is stored as it is, to keep the yeast in the nck ready for removal. Dont tilt a stored champagne bottle before removing the plug or it will get distilled back into the fizz. Remove cap quickly and the pressure will release the yeasty plug. Press thumb on bottle neck to seal when plug has gone and recap or cork. Rack and drink when desired!
Alternatively you could make a simple rhubarb cordial by boiling up and reducing water, rhubarb, sugar, rosewater and vanilla to add to your champagne!
We enjoyed the last bottle of this 2001 fizz tonight in celebration of finally moving some furniture into the studio. Its a warm, light, calm space. Im loving it (except for the rug temporarily appropriated from B2s room) The fizz looks like beer but didnt taste like it though; it was toasty and dry -just how I like it.
I think I will bring a bottle of Goosberry and Quince fizz to next weekends blogger feast at The Mad Gnomes . Blog readers and blog owners all welcome!