Sunday, August 23

Rhubarb Champagne

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.

6lbs rhubarb
4.5L water
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
8oz sultanas
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!


notesfromthefrugaltrenches said...

This sounds fabulous Kel! I might just have to try it!

Katy said...

I will definately be trying this x

Jen said...

I wish I could attend, but alas, no! Hey Kel, I like the floor cushions. Did you manage to find a suitable stuffing for them?

Katrine said...

The sparkling rhubarb sounds delicious, and the the studio looks like a beautiful space, but 8 years of cellaring! that's an impressively long time to wait to drink the last bottle!

Veggie Gnome said...

The studio looks great! Well done!

Can't wait to taste a fizzy fruit drink.

We had already decided that brave souls can do some tasting of various home-made concoctions at our blogfest. Most of them are still works in progress, so not fully matured, but still worth a taste.

naturewitch said...

The rhubarb wine sounds delish! Last year I didn't bottle any as we still had a heap, so this year, maybe it's going to be rhubarb wine for the excess! Thanks for the recipe xo

Kel said...

NFFT- its cheap and tasty and unuaual, what more can you ask for. let me know if you do!

katy- ditto and will we be seeing you this sunday at the Gnomes? I hope so.

jen - yeah, you'll have to have your own blogfest in Tassie! Umm, stuffing for cushions, so far they are housing all the bird netting and a doona. Not suitable. LOL we're looking in to some 'longterm' soloution. But, ...great storage! the other leather poufes we have store all or chunky winter woolies!

katrine - cellaring that long was only due to incredible amounts of wine in the cellar to choose from! we're slowly diminishing the productivity. Certainly 8 years is a little too long for s home made fruit wine!

veggie- yeah- watch out for the studio warming party thats bound to happen once the weather hits the good mark! Looking forward to the tastings, will be great fun.

naturewitch- oh great! go for it. home made fizz is really very good, i think for fruit wine, its the way to go. it really makes it special not just weird! lol

Veggie Gnome said...

Just remembered, we have a foot rest that has quite a lot of stuffing inside. It has been outside in the wood trolley as we want to get rid of it. You are welcome to the stuffing, plus the outside thingie, of course, if the wind hasn't blown too much rain on it and spoilt it.

Kel said...

veggie- thanks! will check it out at the Blogfest!

blue milk said...

How beautiful is your place? (And my word verification for this comment was "enying" which is awfully close to "envying")

Kelly said...

bluemilk - its beautiful. never tire of it. A holiday whenever i am at home, very fortunate. a partner who builds and landscapes is a blessed thing!