Friday, June 22, 2012

Sparkling elderflower wine

Sparkling Elderflower Wine

This year I am trying a new recipe, which my friend and colleague Chris kindly shared with me.
With the elderflower cordial and the low-alcoholic elderflower champagne already done, it is now time to try making sparkling elderflower wine.

Here is the recipe:

Elderflower Champagne (4 gallons)

6 pints elderflowers (thick green stalks removed)
3 lemons (Zest and Juice)
3 limes (Zest and Juice)
2 serving spoons white wine vinegar
2 level teaspoons pectolase (optional)
3 kg sugar dissolved in water
Top-up to 4 gallons warm water (specific gravity approx 60)
Sprinkle 5g yeast over surface and leave for 15 min before stirring in (I use champagne yeast though any wine yeast will do)
Cover and allow to stand for 72 hrs stirring twice a day (I weigh the must down with a plate during this part of the process)
After 72 hrs remove must and siphon on into demijohns, seal with an airlock and store at or slightly above room temp for 17 days
This is the secret stage…..
On day 17 the wine will almost have fermented out and will have settled well, carefully (without disturbing the sediment) siphon on again into your plastic fizzy drink bottles having first added to the bottles 100ml sugar solution (1kgsugar/1litre water) for every litre of wine that you’ll be bottling. Note – it’s a good idea to leave a gap between the top of the bottle and the top of the wine (approx 4 or 5 cm)
Tightly seal your bottles and store at room temp (ideally somewhere that should the bottles explode they’ll not do too much damage!)
A third fermentation will hopefully begin to take place in the sealed bottles carbonating the wine – this will cease once the sugar is consumed of the alcohol content reaches approx 22% volume at which point the yeast dies from alcohol poisoning! (whichever is soonest).
I reckon it takes about another month for this last stage to be complete so probably don’t drink before the month is out. I have however kept the sealed bottles untouched for over six months and when opened still had delightfully sparkling elderflower champagne….best served chilled!

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