I’ve never been a fan of fruit wine. (Yes, I know, grapes are a fruit, but they are in an entirely different classification that is NOT fruit wine.) When I think of fruit wines, I think of sticky sweet, thin, bodiless, alcoholic cousins to fruit juice, and distant distant relatives to real wine. I can’t help it. And I’m only sort of sorry I feel this way. But! I’ve recently taken another look at fruit wine.
Several months ago, my husband started home brewing. He’s done beer here and there in the past, but always from kits. Now, he’s making his own mash and wort for beer, and diving into fruit wines. His first fruit wine was a cran-apple. We spent hours coring and juicing apples, and I kept thinking: This is going to be a waste of time. I HATE fruit wine!!! I was stunned when I tasted it, and it tasted like, well, wine! Not exactly wine wine, but not a sticky sweet, thin, bodiless, alcoholic cousin to fruit juice either. This had a lot of body, depth, and flavor.
Our next venture was a strawberry pomegranate wine. We bought pounds and pounds of frozen strawberries from Costco, thawed, boiled, and mashed them, added pomegranate juice, sugar, and yeast. We had to tinker with this a little. The pomegranate over powered the strawberry and made it quite tart. Too tart, really, and since this was already made to be an off-dry wine, instead of an semi-sweet like the cran-apple, the combination of dry and tart was too much. We bought strawberry nectar and added it after racking the first time. (Racking is simply a fancy term for moving the liquid into a new, clean container (called a carboy) to get it off the bottom sediment.) That did the trick! The wine turned out beautifully! Lighter bodied than the cran-apple, but tons of flavor that unfolds at different times in your mouth.
If we have any leftover by the time summer hits, I’m thinking we should turn some of it into wine coolers. I also want strawberry-pomegranate vinegar… And don’t you think this color is just beautiful for Valentine’s Day?
Now, we’re trying to think of what to make next. If you have any ideas, please comment!