“Did your fish die?”
“No, this is actually a wine glass.”
A special wine glass, for special wines. I bought it to be part of the snobbish wine people. It is crystal and very expensive for a stingy Dutch person as me. But sometimes you have to buy yourself a present right?
I don’t use it unless I have a special wine and that is what is in it today. Elderberry wine is proof that a home winemaker can make wine as good as professionals. Maybe even better because a home winemaker does not have to worry about regulations, financial risks, complaining customers etc.
Making red wine has been a great struggle for me because there are no grapes in the Netherlands. Yes, we have grapes in the supermarket but they are not suitable for making wine. I almost gave up but then I “discovered” elderberries.
A lot of them are growing where I live and in 2009 I made my first 10 liters. I tried it after 6 months because I was very curious but it was undrinkable. Extremely harsh tannins. I did not think that this could work out but after 2 years it was a great wine. It completely changed in the bottles. Fascinating. Since then I make it every year. It is a lot of work and you need a lot of patience but I think it is the best red wine in the world. It is strong, has a beautiful color, very natural, full bodied. It can compete with the best.
Not to mention that elderberries seem to be very healthy.
These are the specifications to keep in mind. Strong red wine, not acidic: 4 or 5, a bit high alcohol percentage: 13%, amount: 25 liters.
I measured the sugar contents a long time ago and there is very little sugar in these berries. Only 300 grams in 7 kg. Unfortunately the berries are so dark that it is impossible to make an acidity measurement with the test kit. Since I think there should not be too much acid in the wine I decided not to add any.
Based on the above and previous tries I use the following recipe:
During the first few days you can see that the skins of the berries are pushed upwards by the CO2 gas. You need to have space in the bucket otherwise the skins will block the air lock and possibly the lid will be forced to violently leave the fermenter with colorful -mainly red- consequences for the interior of your house.
Shake the (closed) bucket vigorously a few times per day to get the skins in the fluid.
The wine is ready after 2 years and can be kept for a long time.
P.S. Visit the brouwstore of Leven in de Brouwerij. The Braumarkt with the best blog of all Brouwland!