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nightscotsman

Non-grape wines

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Over in the Pacific Northwest board MsRamsey mentioned a nasty rhubarb wine to be had in Iowa, which reminded me of a not-too-bad dry rhubarb wine I had here in Washington. She also mentioned a pineapple wine from Hawaii that she's too chicken to open.

So what non-grape wine have you seen or tried? Was it tasty or was it run-to-the-bathroom-spit-it-out-and-gargle-with-listerine heinous?

Do tell!

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I once tried a homebrew blackcurrant wine; that was awful. I had it at my uncles and declined to try his elderberry or gooseberry wines after that.


'You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.'

- Frank Zappa

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boysenberry wine and elderberry wine are my favorites. My grandparents used to make these every year from the fruits from their bushes/trees at their house in Western Penn. Nothing better to drink with a boysenberry or elderberry pie! :biggrin:


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I've had (homebrewed) Watermelon wine and several types of Honey Wine (mead). Not world class but drinkable.

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I endured probably 20+ different fruit wine tasting episodes in Canada this year and, while some made for pleasant enough drinking in the aperetif sense, I never had one that measured up to even entry-level dry table wine made from grapes.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I had pineapple wine when I was in Hawaii. It was much drier than you'd expect. I can't say I thought it was particularly good or tasted particularly like pineapples for that matter....


Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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I have a bottle of blackcurrant wine that my mother in law brought me from Colorado somewhere. I'll drink it at some point probably, not sure when.

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In my IU (Bloomington) days, one of the cheapest things at the liquor store in town was a locally-made mead that I ended up drinking fairly frequently (for young 'uns not used to alcohol, it's flavor was pretty non-threatening, if awfully sweet). Years later I ended up trying it again, and basically had to run and spit it out....WAY too sweet and without much body to be drinking like...well, like wine. Ah, youth....


My restaurant blog: Mahlzeit!

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Country wines can be surprisingly pleasant, I seem to remember that Gales brewery (of HSB fame) made a very acceptable range of fruit wines, some of which would have made presentable dry table wines. At one stage I used to make my own "wine" from a variety of ingredients and although the results varied it was all drinkable, some of it was definitely comparable to the proper stuff from the grape.

Of course there will be those who scoff, but remember when wine tasters describe wines about the only flavour or aroma they never mention is "grape". You get elderberries, grapefruit, raisins, peaches etc. etc., so a well made non-grape wine has got to have a chance.

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Don't they make some decent apple wine?


-- Jeff

"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members." -- Groucho Marx

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Hmmmm... watermelon sounds interesting. Was is sweet or dry? Where did you get the recipe?

It has been way too many years to remember the exact recipe for the watermelon wine, but it was from a basic wine recipe, using watermelon instead of grapes.

We made several batches - the first batch wasn't very good. Extremely sweet and little other taste. The second batch was made with mainly watermelon, and very little water, using a higher alcohol yeast, but still really sweet. We ended up using green teabags, about 6 watermelons, a couple of gallons of water, sugar, and low alcohol yeast, after the primary fermentation was done, we racked it for about a month, strained, added some more watermelon, a little honey and high alcohol yeast. This fermented for about a month, (we alternated adding sugar and watermelon every time the fermentation seemed to stop). We racked it once, for 2 or 3 months, drank about 1/2 of it (it was good OK?),then bottled the rest. About a month later bottles started popping the corks (oops - forgot to add the camden tablets), so we had some sparkling watermelon wine, which was interesting.

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I've had some wonderful wines made from malted barley - I think they were called Scotch...higher in alchohol than Zin, like 18% or more

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I had some EXCELLENT mead at a friend's house last christmas. I forgot to ask where she got it from, though.

The thing about non-grape wines is, if you're expecting a wine, you will probably be disappointed. If you're just expecting a mildly alcoholic beverage, they can delight.

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A former boss gave me a bottle of homemade tomato wine. But that's not why I don't work for him anymore :biggrin:

North River Winery in Jacksonville, Vermont makes quite a variety of mostly apple-based wines: an apple-blueberry table wine (quite dry), Northern Spy (only every other year; also very dry), plus some medium-dry rhubarb and some sweet ones, such as a maple-syrup/apple/raspberry dessert wine. They are quite surprisingly good and can be drunk at table with food. Not a Boone's Farm in the lot. They hold Vermont state's winery license #1. There are others around the state (listed in tourist booklets), but we've never tried their products.

As I recall, there was also a winery in Trenton, Maine that made blueberry wine. Less wine-like than North River's, but still better than expected. Don't remember the name, though.

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