Recipe file created November 14, 1999.
Even at 10 months, this was a decent wine. So, once properly aged, it was the most successful red wine I have ever made. A friend and I get together every fall to make a 5 gallon batch together.
Chop cranberries coarsely. The goal here is the break the skin on every berry to help the juice leach into the water. Place them in the primary fermentor. Add raisins, water, sugar, yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme, acid blend and crushed campden tablet. Stir well to dissolve sugar. Let sit over night.
The next day, check the specific gravity. It should be between 1.110 and 1.115. Add yeast and mix in well. Cover primary fermentor. Stir daily for five days.
Strain fruit, squeezing out as much juice as possible. Put into secondary fermentor and place airlock on the bottle.
For a dry wine, Rack in three weeks and return to secondary fermentor. Rack again in three months, and every three months until 1 year old. Bottle.
For a sweet wine, rack at three weeks. Add 1/2 cup sugar dissolved in 1 cup wine. Stir gently, and place back into secondary fermentor. Repeat process every six weeks until fermentation does not restart with the addition of sugar. Rack every three months until one year old. Bottle.
Ths wine is best if you can refrain from drinking it for a year and a half from the date it was started.
If you like a medium sweet wine, taste it at each racking to decide if it is sweet enough yet. Each addition of sugar starts the yeast working again. The result is that sweet wines have a higher alcohol content than a dry wine -- by up to 4 or 5 percent.
I haven't had a bottle of this any older than three years -- even a five gallon batch is too good to last this long. It has continued to improve over the course of three years. August 1999 I will be drinking a four year old bottle -- the last of the 1995 batch. I'll update my notes then.
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