Accidentally Cooking

Documenting my mistakes in the garden, kitchen and pantry

Tart Cherry Wine: Bottled

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My Tart Cherry Wine was all done bulk aging, so I stabilized, back-sweetened, and put it into bottles.

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(Yes, that one bottle on the left uses a regular cork and no, I still don’t own a corker. I found a good synthetic cork from our collection of old corks, sterilized it, and jammed it in there by hand. I’ll drink that one up first.)

Timeline

  • Pitched: 30 June 2014
  • Secondary:  13 July 2014
  • Tertiary: 12 August 2014
  • Stabilized and degas: 21 November 2014
  • Backsweetened and Bottled: 28 Nov 2014

Stabilizing and Backsweetening

I stabilized this batch with a campden tablet and potassium sorbate, as recommended on the respective packages.

To backsweeten, I took 2/3 cup sugar and 2/3 cup water and brought to a boil to make a simple syrup. I stirred in the syrup until it got to a sweetness and taste that was to my liking (just about all of it).

Final Tasting Results

I tasted it before backsweetening, and surprisingly it tasted quite a lot like a dry red wine like you might buy at a store. The level of tannin and dryness struck me as very similar to something like a merlot. However, what I could not taste much of was the cherries. I decided to sweeten the wine to both decrease the dryness (which I typically do not enjoy) and try to bring out the cherry flavor.

With the sugar syrup added it is much sweeter, and does taste more like cherries. Also, the syrup seems to have improved the mouthfeel of the final product considerably.

Overall now, the color of the wine is a shade darker than you might see in a White Zinfindel, just about as sweet, and has a subtle but unmistakable flavor of cherries. There are no off-flavors or any unpleasantness. This is probably the first wine I’ve made so far that I would be perfectly happy sitting down and just sipping on a glass of it through the day.

Notes for Next Time

  • Use more cherries. The cherry flavor in this one is good. It could stand to be more pronounced.
  • Try to improve mouthfeel. Adding a few handfuls of raisins should help this.
  • Acidity seems decent, but some citric acid might brighten it up a bit.
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Author: Andrew Whitworth

I'm a software engineer from Philadelphia PA. Sometimes I like to go out to my garden, or step into my kitchen and make a really big mess of things.

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