RAINBOW FARMS WINE
Isaac Wine, 2001
I've heard that adding elderberries to your wine was punishable by the guillotine in some regions of France in olden times. Fortunately, we're much more flexible about such things here in 21st. Century Maryland. This wine is made from a combination of elderberries, Delaware grapes, and Concord grapes. The elderberries add a great deal of depth and complexity to the blend while the foxy grapes lighten up the intense elderberry flavors.
Why did I call it Isaac? I named our original wine, made from a combination of grapes growing on the property, Jacob Wine, after our Jacob Sheep, as they're a combination of colors. That's Sheridan, our Jacob ram, pictured on the label. Jacob Sheep are so named because of a story in the Bible about Jacob, who bred spotted sheep (Genesis 30). When I added elderberries to the blend, I decided to call it "Isaac Wine" since the Jacob's father, his elder, was named Isaac. I'm sure there's a profound meaning to all this, but I haven't figured it out yet. If you can, please let me know.
- 24 pounds of Delaware grapes: 55% of fruit, by weight
- 12 pounds of Concord grapes: 27% of fruit, by weight
- 8 pounds of elderberries: 18% of fruit, by weight
- 7 pounds of granulated sugar
- 6 quarts of water
- 29 drops liquid pectinase enzyme
- 8 campden tablets
- Montrachet yeast
The days given in the procedure I followed are given for general reference. I did what I did when it seemed appropriate, not according to some pre-determined schedule.
- DAY 1: Heat the elderberries, water and 2 pounds of sugar to just below the boiling point, then let cool.
- Crush both types of grapes together and add the elderberry "soup". S.G. was 1.06.
- Added remaining 5 pounds of sugar; S.G. increased to 1.104.
- Acidity titrated to 0.6%, which was in the proper range.
- Added 29 drops of pectinase enzyme
- Added 8 campden tablets, covered, let sit overnight.
- DAY 2: Activated a packet of Montrachet yeast, added to must the next morning.
- DAY 7: Fermentation had subsided, S.G. = .995. Pressed must; yield just filled a 6-gallon carboy.
- DAY 81: Racked into a 5-gallon carboy and a 1/2-gallon jug. S.G. = .992. Noted that it had a very good, well-balanced flavor, although a bit harsh tasting.
- Added Vinter's Choice malolactic bacteria, Leuconastoc venos, and fitted air locks.
- DAY 209: Racked.
- DAY 343: Degassed by stirring, bottled and corked. S.G.= .992, Alcohol computes to 15.2% by volume. Yielded 25 750-ml bottles plus several glasses for sample tastings. Bottling night is quite festive at Rainbow Farm. Noted that the wine had an excellent bouquet and taste. It was ready to drink but will improve with age.
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