Thoughts . . . by Mark Rich

. . . scribbled . . . scrawled . . . trimmed . . . typewritten . . . grubbed up . . . squeezed from circumstance . . .

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dandelion Wine

Dandelion wine has a reputation as a homemade wine -- with the reputation being that it tastes like one ... or at least tastes sweet.

From the beginning of my wine-making efforts I thought dandelion wine had no more need to be a sweet wine than did any other; and because I based my first effort on a Victorian recipe that called for quite a few cut-up pieces of fruit of the citrus variety, that first wine was not only dry but puckery -- and nothing at all like the one dandelion wine I had tasted before, which was a syrupy and distinctively yellowish concoction from Amana.

Yet that first Amana wine had a particular flavor -- one that ended up being submerged by citrus in our first wine -- maybe in our first several. It was an odd experience, dealing with masses of bright-yellow flowers first and next with great handfuls of chopped yellow lemons -- odd, and wonderful: for it was a process that seemed unlikely in the extreme to reach palatable conclusion, but did.

Yesterday after descending from my afternoon project dusty and hot, in the insulation-flecked jacket I wear when working in the attic (I was doing some necessary work to keep out bats and hornets -- I chose a chill day in case there were overwintering wasp colonies up there, which fortunately I did not find ... although I have one more area to check over), Martha announced she was ready for dandelion wine. The day had started well below freezing, but had quickly become comfortable, sunny, inviting ... so once I was de-dusted I opened one of our wines that we had bottled in October.

A success? I think so. I will need to check over last spring's recipes soon, to make sure I understand what I did with this particular one. That sunny dandelion flavor is coming through very nicely; and the wine has body; and it is beginning to be sweet without being predominantly sweet.

It was a nice first-of-spring taste.

Cheers ...

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