Purple-stained cooking water is a sure sign of an accidentally nicked beetroot skin. But don’t discard this nutrient-filled liquor, allow it to cool then add some sugar and yeast and the result in a couple of weeks time will be a beetroot ‘country’ wine.
Made with vegetables or fruits other than grapes, country wines are making something of a comeback due to their seasonality and low-food miles: make wine with just-picked garden or hedgerow crops and it will often travel less than a mile.
The strained liquid from 1.8kg/4lbs of simmered parsnips, carrots or swedes, along with 1.4kg/3lbs of sugar placed in clean bucket and topped up with cold water to the gallon will net you six bottles of homemade wine. To start your brew sprinkle in a teaspoon of bread yeast, or better still a teaspoon of winemaking yeast available from homebrew shops.
After a couple of weeks your immature wine will have stopped fermenting and be ready for bottling. Pour into six empty dark green wine bottles (the dark coloured glass will help preserve the wine’s colour) and cork. It should be ready to drink about this time next year.
If waiting 12 months is too long, why not let someone else do all the hard work? Lyme Bay Winery in Dorset sell their country wines made with hedgerow fruit and flowers for £8.49 a bottle.
Contact Lyme Bay Winery on 01297 551355, or visit www.lymebaywinery.co.uk
PG Wine Reviews
Nonius Romanian Feteasca Regala Chardonnay 2016
A really nice fruity white with bags of pear and melon flavours. And that’s down to the Romanian grape variety Feteasca Regala mixed in with the Chardonnay. At such a great price what’s not to like?
JP Chenet French Sauvignon Blanc
JP Chenet, remember them? – the ones with the wonky bottle neck. Well not any more because the bottle is now straight! Not sure when that happened but it hasn’t changed the wine inside which is simple and fruity. A bit expensive at £6.50 so wait until it’s on special offer.
Vinalba Argentinean Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2013
£7.99 Co-op (down from £8.99 until September 5)
Another tasty wine but this one tastes like a box of cherry liqueur chocolates.
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Italian Chianti Classico 2014
£8 Sainsbury’s (down from £9 until September 19)
More cherry liqueur flavours but not overly rich.
Santa Rita ‘The National Gallery’ Chilean Pinot Noir Reserva 2016
A light red with flavours of cherries and raspberries.