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 £7.50 a bottle
Contact Lyme Bay Winery on 01297 551355, or visit www.lymebaywinery.co.uk
PG Wine Reviews
Spar Spanish Tempranillo
Creamy blackberry, liquorice and coffee.
La Grille French Sauvignon Blanc 2012
£5.99 Co-op (down from £6.99 until September 17)
A really nice Sauvignon Blanc with inviting gooseberry and melon flavours. But where’s the French angle? This could be a Sauvignon Blanc from anywhere in the world.
Co-op Sparkling South African Rosé
Creamy digestive biscuit and light damson flavours. A very nice aperitif.
Chateau Sainte Marthe, France
A complex red with a mix of blackcurrant, blackberry and cinnamon flavours with softer strawberry undertones.
Villa Maria New Zealand Pinot Grigio 2011
A richly-flavoured Pinot Grigio, which is unusual with this grape variety, as they normally taste light and frothy: pear drops and pineapple cubes.
Villa Maria New Zealand Reserve Pinot Noir 2010
£17.99 New Zealand House of Wine
Quite a deep and complex Pinot Noir with cherry flavours backed with cocoa and liquorice.
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© Paula Goddard 2013 www.paulagoddard.com