Apple Blossom Time – a new vintage begins


Red Sparkle Blossoms

Never in a million years did I think I’d be deeply connected to apples blossoming. Never. But a strange journey happened. My perhaps-slightly-out-of-balance-lust for wine and wine knowledge [I'm moderating out of that phase, honest] led to trying to grow wine grapes in a marginal climate. Which led to lots of research about growing grapes, as that’s how I roll. Which led to my taking Jeff Cox’s From Vines to Wines out from the library sufficient times to warrant my ownership of it. [I have about a 4 times rule]. He suggested that while your grapes are growing, practice your winemaking chops on other fruit wines in the meantime so that when the grapes are ready, you’ll be ready. Seemed sensible. I dig sensible. So I did.

My 2009 Red Sparkle apple wine was likely harvested early, went through an accidental malolactic fermentation [a long one], and ended up spending way more time on oak than I thought I’d give it. Sadly, barring a half-case stashed in an upper bin of my wine cellar for future years’ education and enjoyment, it’s largely gone. So I guess it didn’t suck. In fact, I miss it already.

So now, my apple blossoms speak to me of promise. They offer the gift of another vintage. They beg the question of ‘how will this vintage be different/the same?’. They make me happy.

I strongly feel that apple wines are underrated. And living in a city with a gazillion kg of apples produced in backyards, largely unused and wasted, it would seem that a food culture revolving around apple wines would be sensible. And I dig sensible.

5 Responses

  1. Jeff K says:

    A note to readers of the blong: I am a red wine lover, white wine atheist, homebrew-phobic, fruit wine sceptic. However, I partook in the KK Apple wine and found it to be very lovely! I reserve words like rad and awesome for red wines, but I will give this KK Apple wine a ‘lovely’.

  2. Barry Preuett says:

    How is your apple wine different from a cider? I also make my own wine, mead, beer and have very good results, but every time I try to make a cider (apple wine??) it ends up being more of a alcoholic juice with very scant apple flavor. I’ve tried multiple different yeasts but have never ended up with something I’d consider bottling and serving to friends. The ill fated alcohol usually finds its way into marinades or mixed with beer to make snakebites.

    I have used unfiltered apple juice from the grocery store, as well as 10 gallons of fresh pressed juice from a local orchard, all of it ended up with a similar fate.

    Do you halt fermentation at a specific brix content maybe? is that the difference between a apple wine and a cider? I could see how killing the fermentation would leave a lot of the sweetness and therefore apple flavor in the product. I may have just answered my own question haha.


  3. Kevin says:

    JK – Lovely? Really? How nice!
    Barry – I chaptalize to 12.5 abv, use white wine yeast [D47, I believe], and no bubbles – which makes it more wine than cider, imo. No halted fermentation, although the apply vibe mid-way was astonishing, and I’d consider stopping some of it to back blend. I fermented them dry. Not sure why it worked out – maybe the apple variety? I got lucky with my inherited tree: McIntosh x with Trail Crab, so it has aromatics from the Mac, and structure from the Trail. That’s the best I can figure it, anyway.

  4. Barry Preuett says:

    Hmmm, I may have to experiment with my latest batch. I always shot for a cider that i could bottle. I have 10 gallons aging in a couple corney kegs at the moment (its been almost 6 months now). Im thinking I could salvage it by blending it with some additional juice (apple, peach, pomegranite) and making it into a wine.

    Will let you know how it turns out. :-)


  5. [...] crop, onions, shallots, pole beans, bush beans of many types – and a couple hundred pounds of Red Sparkle apples from our tree. The afternoon was spent crushing and pressing the apples to get the 2010 [...]

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