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More wine

We had more apple pulp at the end of last fall than we had carboys to ferment it in. So I placed it all in lidded pails and let it sit outside all winter (I figured it was cold enough, and it did stay frozen through much of the winter). With the recent warm weather we've had I also thought I better follow up with that cache of pulp before it fermented too much, got moldy or turned to vinegar. So, last Friday I squeezed the juice from the pulp, filled a large carboy with it, poured in a couple of cups of blueberry pomegranate juice to top it off, added pectic enzyme and wine yeast, and capped it with an airlock.

The over-wintered juice had a subtle though decidedly wine-like flavor and aroma already. Clearly the pulp had fermented to some degree before I extracted the juice. So, we'll see how it turns out, and right now it is fermenting away with the airlock doing its little dance at an efficient pace.

I also racked and bottled from three gallon-sized jugs that had been fermenting, two of apple wine and one of marigold wine. The two apple wines were made from juice from the same batch of foraged apples but I used a different yeast for each jug: one a Lalvin EC-1118 and the other a Pasteur Champagne yeast. The wine made with the champagne yeast did indeed have a champagne-like quality to it. It was drier and slightly "fizzy." I think it still needs to age for a few months in the bottle before drinking.

Just bottled marigold and apple wines.

The EC-1118 wine was delicious right away. We'll probably drink that up over the next few weeks. We did set aside one of the bottles for our friend Steph Davies as a small gift for the Grand Opening of her new art gallery in Milwaukee, called Waxwing. 

A label I quickly sketched and glue-sticked to the bottle for the Waxwing opening.

The marigold wine definitely needs some time to age further, and I'll check it in another couple of months. It is beautiful wine though, with a lovely rose color. We got five bottles each from the apple wine jugs and four from the marigold wine jug.

Today I racked and bottled the carboy of apple wine to which we had added cloves and cinnamon. I suppose you could call it a mulled wine, although it is not as rich in spice as the kind of mulled wine you might make on your stovetop. We added cloves and cinnamon sticks during the last two months of the second fermentation. I think this wine will be a good one after it ages a bit longer. We got 23 bottles from that batch.

Apple wine with clove and cinnamon. 

We've got one large carboy of highbush cranberry wine yet to bottle. That particular batch has a story all its own, which I'll share when I bottle it.


The Brothers Burn Mountain

One of these days very soon I'm going to share with you something I've been working on concerning a couple of friends of ours, Ryan and Jesse Dermody, who make up The Brothers Burn Mountain. Our friendship with them is one of the things from the past 5 years that makes me feel good inside; the kind of good feeling that comes from bonding with people of honest and sincere spirit. The fact that Ryan and Jesse are two of the most astonishingly talented artists I've known is a bonus. It's a pretty sweet bonus, to be sure, but still it's not the reason I think highly of them. These guys are humble, generous and without a shadow of pretense. Shoot, they're damn near awkward when it comes to refined social grace. That too is why I like them.

But I said I'd tell you that story sometime down the line. Right now I just want to share a little snippet of that artistry and synergy they have together. Here's a funky little video they just released a few days ago for "Divine Impressions," a track off their new album Emancipation Blues.

The Brothers Burn Mountain - DIVINE IMPRESSIONS.
Divine Impressions is Track #3 off the Brothers Burn Mountain New Album, Emancipation Blues. Hear and or buy the album at:

This video was shot on a frozen lake in Northern Minnesota on February 14, 2012. Video & Editing Credits: Josie Horbach and Mary Jo Zagozen.  © Copyright 2012 The Brothers Burn Mountain. All Rights Reserved World Wide.


A nice olive oil

I think the best sources for good olive oil, other than a specialty olive oil store or bar (such as The Oilerie), are probably ethnic grocers or natural food markets. I'm often fairly disappointed with the quality of olive oils available in most chain or franchise grocery stores. But last week I discovered an oil at the local Copps grocery store that I'm happy with and that I'm sure will be my "big grocer" go-to olive oil from now on.

My Brothers Olive Oil is a mild, flavorful, unfiltered and nicely colored Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Southern Italy. It's a bit cloudy and has a light sendiment layer at the bottom of the bottle, which I like. Best of all it has a lovely, well balanced and slightly sweet flavor, with none of the bitterness that often seems to characterize the big name products that combine olive oils from several countries into one bottle. I can drink a shot of My Brother's Olive Oil, which I often do, without a bitter or lingering aftertaste. It also makes a lovely dipping oil or drizzle for vegetables or meat (I used it last week on scallops I made for Kim for Valentine's Day).

Final added bonus: it comes in a glass bottle with one of those cool wire swing-top stoppers, which are great for re-use in making your own flavored oils or vinegars. A 34 fl. oz. bottle costs around $19 at Copps. You can also get it online via Isola Imports.

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