Yesterday, Mr. Scribbles and I spent the afternoon tasting and sweetening three of our wines in progress.
Here’s our process for back-sweetening wine:
1. Pour a sample of wine.
3. Taste a sip.
4. Sniff and taste again.
5. Sweeten just a bit.
6. Stir. Sniff. Taste again. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
7. When you think you’ve got it, taste the sweetened wine sample and the original (that you happened to hold on to). Compare them, make note of how much better it is now, and comment on your winemaking brilliance.
For productivity’s sake, I DO NOT recommend that you taste and sweeten multiple homemade wines in one afternoon on an empty stomach.
It’s all fun and games when you’re adjusting the flavor of just one wine. But by the time you’re done with multiple tastings of the second and third, you’ve drunk a lot more than you thought you would. A lot more. And then you’re too buzzed to do much of anything else that day.
Trust me, eat a meal first.
Pineapple Wine Update, 7/27/13
This wine had fermented to dry and had been stabilized already.
I made a simple syrup of 2 cups pineapple juice and 2 cups sugar, and stirred until they were completely blended.
Then I removed approximately 2 cups of pineapple wine from the carboy into a sanitized container, so I would have room to add the syrup and stir.
Adding the syrup 1 cup at a time, I mixed it thoroughly into the wine and tasted, until it was just about, but not quite, as sweet as I wanted.
Before topping up, I added teaspoons of bentonite that had been dissolved in ¾ cup of warm water, to clear the wine. My friend Jason recommended bentonite to clear fruit wines completely, so I’m giving it a try. (Thanks, Jason!)
Then I topped up with the reserved unsweetened pineapple wine. Once the wine clears, it will be ready to bottle.
Tasting notes: A delicate color, like light straw. This wine has a fruity bouquet and an interesting smoky aroma, though no oak was added. It’s semi-sweet and has just a hint of pineapple flavor on the palate. It’s already pleasant, and I think it will age nicely.
Sweet Potato Wine Update, 7/27/13
This wine had fermented to dry at SG .998, and had been stabilized.
I decided I wanted just a hint of sweetness. So I made a simple syrup from 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar, mixed well until all of the sugar was dissolved. Following the procedure above, I took some wine out of the carboy and added syrup until the wine tasted right. Then I added bentonite dissolved in water like above, and topped with the remainder of the unsweetened wine. Once it clears, it will be ready to bottle.
Tasting notes: A rich, honey color. Fruity, floral, a hint of sweetness, and faint vegetal notes. Semi-sweet and already drinkable, in my opinion. This wine is going to be amazing!
Banana Wine Update, 7/27/13
This is Mr. Scribbles’ wine, so he was in charge of the tasting. It had fermented to dry (SG .994) and had was racked off the lees almost 2 months ago. But because it was stabilized the day before, we’ll be keeping an eye on it to make sure fermentation doesn’t start up again.
He followed the same procedure as above, and used the water/sugar simple syrup to lightly sweeten the wine. To clear it, he took ½ cup of the wine, warmed it slightly, and added 1 teaspoon of bentonite to it. He then added this mixture to the carboy and topped it with the remaining banana wine. It will be ready to bottle after it clears.
Tasting notes: Straw color. Intensely fruity nose, definite banana on the palate. Semi-dry, but just sweet enough to really bring out the banana flavor. This is going to be another nice one.
To find out more about each of these wines, read my winemaking notes here: