{Persimmon} wine


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The air was cold and our fingertips froze.

It was early in the morning and there we were, gathering that luscious fruit before the deer got them.  My favorite flavor in the whole wide world.

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We picked, processed, and froze persimmons until we had twenty pounds of pulp.  Twenty pounds.  That’s a whole lot of sieving.  Eric said, “There’s got to be an easier way.”  I told him that if he figured it out, we’d be rich.

When snow flurried in the heart of November, we turned our front room into a fermentation chamber.   While the rest of our house sat at 65 degrees, twelve gallons of persimmon must (the fruit slurry over which yeast is pitched) enjoyed a balmy 71 and layers of fleece.  Yes, we actually did that.

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That’s when the magic happened with a vengeance…that orange, yeasty goodness burped and bubbled vigorously as we prepared for Thanksgiving.  We punched through the pulpy crust twice a day and stirred it well.  It was a beautiful thing.

Here’s the first rack to carboys….

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By then, it was Christmastime and we were watching Bing Crosby dance and sing.  From twelve gallons of must, we got seven gallons of milky, fermented liquid.  And lots of pulp.  Pulp everywhere.  Persimmon pulp for dayzzzzzz.  So.  Much.  Pulp.  I worried that it would clear.

It did.  Whew.

We racked again on February 7th, and March 12th, and again on May 2nd.

The jugs and jars waited patiently in the repurposed darkroom sink until the fury of early summer died down and there was time to attend to the quiet therapy of winemaking once more.

We bottled the persimmon this evening, and as we always do, accidentally sprayed ourselves with the young wine while using the cantankerous bottler.

Bottle wine.  Mop floors.  Shower.

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We also tasted a small sample and made notes in our wine making journal so we can repeat this recipe if it’s one we like.

We like it already.

(We’d better.  We just capped 41 bottles of persimmon wine.)

We’ve learned so much this year, this year of making farm wines from scratch.

We’ve learned not to freak out when the first taste is still yeasty and bites the tongue.  Time will take care of that.  The progression of nose and flavor through this process is an artful, mysterious thing.

We’ve also learned to nudge our wines in directions that we like- a little on the dry side to retain the fruit flavor but a hint of sweetness too.  This persimmon is particularly delicate and should mellow beautifully in the next few months.  And you can actually taste the persimmon flavor.  {Love}  I think it will be our favorite, even beating out the crisp peach that we are now enjoying (and it’s pretty doggone good).  Added to our current stash, that makes 121, 750 ml bottles from our 2013 season.  Blackberry, peach, concord blush, pear, and persimmon.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

And while our fermenting buckets and carboys are empty and clean for the first time in twelve months, we do not worry.  The blackberries in the woods will soon be ripe and we’ll start this process all over again…picking and crushing, stirring and fermenting, straining and racking, tasting and waiting.   Sticky floors, sticky people, and all.  {Can’t wait}

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