Elderflower wine recipe
Elderflower wine is a light, delicate and floral wine, perfect for drinking in the summer. Elderflower can usually be picked in May, but may appear earlier in late April, depending on the weather. The flowers are very small, white and form in sprays, making them quite easy to spot. If you can't find any Elderflower trees, then you can use dried Elderflowers, instead.
Elderflower champagne is made in the same way as Elderflower wine, although you need a little more sugar and should use a champagne yeast. Don't add potassium sorbate (fermentation stopper), because you need viable yeast when you bottle. Add a teaspoon of sugar to each bottle, for carbonation. you must use champagne bottles with the correct corks and cages, or plastic bottles which can withstand pressure. Do not use standard wine bottles and corks as the bottles can explode!
- 50g of fresh or dried elderflowers
- 1.5kg Sugar
- Water to 1 gallon
- Yeast & Nutrient (vitamin B1 works well)
- 1 tsp citric acid
- Optional, for extra body: 1 bottle white wine enricher
- Campden tablet
Put the Elderflowers into a 5-litre bucket with three litres of water, then add a crushed campden tablet. Stir, cover and leave for 24-48 hours for the campden tablet to do its work, killing off any wild yeast, etc.
Add in the citric acid, sugar, wine enricher (if using) and yeast nutrient and give the mixture a good stir, ensuring all the sugar is fully dissolved. Top up with water to 4.5 litres, then pitch in the yeast. Fit an airlock and allow to ferment for 3-4 days, then strain through a muslin cloth into a clean, sterilised demijohn. Top up to the neck, if necessary. Fit an airlock and allow to ferment out. Use a hydrometer to ensure fermentation has completed, before proceeding.
Once fermentation has finished, rack off the sediment into a new, clean demijohn. If making wine, you can leave this in the demijohn to clear, before bottling. However, if you want to make champagne, you will need to bottle sooner, so that you still have viable yeast in the wine. Add a teaspoon of sugar to each champagne bottle, before filling, then fit champagne corks and keep in place with wire cages. Keep the bottles warm for a week to carbonate, then move somewhere cool.
Elderflower champagne will produce a sediment in the bottle, due to the secondary fermentation, which is perfectly natural. To avoid this going into your glass, you can try storing the bottles upside down, so the sediment forms in the cork, but you must avoid moving the bottles, until you are ready to serve. As this isn't very practical for most people, you can just keep the bottles upright and be aware of that the last part of the bottle will have some sediment in it!
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