Thursday, October 06, 2005

Bitter Harvest

At the beginning of the summer, I wrote about making some vin de noix by steeping green walnuts (from my yard) in red wine with a little brandy and some simple syrup. It was bottling time over the weekend and I have to say this is not an experiment I am likely to repeat. The mahogany-colored result was beautiful to look at but undrinkably bitter. Maybe the nuts were too ripe, not ripe enough, the wrong kind? With the help of an experienced wine-nutter, maybe it's worth trying again. At the same time, I also made a batch by steeping California walnut leaves (marketed for this very purpose) in the same way. I didn't have to spit this version out but it, too, was quite bitter. I'll give it a rest and try a glass later. I was expecting something soothingly countrified and gentler but, maybe, just maybe, if I aproach it as an urbanite-kicking Campari, Dubonnet, or some quinine-infused aperitif, it might work. On the success side, however, I also put up some local sour cherries in sweetened vodka and some wild blackberries in cheap Spanish brandy: both are delicious and well worth doing.