One of the oldest trees at Cae Non is a rather gnarly, nobbley Crab Apple tree. Originally we thought that it wouldn’t be of much use as a fruiting tree as crab apples are notoriously bitter. Anyway, I had the idea to harvest a bucket of the apples last year (2011 – when we first got Cae Non) and work out a use for them later.
I originally thought along the lines of something like crab apple brandy – something similar to Sloe Gin, but I don’t tend to like those liqueurs anyway. So, I just made a wine with them, like any other wines we make. Boiled fruit in the water, add sugar and yeast when cool and forget about it…
…and forget I did. Until this evening when I found it in my dispensary cupboard. We plan to Wassail the trees (especially the apple trees) on the 26th of January (Want to come along?) and I thought that I might as well see what the old apple’s produce tastes like. Let me tell you: It’s lovely. It isn’t bitter/sour like crab apples, and it isn’t even that dry… it’s a fruity, apply tasting wine that is rather sweet. It is clear and light brown and is rather easy on the lips. According to my calculations, it’s somewhere between 10 and 18% alcohol. A few sips and you do indeed feel its effects. I imagine it would make a lovely after dinner wine rather than a table wine – a bit like a liqueur or spirits. Perhaps it is an ideal drink to have in the evening after a long day of tree planting and herb garden digging!
Needless to say, this coming autumn, I’ll probably make 5 or 10 gallons… This taste is growing on me!