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Huisache


"A delicious flower wine."

There are several members of the Acacia genus that in certain locales are mistakenly called Huisache. These include the Acacia constricta or Mescat Acacia and the Acacia Shaffneri or Shaffner Acacia. The species referred to here is the Acacia farnestana or Sweet Acacia, known locally in Texas as the Huisache. It is a shrub or small tree with either many stems growing from the base or, when singular, a thorny tree up to 18 inches in diameter and achieving a height of 30 feet. In coastal areas it is usually flat-topped and many-stemmed, but well inland it tend to grow singularly with a rounded head and pendulous branches. It ranges along the coast eastward to Florida, westward to Arizona, and south through Mexico, Central America, to northern South America. South of the Rio Grande, it takes many names. In the United States, it is correctly known as the Sweet Acacia or Huisache, but is vernacularly called Acacia-Catclaw, Honey-ball, Popinach, Biorama, and Vinorama in various locales.

In Texas, the shrub/tree flowers in late February through March. The flowers are sinular or double headed, on 1 to 1-1/2-inch penduncles (stems), very numerous, appear before leaves break and last until they do, are yellow, about 2/3 inch in diameter, very fragrant, and sperical with many radiating filaments. It was the fragrance of the flowers that attracted me to them as a potential wine base. I picked about 3-1/3 quarts of loosely packed flowers and made two gallons of the following wine, which has already won a first and two second places at various competitions. This wine was topped up with water and finished dry at 10-3/4 to 11% alcohol by volume.


HUISACHE FLOWER WINE

Wash the flowers and put in nylon straining bag with a dozen marbles for weight, tie bag, and place in primary. Heat 1 quart water and dissolve sugar. Cool with frozen grape juice concentrate and remaining water and add to primary. Add remaining ingredients except yeast and stir well. Cover primary and wait 10-12 hours before adding activated yeast. Recover primary, move to a warm place and stir daily. When specific gravity drops to 1.020, drip-drain bag and transfer wine to secondary. Affix airlock and move to cooler (but not cold) place. Rack after 30 days and again after another 30 days, topping up and refitting airlock each time. If fermentation has finished, wine should be clear or begin to clear, although pollen will continue to settle for another 2-3 months. Rack again 90 days after wine has cleared, top up and reattach airlock. Set aside another 90 days to bulk age. Stabilize, sweeten to taste (excellent at 1.010) and rack into bottles. May taste after 6 months in bottle. [Author's own recipe]




Page created October 6th, 2002.


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