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Oak Leaves


"At least it doesn't call for acorns...."


As was said previously, Texas is blessed with more types of oak trees than you can shake a stick at. With the exception of the Darlington oak, Evergreen oak, Laurel oak, Live oak, and Mexican blue oak, all are deciduous, and in the spring, they explode with buds and a profusion of young, new leaves. Thanks to C.J.J. Berry, we now know we can make oak leaf as well as oakbud wine. Although the wine is a good one in its own right, according to Berry it can also be used to blend with more insipid wines and give them zest.

Among the trees we can harvest the fresh young leaves from are the Blackjack oak, Bur oak, Chinkapin oak, Cup oak, Durrand oak, Lacey oak, Mohr oak, Monterrey oak, Moss oak, Pin oak, Post oak, Sandpaper oak, Sawtooth oak, Shin oak, Southern red oak, Shumard oak, Spanish oak, Swamp chestnut oak, Texas red oak, Vasey oak, Water oak, White oak, and Willow oak. Gather the new leaves and proceed as in the recipes below. The two recipes differ only in that one uses young leaves and the other uses older leaves. According to Berry (no, I've not tried it yet), the two yield quite different flavors. If you only have the evergreen oaks, wait until the old leaves shed and new leaves sprout in spring, or use the second recipe anytime.

OAK LEAF WINE (Young)

Wash the leaves in clean cold water and place in a crock or bucket. Bring 6 pints water to boil and pour over the leaves. Cover and allow to seep for 24 hours, then strain the liquid into a pot large enough to take it and the sugar with a little room to spare. Add the sugar, the juice of the oranges and lemon, and their grated peel. Stir well to dissolve sugar, bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Allow to cool to 70 degrees F., strain through nylon sieve, and add remaining ingredients. Transfer to secondary fermentation vessel and fit fermentation trap. Do not top up with water, as the initial four or five days should produce a vigorous fermentation foam. When this has subsided, top up with water and continue fermentation until wine clears (2-3 months). Rack, then rack again after two months and bottle. Allow six months to one year. [Adapted from C.J.J. Berry's 130 New Winemaking Recipes]

OAK LEAF WINE (Old)

Wash the leaves in clean cold water and place in a crock or bucket. Bring 6 pints water to boil and pour over the leaves. Cover and allow to seep for 24 hours, then strain the liquid into a pot large enough to take it and the sugar with a little room to spare. Add the sugar, the juice of the oranges and lemon, and their grated peel. Stir well to dissolve sugar, bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Allow to cool to 70 degrees F., strain through nylon sieve, and add remaining ingredients. Transfer to secondary fermentation vessel and fit fermentation trap. Do not top up with water, as the initial four or five days should produce a vigorous fermentation foam. When this has subsided, top up with water and continue fermentation until wine clears (2-3 months). Rack, then rack again after two months and bottle. Allow six months to one year. [Adapted from C.J.J. Berry's 130 New Winemaking Recipes]



Last update was November 2nd, 2000.


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