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Requested Recipe:

BLACK CURRANT WINE


"I have heard of making blackcurrant wine with a pressure cooker.
Do you know how this is done?"
Will Fowler, Albany, New York




BLACK CURRANTS


Black currants have a pretty tough skin and must be crushed, heated or broken down with a food processor (on lowest setting) in order to extract the very flavorful juice. I have three recipes for making black currant wine in my regular recipes section. Another way to extract the juice and flavor is to use a pressure cooker. While I had heard of this method myself many years ago, it was not until I read J. R. Mitchell's Scientific Winemaking -- Made Easy that a thorough explanation of this method was revealed.

Mitchell explains that the use of a pressure cooker is an easy way to get at the black currant's juice, but it comes at a price. The flavor is altered slightly by the extreme heat and the wine can become tawny in taste. Tawny wine, however, is preferred by some--especially sweet, tawny, port-style wine. I will therefore offer two recipes below for making black currant wine with the aid of a pressure cooker. In the first I will attempt to minimize any flavor alteration and make a slightly tawny table wine. In the second, I will take advantage of this tendency and make a tawny, sweet, port-style wine using Lalvin K1V-1116 (Montpellier) wine yeast, which is capable of fermenting to 20% alcohol by volume. Please note that the port-style wine requires a yeast nutrient fortified with yeast hulls, such as Fermaid from Scott Labs. Ask your winemaking supplier for this kind of nutrient or shop around on the internet to find it (such as at Presque Isle Wine Cellars' web site). Each recipe makes a gallon of wine.

An advantage of using the pressure cooker with black currants is that the amount of black currants required is reduced. Both raisins and bananas are used to increase body. However, I encourage you to also look at the other recipes for black currant wine in the regular recipes section.

BLACK CURRANT TABLE WINE

Bring 1 quart water to boil. Meanwhile, slice the bananas crosswise, peeling and all, into 1/2-inch slices. Put bananas, raisins and black currants in pressure cooker. Pour boiling water over fruit and secure lid. Bring to 15 pounds pressure for 3 minutes. Immediately, move pressure cooker under cold running water and reduce pressure to zero. Remove lid and pour onto sugar in primary. Stir to mix sugar and add remaining water (cold) to reduce temperature even more. Stir some more to dissolve sugar thoroughly, cover and set aside to cool to room temperature. Add remaining ingredients except pectic enzyme and yeast, stir well, recover, and wait 12 hours. Add pectic enzyme, stir well, recover, and set aside another 12 hours. Add activated yeast and recover primary. When fermentation is vigorous, stir twice daily for three days. Pour through nylon straining bag and allow to drip drain for about an hour; do not squeeze. Pour liquor into secondary and fit airlock. Rack every 30 days into sanitized secondary until wine clears and no further sediments are dropped during a 30-day period. Stabilize and place in refrigerator for three days. Rack into sanitized secondary, sweeten to taste, top up, refit airlock, and store in dark, cool place for 4-6 months. Rack into bottles. This wine will continue improving for up to three years, but may be enjoyed earlier. [Recipe adapted from J.R. Mitchell's Scientific Winemaking -- Made Easy]


BLACK CURRANT PORT-STYLE WINE

Bring 1 quart water to boil. Meanwhile, slice the bananas crosswise, peeling and all, into 1/2-inch slices. Put bananas, raisins and black currants in pressure cooker. Pour boiling water over fruit and secure lid. Bring to 15 pounds pressure for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool naturally unitl pressure drops to zero. Remove lid and pour onto 1/2 the sugar in primary. Stir to mix sugar and add remaining water (cold) to reduce temperature even more. Stir some more to dissolve sugar thoroughly, cover and set aside to cool to room temperature. Add citric acid, tannin, crushed Campden tablet, and 1/2 the yeast nutrient. Stir well, recover and wait 12 hours. Add pectic enzyme, stir well, recover, and set aside another 12 hours. Add activated yeast and recover primary. When fermentation is vigorous, stir twice daily for three days. Pour through nylon straining bag and allow to drip drain for about an hour; do not squeeze. Stir 1/2 remaining sugar and yeast nutrient into liquor until dissolved. Pour liquor into secondary and fit airlock. When specific gravity drops to 1.010, stir in remaining sugar and yeast nutrient until dissolved. Rack every 30 days into sanitized secondary until wine clears and no further sediments are dropped during a 30-day period. This may take a while to achieve. Stabilize and place in refrigerator for five days. Rack into sanitized secondary, sweeten to 1.030, top up, refit airlock, and store in dark, cool place for 4-6 months. Rack into bottles. This port-style wine will continue improving for up to six years, but may be enjoyed earlier. [Author's recipe adapted from J.R. Mitchell's Scientific Winemaking -- Made Easy]


My thanks to Will Fowler of Albany, New York for requesting this recipe.


This page was updated on July 4th, 2000

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