"I was wondering if you had any wine that could use fennel?" Brad Wilder, location unknown
This herb (or weed if growing wild in the lawn) makes a good wine if you don't overdo it. Too much fennel and the wine will take on a peculiar and unpleasant taste. If this occurs, make another batch of wine but leave out the fennel. Blend the two wines together and bottle.
The three wines below make three distinctly different wines. By far, I like the beet wine the best, but it does take two years of aging to render it mature enough to drink (the wine will taste "earthy" if tasted earlier). For a quick wine, I recommend the third recipe.
Wash beets well and slice thinly. Put in pot with 6 pts of water and bring to boil. Cook until tender and strain water onto sugar, tannin, lemon juice, and yeast nutrient. Remove thick skin from beets and use canning recipe to save beets for later use as food. Put fennel in jelly or garnish bag, tie, put in pan with remaining water, and bring to boil. Remove from heat and set aside covered for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir beet juice until sugar dissolves completely. Remove bag of fennel, squeeze to extract full flavor and discard fennel. Combine fennel water with other liquid in secondary, cover with napkin help by rubber band and set aside to cool to room temperature. When cool, add activated yeast and attach airlock. When fermentation quietens down, top up and reattach airlock. Rack every 60 days until wine clears. Rack again and stabilize, sweeten to taste, wait 10 days, and rack into bottles. This wine must age two years to mature, but will be a very smooth and delicious wine. [Adapted from C.J.J. Berry's "130 New Winemaking Recipes"]
Wash and core apples, then chop thoroughly. Stir sugar into water and stir well to dissolve completely. Add fennel leaves, chopped apples, crushed Campden, citric acid, yeast nutrient and sugar water to primary. Cover and set aside 12 hours. Stir in pectic enzyme and recover. After 12 hours, add activated yeast. When vigorous fermentation is reached, ferment 3 days stirring twice daily. Strain liquid into secondary. Pick fennel leaves from apple pulp and discard leaves. Press apples and collect juice derived. Pour juice into secondary and discard pulp. Fit airlock and top up when fermentation quiets. Rack after 30 days and set aside to clear. Rack after 60 days and again after additional 60 days, topping up and refitting airlock each time. Stabilize but do not sweeten unless you simply cannot stomach dry wine. Wait final 30 days and bottle. [Adapted from Leo Zanelli's "Home Winemaking from A to Z"]
Boil 2 cups water and infuse fennel leaves 10-15 minutes. Strain water into primary and discard leaves. Add all remaining ingredients except yeast, cover primary and set aside 12 hours. Add activated yeast and recover. Stir daily until s.g. drops to 1.010, then transfer to secondary. Fit airlock and set aside. Rack every 30 days until clear, topping up and refitting airlock each time. Stabilize but sweeten only if you must. Wait final 30 days and rack into bottles. [Author's own recipe]
My thanks to Brad Wilder for requesting this recipe.