"You've got to tell me about this wine." Marvin Nebgen, upon judging the wine
I posted this recipe before, but failed to save it when I entered the next one. My apologies to the person who originally requested it. There is, however, a slight difference in this recipe and the one posted previously. The previous recipe was posted while the wine was still being made, so this one differs in that I sweetened the finished wine slightly and aged it for 6 months. Otherwise, they are the same.
When I was in Bangkok in 1968, I was introduced to the rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum), a small, oblong-shaped, red-skinned fruit with hairlike, flexible protrusions (the tentacles are really quite soft and harmless) from which it derives its name (based on the Malay word "rambut", meaning "hair"). The inside is translucent, sweet and succulent, with a texture and taste reminiscent of lychees (litchees, if you prefer). A 100-gram sample of rambutan flesh contains 2.8 g glucose, 3.0 g fructose, 9.9 g sucrose, which together is 15.7% sugar.
Rambutans are cultivated most extensively in southeast Asia and the tropics, but is a highly perishable commodity. For this reason, I was never able to find fresh rambutan in the United States, even though I could find almost every other tropical fruit in the produce markets at one time or another while living in San Francisco. I finally was able to obtain the fruit canned in light syrup.
I purchased four 20-oz cans containing one pound of fruit each. I ate a few, leaving me with about 3-3/4 pounds of drained fruit. The wine I made is very good, although I'll admit it is not as good as lychee wine. I sweetened it to 1.004 s.g., which is semi-sweet. It has its own flavor, which the judges who evaluated it were not quite sure was true or slightly off. I am grateful they gave it the benefit of any doubt. It won a second place in Fruit Wine (Dry), behind my Orange Wine.
Drain and discard syrup from rambutans and chop fruit. Place fruit in nylon straining bag, tie closed, and set in primary. Add all ingredients except pectic enzyme and yeast to primary and stir well to dissolve. Cover primary and set aside 6-8 hours. Add pectic enzyme and recover primary. After 6-8 hours, add activated yeast starter, cover primary and set aside for 5-7 days or until s.g. drops to 1.015. Remove bag of fruit and transfer liquid to secondary, top up if required and fit airlock. Ferment to dryness, then rack, top up and refit airlock. Repeat every 30 days until wine clears and no new sediments form during a 30-day period. Stabilize and sweeten to taste if desired (if sweetened, wait three weeks for any renewed fermentation to begin) and rack into bottles. Age 6 months before tasting. Serve chilled. [Author's own recipe]
My thanks to Marvin Nebgen of Fredericksburg, Texas for inquiring about this wine.