With the purchase of a fruit press last summer, Bushmaster couldn’t wait to get started. We’d missed out on the local plum season, so he actually got started with fresh peaches. (Incidently, we are still putting the finishing touches on that batch.) A few weeks later, I was in the grocery and they had plums on sale. Not quite as good as getting the local ones, but I was anxious to make a plum wine. We purchased enough for a three gallon batch.
Pretty much following the process we used for the peaches, we got the pressed plum juice underway fermenting with Lalvin 71B-1122 yeast. We had already checked the acid level which was perfect and added the right amount of sugar to bring the specific gravity to a good starting level. An appropriate amount of pectic enzyme and yeast energizer before pitching the yeast and we were off.
Our original plan was to arrest the fermentation to retain more of the natural sweetness, but the fermentation went more quickly than we expected and the must fermented to dry.
We racked and clarified and tasted and aged. And then we tasted some more. Bushmaster and I were at opposite ends in our opinions. I was thrilled with the dry version. It had beautiful color and was light with just the right hint of spice. He felt it should be sweeter with more plum flavor.
So we compromised. We bottled two gallons of the dry and left one gallon of wine with which Bushmaster could experiment.
Hoping to bring out more fruit flavor, he added some natural plum flavoring and back sweetened with Old Orchard Strawberry Rhubarb frozen juice concentrate. No longer 100% plum, he had to come up with a name for his creation and “Peanut’s Plumberry” was born.
At first, I wasn’t a fan. I found it to be too sweet, but after aging in the bottle, the sweetness and flavors have balanced out and it is quite good.
My preference is still for Peanut’s Plum Dry and I feel it is one of the best wines we’ve made so far. The color is beautiful and it pairs so well with shrimp and Asian dishes.
We are looking forward to the 2017 season, locally sourced plums, and at least double our 2016 production.