My experimental wine – an apple juice base with some fruit cocktail thrown in – is finally ready for tasting! Will it be “prison wine”-esque or worthy of fine crystal?
A bit of the backstory: I had acquired several cans of tropical fruit cocktail (this was the only kind I could find without the unholy red maraschino cherries – will pass on the red food coloring, thanks) with the intention of starting a “rum pot” (essentially, yeast fermented fruit) that could be used as a dessert topping, etc. After realizing that I wouldn’t be able to use the rum pot as quickly as needed to keep the ferment healthy, I switched gears to wine. I had unsweetened apple juice on hand, so it seemed like a safe bet that adding a can to the juice would produce an interesting and drinkable wine.
The ferment was active and the wine cleared reasonably well. If a slightly cloudy wine is troubling to you, a fining agent could be employed; I would add more pectic enzyme at the start of the ferment to help prevent that pectic haze. Frankly, a little cloudiness doesn’t bother me – it reminds me of an unfiltered beer, and it doesn’t seem to affect the flavor negatively.
The finished wine benefited (as many that ferment dry do) from a bit of backsweetening: I simply splashed in some Black Locust Syrup (its strong honey notes complement the other flavors perfectly), swirled the liquid around, and then enjoyed a delightful, crisply fruity wine. Chilled, it is a fantastic summer libation…and I know how I’ll be using the remaining cans of fruit cocktail.
Verdict: crystal-worthy, but just as delicious in a plain old glass!
Were you surprised that this wasn’t a bad version of “pruno”? All joking aside, wine doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated to be good…and experimentation can produce some amazing results! Find the initial post about making this wine here: Wine Chronicles: Why Not Apple-Fruit Cocktail?