IN VINO VERITAS VI: There is truth.

The Muscat is in the fridge. The Conditum Paradoxum is upright and settling out. (It clarified while cellared.) I will need to re-rack it before Great Northeastern War this weekend. I am EXTREMELY excited about my first chance to panel in the East Kingdom Brewer’s Guild. I’ve been dabbling with my local guild: The Smokingbridge Guild of Libation Brewers, for a while now, but I never thought to bring it to the Kingdom level until I got these beverages done. I will be paneling my Conditum Paradoxum along side a short mead, rose and lavender cordial, and my pomegranate balsamic sekanjabin if there are enough slots open for all 4. I’d like to thank Mistress Bess Darnley for taking a moment to look over my documentation and providing feedback.

The next panel I’ll probably make will be at Birka in January, and these shinies will be good to go:

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YES! The Rosatum and Retsina are done and bottled and delicious! I can’t wait til these age. They’re going to be remarkable.

 

 

IN VINO VERITAS V. “HAAAAAAAAAADRIAN!”

That is probably the worst movie/history pun crossover in the entire internets. Anyways, we have wine!

First you gotta sanitize those bottles. We may be making Roman wine, but we don’t need Roman germs.

I use C-Brite sanitizer.

Then you make your boyfriend put the carboy on the counter for you.

It’s so clear, you can see from here to Guinness. BRILLIANT!

Once you siphen into the bottling bucket (best money ever spent, ever deal with bottling out of a carboy? Ung.) separate off the small batches of infused wines. Here is the Retsina with pieces of pine resin in the bottom, and the Rhosatum, with dried roses in a bag infusing in the pickle jar. These should be bottled by the end of the month. Pliny says to leave the roses in there for 3 months, but I’m assuming he meant fresh. I’m using dried, so I’d rather monitor what this is going to do and the flavor I’m going to get before creating a mess.

Retsina (resin) and Rhosatum (rose) wines.

I also separated my portion off for the Conditum Paradoxum, the spiced wine from Apicius. After gathering my ingredients, it all went into the pot for an hour on low heat to steep. The pine resin melted fast, which got me worried, but it was fine.

 

You can see the odd mix of ingredients here: dates, melting resin, bay leaf, saffron, black pepper, honey, and I threw in a cinnamon stick for fun and profit. And my stove is filthy. Welcome to brewing.

Once that was infused with the rest of the wine, it was strained and bottled. Here is the Conditum in the bottles next to the unaltered muscat wine I made.

Conditum on the left, plain wine on the right. You can see how the spices clouded the wine.

So, being the brave soul I am, I tried the Conditum in the period style, using warm saltwater to dilute it, as the straight liquor is extremely sweet.

The dilution cleared the wine, and brought out the infused flavors.

From Familia Annae to yours, EU!

IN VINO VERITAS IV

Bottling and infusing the wine today! Excited! Pictures to follow in tonight’s post.

In the end, I will have the following:
2 gallons of “Ancient White” Muscat wine.
1 gallon of Conditum Paradoxum (spiced wine from Apicius.)
1 gallon of Rhosatum (rose wine from Pliny the Elder.)
1 gallon of Retsina (resined wine.)

I’ve found a couple different redactions of the Conditum Paradoxum. I have one written down in my brewing journal (this is a must-have for anyone who brews as much as I do. I conjure up recipes and write them in, and track my progress on existing projects) but I found a different approach online I may go with instead. The basis of the drink is that you take a base wine, Apicius doesn’t say what color though both reds and whites were widely consumed by the Romans, and you make a must of honey, saffron, mastic, bay leaf, black pepper and dates. I don’t have any mastic, so I’m subbing in cinnamon. Plus, with my Retsina, I didn’t want to overdo it with that flavor. I *DO* have plenty of pine resin to work with, so that is still an option.

The rhosatum is getting treated exactly as Pliny says: put rose petals in a bag, put it in the must, close the sucker up and then let it sit for 3 months. I’m assuming he means fresh petals, and I’m using dried, so I’m going to be monitoring the color of the liquor and making sure nothing goes funky in there. If I stop the infusion early, I stop it early. No big.

The Retsina doesn’t have a clear cut recipe. I’m more or less trying to re-create a flavor profile than an actual recipe. Originally, Greek and Roman wines got the resin flavor from the use of pine resin as a sealant on the amphorae. Being that I don’t have an amphora, (I’ve looked, they’re expensive to get made) I’m cheating and tossing an ounce of resin in the wine and letting it age a month. If this works out, I’ll bottle the wine and seal the top of the bottles with resin like wax as a nice touch.

I’m going to let the wines bottle age a minimum of 3 months, so my first bottles should be ready by Pennsic War, at least of the Conditum Paradoxum (which I plan to panel with hot seawater to dilute it with!)

More updates today as it comes, live, from Black Dolphin Brewing!

 

Rose Sekanjabin video.

I made rose sekanjabin for the first time today, so I documented it by video. Sekanjabin is a syrup with origins in Medieval Persia. It’s typically made with mint, but a variety of substitutions can be made. In this case, I used dried roses, since I have way too much for my wine.

The video will take you through the steps, but here’s the recipe:

2 1/2 cups of homemade rosewater (I boiled 4 cups of dried rose petals and buds in 3 cups of water. I had to add more water a couple of times to get the right amount.)
4 cups of granulated sugar
1 cup of white wine vinegar

Combine ingredients and boil for a half hour. Let cool. Syrup keeps indefinitely in a bottle without refrigeration.

How to make Rose Sekanjabin Syrup from Anna Dokeianina Syrakousina on Vimeo.

In Vino Veritas. Part I.

I will be VERY popular during the apocalypse. Homebrewers will be the richest, between selling booze for drinking and selling it for medicinal and antiseptic purpose.

But yes, welcome to Black Dolphin Brewing! Where my boyfriend and I make all sorts of delectable draughts of doom. (I love alliteration.) Since this blog is still rather new, I’m not going to backtrack to explain all that I have done so far. But, I am a member of the Smokingbridge Guild of Libation Brewers locally, and part of the entire East Kingdom Brewer’s Guild as well. I have yet to be paneled, but we’re working on that. WITH ROMAN WINE.

Of course it would be Roman, it’s what I do.

The Romans adored sweet white wines, contrary to the heavy reds that you often think of, Pliny the Elder gives us great insight as to how the Romans enjoyed their wines, from white grapes to heavy spices. Natural History┬ácan be quite a ponderous tome for those that don’t find him all that appealing, but, for a reference into how Romans viewed their natural world, it’s an invaluable tool for research. A free, solid translation of it is available online at the Perseus project through Tufts University here.

Pliny the Elder wrote during the Flavian Dynasty, and N.H. is dedicated to the Emperor Vespasian. Pliny is the reason why we have plinean eruptions, for the poor fella was killed indirectly from the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. Most likely of a heart attack, as he was quite old. His nephew, Pliny the Younger, watched on from another boat as his uncle returned to help refugees escape the nasty pyroclastic flow. It is from these men we have the best eyewitness account of the eruption. The Younger wrote Epistles, which is a series of letters between him and the Emperor Domitian regarding his governance of an eastern province. They are absolutely boring, BUT, they give a remarkable insight into the inner workings of Roman goverment in the 1st Century. But, I digress…

I will be re-creating two styles of wine to start. Since this is my first wine, I will be making a moscato from a kit. The muscat grape is very ancient, and was cultivated throughout the region. It’s not one of my particularly favorite flavors (I’m a chardonnay and sauv blanc kinda lady, here. HEY, at least it’s not white zin?) The kit will be ready for me at my friendly local brewstore tonight. (Check out Basement Brewhaus in Providence. Cool, helpful people.)

I plan to follow the kit through the primary fermentation, then split off two smaller batches for secondary in which one will be resined with pine sap (yum?) and the other with roses. Pliny mentions both at Plin. Nat. 14.24-25 and Plin. Nat. 19.19 respectively.

Pliny devotes most of Book 14 to wines and wine making. There is also calidum, the hot spiced wine drunk year round, and diluted with water, usually seawater of some sort. Pliny gives a whole chapter on salted wines. Those Romans and their wacky tastebuds…

Pictures will be coming forthwith once the fermentation process begins.