When I started making wine my goal was to make a good red wine. I have no problem with white wine or rose but I prefer drinking red wine. I bought a few wine kits because I had no idea what I was doing. I did not like the results. It was wine, it was red, but in my opinion tasteless.
Since I have no grapes or other fresh fruit I started experimenting with juices that I bought from the supermarket. I was very happy with the resulting white wines but making red wines continued to be problematic.
I used many different red juices but in general they all have the same problems:
- During the fermentation the color becomes lighter. In many cases it becomes a dark rose but definitely not red.
- The acidity of the juices is too high. This does not suit red wine.
- The resulting wines have no body.
So usually what you end up with is something that is more or less a rose with too much alcohol and a taste that resembles lemonade. Not bad as a rose most of the times but nothing like red wine.
Then I started experimenting with additional ingredients. I used for example oak chips, bananas, vanilla, dried elderberries, and tannin. Again the results were not good because I used too much. Vanilla is a great addition but it is very overpowering and red vanilla wine is not nice.
One juice became the exception: Black currant juice. I made red wine from it several times and it is pretty good. It can compete with the better supermarket wines.
So here is my recipe for 10 liter:
- 10,5 liter black currant juice (This contains total 1260 g sugar according to the label)
- 1 banana
- 3 g red tannin
- 4 g oak chips
- 4 g dried elderberries
- 1200 g cane sugar (Total 246 g/l which makes approximately 13% alcohol)
- Boil the sugar, oak chips, tannin, elderberries and mashed banana for a minute in some black currant juice.
- Rehydrate the yeast in a little water.
- Put the black currant juice in a fermentation bucket and add the boiled mixture. This way it cools down fast.
- Add the yeast.
As you can see I did not measure anything. The amount of sugar in the juice is written on the package and I trust this. The acidity is probably a bit high so I will not add any. I am confident enough so I will not make a measurement.
The amounts of additions are very small. This is mainly because they all give a lot of flavor and the oak chips and elderberries also have tannin. You want them in your wine but not too much.
The banana is there to give the wine body.
I have made this wine before but I always try to experiment a little with additions. This is also the reason that I use cane sugar. I have not tried this before and we will see if this is an improvement or not.