Friday, April 6, 2007

Walnut wine

This plastic cask is full of walnut wine that has been aging for several years... mainly because I've been too busy, or too lazy, to finish processing the product. In fact, the wine in the cask is a bit "soupy" because it still contains the sediment of the green walnuts that were macerated in it for over a year. I've removed all the solid remains of these walnuts, leaving only a sediment.

Quite a lot of work has to be done before the wine is bottled and ready to drink. First, I have to siphon off the clear part of the liquid, and filter the rest through a cloth. Then I have to add a precise quantity of pure alcohol. Some producers of walnut wine use distilled liquor of one kind or another, whereas I have always preferred the solution of pure pharmaceutical alcohol. Finally, I add a certain quantity of sugar.

This is the instrument that I intend to use, at least in the beginning, to separate most of the wine from the sediment, which lies on the bottom of the cask. It's a siphon.

How does it work? That's a good question, and I must admit that it took me quite some time to grasp how to use this device. The clear plastic tube will be placed inside the cask, and the small silver nozzle will enter the neck of the big glass recipient that will be holding the siphoned wine. The flexible white nylon barrel is a little like a concertina, in that the operator can squeeze it flat, preferably using both hands. A naive observer might imagine that the operator simply pushes this concertina barrel in and out in order to pump the wine out of the cask and into the bottle. But that's not at all how the device works. There's an additional small detail that must be mentioned. The silver nozzle is in fact a kind of tap, which is normally closed. To open this tap, you merely have to push the silver nozzle back towards the black handle. So, here's the operating procedure:

— First, you squeeze the concertina barrel flat, and you stick the plastic tube into the cask.

— Then you release slowly the concertina barrel, which causes the plastic tube (but not the white barrel) to fill up with wine.

— Finally, you place the silver nozzle in the neck of the glass recipient and push the silver nozzle to open the tap. The wine then flows slowly from the cask into the recipient.

Elementary, my dear Watson!

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