Even though you won’t be able to make this fortified wine until next June or July I’m posting the recipe now as vin de noix has a Christmasy feel. It’s definitely a winter tipple and decanted into pretty bottles would make a great Christmas present.
Traditional vin de noix (walnut wine) is made from young walnuts, red wine, distilled alcohol and sugar. These are walnuts that can easily be quartered and are just starting to form their shells. This is the reason why I made this wine initially. I’d left it too late to make pickled walnuts but had a bag of young walnuts knocking about in the kitchen
In France vin de noix is a celebrated countryside drink that is also used in cooking. There are loads of recipes on the Internet. The one that I chose was from William Rubel. I made my vin de noix in early August 2008.
Reading around the subject I’d noted that vin de noix is said to improve with age. As so often happens, in my haste to get the demijohn into the barn I did not note that the length of time for steeping the walnuts is generally around two months. I assumed that the longer the walnuts stayed in the mix the better the drink would be!
When I stepped into the barn, torch in hand, I had no idea that I had made this mistake. I was thinking about a little mid morning cheer. Eventually I unearthed the demijohn, dusted it off and removed the air lock. It smelt good and deeply alcoholic. Standing under the looping cobwebs and probably watched by a thousand spider eyes, I took a tentative sip. It was delicious – almost like port.
A small glass was rushed up to the Rat Room for Danny.“Mmm It tastes great! Perfect for Christmas.”It would be glorious poured over ice cream and I have a feeling that it would be good if it was heated too.
I only discovered my steeping gaff when I was nosing about the Internet this week. Next year I will definitely be making this again. Steeping for just the customary two months. It will be interesting to compare the difference in flavour, if we have any left.
Walnut wine. Vin de noix recipe
One three litre box of red wine
600ml of vodka
600g of granulated sugar
30 walnuts (as some of them were very small)
Quarter the walnuts lengthwise (wear gloves as the walnuts will stain your hands and also avoid using a wooden board)
Place the walnuts in a gallon demijohn (or split them equally between large Le Parfait jars)
Add the sugar, vodka and red wine (I used a winemaking airlock to seal the demijohn)
Steep the wine for two months and then strain through muslin and bottle. Store in a dark place.
This recipe makes four litres of vin de noix .
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