Claret is not a wine of a strong body, though it requires to be of a good age before it is used, and therefore it should be well managed; the best method is to feed it every 2 or 3 weeks with a pint or two of French brandy. Taste it frequently, to know what state it is in, and use the brandy accordingly; but never put much in at a time, while a little incorporates with the wine and feeds and mellows it.
If the claret is faint, rack it into a fresh emptied hogshead, upon the lees of good claret, and bung it up, putting the bottom downwards for two or three days, that the lees may run through it.
TO COLOR CLARET
If the color be not yet perfect, rack it off again into a hogshead that has been newly drawn off, with the lees, then take 1 lb. of turnsole and put it into a gallon or two of wine; let it lie a day or two, and then put it into the vessel; after which lay the bung downwards for a night, and the next day roll it about.
Or, take any quantity of damsons or black sloes, and strew them with some of the deepest colored wine and as much sugar as will make it into a syrup. A pint of this will cover a hogshead of claret. It is also good for red Port wines, and may be kept ready for use in glass bottles.
TO RESTORE CLARET
Rack it off from the dregs on some fresh lees of its own kind, and then take a dozen of new pipping, pare them and take away the cores or hearts; then put them in the hogshead, and if that is not sufficient, take a handful of the oak of Jerusalem and bruise it, then put it into the wine and stir it well.
TO MAKE CLARET ROUGH
Put into l qt. of Claret or Port 2 qts. of sloes; bake them in a gentle oven, or over a slow fire, till a good part of their moisture is stewed out; then pour off the liquor, and squeeze out the rest. A pint of this will be sufficient for 30 or 40 galls.
Return to The Household Cyclopedia of General Information