vin de noix III: the sad conclusion
After giving it another hopeful few months, the vin de noix never really came to much. One heroic last tasting, gag reflexes at the ready, and down the drain it went.
Every bottle was different, so the recipes were varied. Yet they’re all gross. Undrinkably gross.
Vin de noix is supposed to be spectacularly delicious, with a rich brown-black color and complex flavor. Ours was several variations of grey green with a sick oily sheen broken up over the top. Like what a mechanic or sanitation worker might wring out of the cuffs of his pants in winter. And yes, we did strain it a few times along the process. It just tasted like poison, there was no complexity. Everything else in the recipes took a back seat to that single note. Blegh.
The ingredients were high quality – the vodka was top shelf (not necessary, but it was on sale), the wine was cheap but good, and the nuts were fresh, used within only a few days of being picked. The farmer who gave them to us said her mother used to make vin de noix from nuts of the same tree, so historically we should have been on the right track. The nuts seemed to be really fresh, very juicy, and the tree was just loaded with nuts, more than we could possibly use. Which is to say that the tree seemed to be fine… but the nuts were the only thing all those disgusting bottles had in common. Even the few bottles we did with VERY few nuts were like watery wine with some poison on top.
Well, that and the bottles themselves. We sterilized the milk bottles, heavy brown glass and metal caps. Maybe the nuts reacted to the caps? Who can say. We thought they were non-reactive. And we used the very same bottles and caps, on the very same day, for the vin d’orange, which turned out just fine.
When I taste (or even smell or look at!) the vin de noix, it’s clear to me that it is, in fact, poison. Really. So my favorite possibly ridiculous theory is that these are black walnuts, which contain the poisonous substance “juglone” in the green rind (which we of course used) and leaves but are perfectly safe to eat when fully ripe.
Either that or the tree just had a bad year, because I could not find anything online about not using black walnuts in vin de noix. I’m not sure I’ll try again on the same tree… maybe I can find another tree this year.