How to save Bad Wine: Part 1

TheMan and I have become HUGE fans of Leelaneu Wine Cellar’s Winter White Wine; enough that we have been known to pick up a case. Or two. It’s just really tasty and by far the best of their seasonal wine quartet (which also includes Autumn Harvest, Spring Splendor and Summer Sunset if you were curious) and goes just as well with white wine stuff as it does by itself if one is looking for a wine night cap. Similarly, since I do want to front load this post with all the Leelanau fun which is delicious, their Witches Brew is a really tasty spiced wine perfect for cold winter nights and snuggling. With wine. Of course there are certainly better whites and spiced wines out there but for the price (on sale for about $6 a bottle), these two are an incredibly fantastic deal. Go out and get you some!

In general, the white and fruit wines from Leelanau Wine Cellars have been pretty solid but Michigan is a good state for the miscellaneous fruit wines which are not red grape. TheMan and I once found a pretentious wine book which said that Michigan Reds are to be avoided and then went on to accuse Michigan reds as tasting “foxy”. Mostly because Concord Grapes are what thrives best in this climate and you can make an outstanding jam with Concord grapes but a really crappy wine. Still, we were buoyed (and perhaps lulled) by the past tastiness of our favorite white wine of Leelanau’s even though we knew in our heart of hearts that we shouldn’t even look at any red wine made from Michigan grapes.

I mean…it had been years since that wine book had been published and they are making progress with plant hybrids all the time. Maybe they managed to get a cold weather wine grape to survive. So we bought a bottle.

Do you know what grapes they used? Concord. Do you know what Concord grape wine tastes like? Leelanau cellars would like you to believe that it tastes like:

Our award winning 100% Concord grape wine is perfect for picnics, tailgating and entertaining. It is semi-sweet and quite refreshing when served chilled…like your favorite grape juice with an extra special kick.

Pairings: Cheese and sausage trays, BBQ and picnic fare or simply on its own.

What it really tastes like is fermented grape jam. It’s…awful. No really, it’s like someone took a grape jam packet and added wine strength alcohol to it and that’s really, really disgusting. Sorry Leelanau C., but this one is a giant swing, miss, third strike and end of an inning. BUT! TheMan and I put our heads together and said, “Even though we aren’t going to drink the rest of this wine or any more like this ever in our lives, there must be something that can be done with it.” And thus began our trek to try and find something this wine was good at besides being fermented grape jam. Or being poured down the drain because I think it would excel at that too.

I spent some time Googling some “stuff with wine” recipes and came up with a few to try. First, because it seemed like a good idea and we had cream and a cold ice cream maker, we decided to make wine ice cream. We went with this recipe:


6 large egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweet red wine, such as Moscato Rosa, Sagrantino Passito or Recioto di Valpolicella


In a heatproof bowl, mix the egg yolks. In a saucepan, combine the cream, milk and sugar and bring to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, about 4 minutes. Gradually whisk the hot cream into the eggs yolks; return the mixture to the saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes; do not let the custard boil or it will curdle.

Strain the custard into a bowl. Stir in the red wine. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 1 hour. Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Cover and store in the freezer until serving time.

Which is a pretty standard vanilla ice cream recipe with wine. When we got to the final stages of creaming, TheMan could taste none of the wine though so he added more. Then we got fermented grape jam ice cream which is the worst thing we’ve done to vanilla in a long time. Sorry vanilla and sorry Food and Wine dot Com. I’m sure the wine ice cream recipe would have been much tastier with tasty wine. We then took our concoction to my mumses house where it was proclaimed a travesty of ice cream. We might have forgotten to take the ice cream home with us. It might have been thrown out.

So, strike one for what to do with Leelanau Great Lakes Red. Next up: Cake!

2010: Getting the taste of crap wine out of our mouths and not updating.

2009: LunarGeography and I brought along our crocheting so we cracked out the blankies and listened to the presentation.

2008: Bad wine is bad.

2007: JSFR: Hello Panda Chocolate-Chocolate

2006: Look at how cool the case is with the peek-a-boo cover!

2005: But the fruit and white wines are AWESOME, go get you some.

2004: But of course it is; it is my BUTT!

2003: I wonder how the good wine fairs in ice cream. Hmmmm!

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