Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro, a sparkling wine experience

Liquid batch after the first dilution
Liquid batch after the first dilution

As a change I’m posting the picture first in order to show the label of this particular wine.  It’s a new name to me but then many are as i’m not a huge red wine fan.  I prefer a light rose or more often a sweet white.  This one, however, was at the request of a local business, Pompieri Pizza of Durham, NC, which offers these wines for your enjoyment with your favorite pizza for a robust culinary experience, or perhaps to take home for a meal either enhanced by its sparkling effevescence or complimented by it.  I however, had much different plans for this lovely bottle of bubbly beverage.  This was destined for the greatness of a lush, rich, luxury hand & body wash.

To begin in working with an alcoholic beverage for a soap, either liquid or solid bar, there’s one particular thing to remember.  Lye doesn’t play nicely with anything containing alcohol of any amount.  Whether it’s 5% or 95%, the first thing you must remember is that it’s safest to use heat to remove the alcohol, as much of it as possible, prior to use in a batch of soap made with lye.  I do know some soapers who do not cook off the alcohol but will allow it to sit out to go flat prior to use, some also will freeze all or part of it for use with lye soap batches.  I’m of the school of safe-rather-than-sorry and allow it to go flat, then cook off the alcohol and used frozen with bar soaps and the chilled portions with liquid soaps.

The wine was placed into a Mason (quart sized, with a ring, but not the disk) jar with cheesecloth over the top and the ring to close it down, keeping anything airborne out while allowing it to breathe and go flat, for three days.  After this was completed, the wine was then heated, low & slow, for several hours, to avoid as much evaporation as possible while still removing the alcohol as much s possible.  It was then returned to the Mason jar, now washed out and sterilized, closed up with a new layering of cheesecloth and ring, and chilled overnight in the fridge. A portion of this wine was also frozen into cubes for use in a solid bar batch at a later date.  The chilled liquid wine was then used in the liquid soap paste and in the dilution phase as well.

This results in a very dark liquid soap as the wine was a deep purplish red about the colour of a fully ripened plum, which seems pretty appropriate as the wine has notes of plum, cherry, and berries in it’s original form.  it’s a sparkling wine, so it’s very bubbly straight out of the bottle, which would make it a fabulous wine for celebrations, parties, or other special occasions.  If any of my readers have had the opportunity to savor a glass of this full-bodied wine, please post a comment to tell us what you thought of it.    The chilled wine was enough to make both a liquid soap (unfragranced) and a small limited edition bar soap batch fragranced with a blend of Champagne & Sparkling Plum.  Tomorrow, I plan to make another small batch of bar soaps with the frozen wine cubes for the Tomato & Basil blend and use more of this blend in a few bottles of the liquid as well.  I plan to have several bottles of each fragrance blend available as soon as the dilution is complete, which should be done in a couple  of days.  Liquid soap is NOT for the impatient soul.  It takes at minimum a week or more for thid to be completely ready for bottling in the method that I use.  Still, it’s completely worth the effort & the wait!  I love making liquid soaps and love using it just as much.  The batches are left unfragranced and only scented as they are bottled up.  This ‘masterbatching’ of liquid soap batches is much more economical as it allows one batch to be scented in a multitude of ways or left unscented as desired.

I also chose to use some fragrances that were requested by the owner of Pompieri, tomato and basil, and these will be blended together into a harmonious mix for a few bottles of the hand & body wash.  The fragrances used in these soaps are for the most part new ones in our collection with the exception of the Basil which we use in our Bugs Me Not.  We used Champagne Kisses blended with Sparkling Plum from and Tomato*, an herby, green, fresh scent that blends lovingly alongside the basil for a herbal garden-fresh blend ideal for use in the kitchen.  I wasn’t exactly that enthusiastic to get a whiff of this fragrance but loved the mellow herbacious tone of it upon trying it out on a tester strip.

A small limited edition of the Sparkling Champagne & Plum bar soaps is now chilling. These two fragrances soaped beautifully!  No acceleration, discolouration, ricing, or anything else we soapers can sometimes suffer through when trying out a new fragrance.  It’s a gem of a scent combination you have to try when you get the chance.  You will love it!

Sparkling Plum Wine Soap Bars (7)


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