The preferred aperitif in the Dordogne region of France is Walnut Wine. This sweet dark wine is made from green walnuts picked between La Fete de St. Jean (June 24th) and Bastille Day (July 14th). These are immature walnuts that haven’t yet developed hard shells. This wine’s unique flavor is due to the walnut’s smooth green skin and soft interior. The longer the wine ages in the cupboard, the better the flavor - it’s definitely worth the wait!
Here we share the typical recipe for making Vin de Noix, but we’ve also added some of our own suggestions to make your wine extra special.
Remember: green walnuts are normally ONLY available to purchase for a few weeks between the end of June and mid-July (or early December to early January in Australia).
Green walnuts. Photo © Marco Verch CC-BY 2.0
We have done a quick Google search and found the following suppliers in the US, UK and Australia. We have no affiliation with these suppliers, so you may prefer to do your own search e.g. "buy green walnuts USA".
- 40 young quartered green walnuts
- 5 quarts (4.74 liters) dry red wine
- 2 pounds (1 kg) sugar
- 1 quart (1 liter) brandy
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 cloves
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half
- Zest of one small mandarin
Vin de Noix (Walnut wine) Photo ©Marianne Casamance CC-BY SA 3.0
- Put quartered walnuts in a large glass container and add the red wine and sugar.
- If you’re using the optional ingredients, add the nutmeg, clove, vanilla beans, and zest now. Do not add too much spice or it will overpower the flavor of the wine.
- Seal the container completely and store it in a cool dark place for around six weeks.
- Then strain the mixture and add the brandy.
- Pour this delicious elixir into bottles and make sure they are tightly sealed.
- Let the walnut wine rest for at least six months.
- Serve in small aperitif glasses before enjoying a hearty meal.