2016 Thanksgiving Cider House Guide: Options For Everyone At Your Table
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Thanksgiving, who’s ready for it? In the spirit of helping you enjoy this holiday in the best possible form, we’ve got 5 ciders from the Cider House pantheon for your table! Some to start the day, some to front end the meal, some to pair and to finish…
FIRST UP: Greetings and Nibbles
Perry Pear (traditional method) from Eve’s Cidery. 750 mL bottles $19, MAGNUMS $32
MEALTIME: Options for all comers
Still (no bubbles)
Solstice Still from Black Diamond Farm, 750 mL bottles $16
Stone Fence Farm from South Hill Cider, 750 mL bottles $24
Barrel Rye (traditional method) from Good Life Cider, 750 mL bottles $18
Porter’s Perfection/Golden Russet (bottle conditioned) from Redbyrd Orchard Cider, 750 mL bottles $25
DIGESTIF: Relax and Sip
Good Life Pommeau features Myer Farm Distillery custom-distilled apple brandy and 60% fresh juice from Golden Russet and Brown Snout. 375 mL, $25
Black Diamond's Porter’s Pommeau is a single-varietal pommeau focused on the bittersharp Porter’s Perfection. It packs a more spirit-heavy punch with ripe apple notes. 500 mL, $30
Deep Context for Your Cider Story-Telling
Perry Pear ‘15
Some of the best ciders we have made are from pears. Unfortunately, our Perry Pear trees are young, few and fickle. But 2015 was not only a wild apple year, it was an on-year for wild seedling pears. They stood out in the fields and hedgerows in and around Van Etten. Ben Kahn, who also picked wild apples for us in 2015, made his fortune in pears. His luck is that we found that virtually all wild pears make great cider fruit, so there wasn’t the picking, mulling over and going back process that layered the wild apple project. The wild pears were, to a tree, shockingly tannic; those tannins emerging much softened in the cider. Fermentation also seemed to transform the fruit from cool, closed-up packages to brilliant aroma wheels. Another boon for Ben was that some of the wild pear trees were huge. From one unusual tree alone he picked 40 bushels. I wouldn’t have climbed up there, but Beni Kahn looked happy enough swaying around high above the ground. All told, almost all of the pear fruit was wild harvested – around 150 bushels. We took scion wood from four of the standout seedlings and budded them onto rootstocks planted in the spring of 2016 in our new Valley Orchard. This may be the long term legacy of the 2015 fruit year. But for now there is the cider, disgorged in July of 2016.
To purchase for Thanksgiving, we’ve got 2 options…750 mL bottles and magnums. Magnums are fun and celebratory. Bring a magnum of wild harvested perry, and you'll be the life of the party. 1 magnum serves 4 and no one has to get up and open another bottle. The pear is insanely aromatic, but light and delicate. I would definitely choose this as a starter for Thanksgiving. Serve it with appetizers or snacks. Fresh fruit and brie, or some other creamy bloomy rind cheese would be just about perfect. For a light snack pairing, Autumn recommends popcorn.
Solstice Still ‘15
Black Diamond Farm and Cider
Ian and Jackie have been growing apples and making cider at Black Diamond Farm for 25 years now, and Solstice Still Cider is a fond return to their Yankee heritage. Like all BD ciders, Solstice is a complex blend. Two old time New England apples—Golden Russet and Roxbury Russet—dominate this cider with characteristic russet qualities of soft tannins, rich aromatics, and bright acidity. Some traditional English bittersweets—Chisel Jersey, Brown Snout, Porter’s Perfection, and Dabinett—round out the palate providing depth and structure. Every apple and the wild yeasts that helped create this cider live alongside us here on the farm. Ian and Jackie are grateful to have lived long enough to see millions of people rediscover cider and share their passion for this gift from nature! The whole BD crew gives thanks for the abundant harvest and warm autumn weather of 2015 that made this cider possible. As the year winds down and winter approaches, let’s celebrate the amazing diversity of apples that enables cidermakers to create blends that embody two continents and three thousand years of the history shared by apple trees and humanity.
Stone Fence Farm ‘15
South Hill Cider
Stone Fence Farm is a single orchard cider celebrating just the kind of apples and relationships you find in the Finger Lakes. The Stone Fence Farm orchard was planted by Peter Hoover in Trumansburg from 1995-2000. All of the fruit from this orchard (except for a few of the trees that Peter used for other products) was harvested ripe, sweated in a cider shed, and pressed as an orchard blend at South Hill Cider, less than a mile away. Peter chose all of the apple varieties in his orchard with an eye towards hard cider production. Because of extreme weather events all of the trees have synced so that the orchard bears a crop about every other year. Color of a vintage golden gown. Very balanced and expressive. Aromas of wet slate, rich soil, breadcrust, starfruit, lychee, with a mouth-watering finish. Stone Fence Farm pair well with your main dishes, and can help folks pick cider over a still, white wine.
Barrel Rye ‘15
Good Life Cider
Barrel Rye features Golden Russet, Margil, Tremlitt’s Bitter, Yarlington Mill and Dabinett. Golden Russet is a major highlight in this year’s cider pairings, building on the bounty of 2015. Barrel Rye highlights this dual-purpose apple (used for both eating and cider) and makes great use of its fruit-forwardness. We built this cider to stand up to the mixed, savory flavors on the Thanksgiving dinner table using heirloom and bittersweet apples and the smokiness barrel aging and creamy bubbles of traditional method, disgorged on-farm by our family-based crew.
Porter’s Perfection/Golden Russet ‘15
Redbyrd Orchard Cidery
We were very fortunate to have such a plentiful harvest last year in 2015 and to harvest enough fruit from these two exceptional cider apples to make this dual-varietal cider. It highlights Eric Shatt’s all-time favorite apple- Porter’s Perfection. Porter’s Perfection is a late season English bittersharp loaded with tannins and bright acidity, while holding all the classic bittersweet apple characteristics including earthy, herbaceous aromas, dense fruit and incredible texture and mouthfeel. This combines with the opposite side of the cider spectrum when blended with Golden Russet. Golden Russet’s tropical fruitiness, honey comb, viscosity and weight creates a cider of our dreams! All this fruit was organically grown and grown by the Redbyrd family at their farm and from a few trees on a friend’s farm in Hector. Bone dry and bottled conditioned, it is the perfect cider for this celebratory season that we are entering. Enjoy!