Written by Eric Shatt
Redbyrd Orchard Cider owner, cider-maker and orchardist
The last two tanks of our 2017 cider are finishing up their fermentation as we speak. What an awesome year it was for us at Redbyrd!!!!!
We harvested a record crop from our orchards and 80% of our fruit this year came from our trees and small local orchards in Schuyler and Tompkins county managed by us and people we love!!!!…..Treegate Farm, Newell Farm, Hammerstone Orchard, Sweet Land Farm. We love this fruit!!, truly a difference from a cider perspective in organic management and variety selection, to us this makes all the difference in the world with higher levels of concentration, complexity and soul in the fruit, and cider.
The ciders from 17’ are showing great!!! Most of our blends this year contained higher quantities of bittersweet and aromatic heirloom varieties which are tasting really good in their early stages with plenty of body, vibrant fruit, and fairly angular, austere rich strong tannins, especially in the Kingston black, Dabinett, Harry Master Jersey realm of fruit. The flavor and attributes of these tannic varieties were not diluted from excessive rain and heavy crop this season as anticipated.
In fact in some ways we will need to age and soften/integrate cider heavy in these varieties before they can be released. The flip side is that these ciders should have strong aging potential and this is a world we are diving into more and more each year as we try to hold back ciders for future rereleases. Rounding out our season…Our final pressing of the year which was mostly Goldrush was spectacular with high brix, and that rich golden viscous juice that we are becoming more familiar with and loving more and more each season.
These tanks highlighting their bright fruit will likely become a very important blending component in most of our ciders. It’s great to have our tanks full again, and to have the scarily lean harvest of last year behind us, we made it through!!! Now one of the big questions right now is…… “Is this another two-year harvest?”, or will we have fruit again next year? Will we have to hold back our stash to last for two seasons, or can we freely move this vintage out the door!! We are so very looking forward to bottling and sharing this harvest with you!!!….stay tuned!!