I talked about the Kinrowan Special Reserve Pear Cider in my last letter to you but I thought I’d talk about cider in general this time, as you expressed interest in knowing more about it.
Cider is oft times thought of as an English only drink but it really is widespread elsewhere as well. If you’ve been in London recently, you’ve no doubt heard the adverts on radio for a certain French cider that tries to suggest that English cider is but a poor country cousin of the more sophisticated French cider, which is typical of the French, being full of putain de bordel de merde.
The best cider is, in my not very humble opinion, the cider you find here at Kinrowan Estate, which is cider made with apples that are pressed within walking distance of where they are picked. Now that’s proper terrior! Terroir (French, from terre, “land”) is the unique characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place, interacting with the plants and animals themselves, make, say, that cheddar cheese distinct from the cheddar cheese from the next farm. And obviously locally pressed cider really does reflect the terrior.
Great cider, the traditionalists claim, comes from using the proper apples, as it is said there are twelve cider apples which are favoured in the maturation process, but we use every kind of apple, as all apples work. What the cider tastes like depends on the mix of apples you use. So more tart apples naturally make for a tarter cider whereas sweeter apples, the varieties most cooks use for pies and tarts, keep a more full-bodied cider.
It’s a simpler process than making good ale or stout, as selecting, preparing and washing apples, pressing into apple juice and preparing the juice for the start of fermentation into cider are a much more straightforward affair. We are lucky enough to have wild yeasts around in our equipment that make some amazing hard cider.
Our primary difference, that sets us apart from most cider producers, is that we age all our cider at least three years and generally an optimum five years.
We’re headed your way for the holidays, so we’ll bring a few bottles for us to enjoy.