Introducing Cidre 2020

From John, July 9th, 2021

Julian Paul & Trevor Baird

One of the small benefits of the pandemic for our little family at Cameron Winery was a prolonged visit from our son, Julian, and his girlfriend, Leila from the Bay Area. Julian is a cider aficianado, so while he was here, decided that 2020 would be an excellent year to embark on a new fermentation endeavor: making traditional cider from Alan Foster’s legendary White Oak cider orchard. You can read about this stellar grower and the origin of both White Oak Orchard and Vineyard in my previous rant. Suffice it to say, Alan is the real McCoy and has the orchard to back it up. We just needed to figure out how to make the juice.

Inspired by ciders from Asturias, Switzerland and France, Julian selected a number of predominantly sharp and some bitter apple varieties. Varieties include some classics (and very fancifully named): Cap of Liberty, Dabinett, Judeline, Kingston Black and Yarlington Mill.

Cidre al fresco

With some expert help from our friend and local apple grower, Trevor Baird, Julian crushed and pressed the approximately ½ ton of fruit, let the juice settle for a couple of days and then inoculated with a fabulous wine yeast that we have kept on an agar slant for 30 years.It took the ferment approximately 8 weeks to complete the initial fermentation and then itsettled for another 8 weeks, which took us to February. At that point the cider was bottledwith a dosage of sugar to allow it to ferment in the bottle to 2 bar (which is around ½ the pressure for Champagne). Much time was given for the secondary fermentation to complete and then the bottles riddled to move the yeast sediment into the cap. By late May it was ready for disgorging.

After a short bit of aging the cider is now ready for release. You’ll find it labeled with Julian’s sketch of Alan’s somewhat famous and always classic Ford pickup truck. The result is a dry but not overly sharp beverage with a round fruity body that dances on your tongue with apple tannins and a liesy finish.  The nose is filled with aromas of apple blossom and roses. Pair it with salty cheeses, charcuterie and almonds or just enjoy it at your next summer cookout.



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