These are gastronomy ciders: complex, textural, savory, revitalizing. They are forthright yet stylish. “Forthright” because they’re made from organic orchard and foraged fruit, wild fermented and bottle conditioned, without adjuncts or manipulations. Stoscheck finds apples provocative enough.
“Stylish” because, like any fine craft, they transcend their raw materials to become something else. Yes, they taste like apple or pear, but their flavors are a tapestry of fruit and flower, herb and nut. Their tannic-acid structure forms a backbone for their sinew and flesh. They’re vital, they’re deep, they’re evocative. Tasting them, I imagine landscape, weather, light through trees, the place they come from.
What more could anyone want?
2017 Eve’s Cidery Perry Pear
Pears for the 2017 Perry Pear bottling were foraged from seedling trees at the southern cuff of the Finger Lakes. The juice was inoculated for primary fermentation, and secondary fermentation took place in bottle in the traditional method. The finished perry was hand disgorged and finished with cork.
It is a rich amber color with a persistent, tiny bead that pops in fresh, crackly aromas; I feel like I can smell its astringency. It also has a lightly citrusy perfume, high-toned with a lilt of almond and quince paste, mandarin orange peel and bay leaf. The palate continues this theme, with a core of astringency and acid that blazes out in lemon-honey. Its citrus notes make it a terrific pour with chicken, grilled fish, and medium-aged cheeses.
7% abv | $18 for 750 ml (sample); 300 cases made
2017 Eve’s Cidery Darling Creek Cider
Darling Creek is a blend of cider apples with a small portion of seedling apples, all estate grown. In the 2017 harvest, Eve’s collected about two-thirds bittersweets, a rare preponderance that led to the production of their most tannic Darling Creek to date. Fermentation was with wild yeast in stainless steel followed by secondary bottle fermentation. The cider was hand disgorged and cork finished.
The body is a deep gold color with a warm blush. The pour forms a spumy head that quickly quiets into tiny pearlescence. Its perfume is floral but with a woodsy note, a mix of pine and ginger and sous bois. The palate offers a sublime commingling of pome fruits — yellow, red, and russet — with an astringent catch, all carried on a creamy, fine-grained mousse. It’s off-dry, just shy of 10 grams per liter of sugar, its sweetness balancing the snappy tannins. Pair it with roasted chicken or squashes, creamy baked pasta, or a cheese and charcuterie board.
8% abv | $18 for 750 ml (sample); 300 cases made
2017 Eve’s Cidery Kingston Black Cider
Kingston Black is one of the few apples that can be amicably made into a varietal cider. During the 2017 harvest, Stoscheck macerated the pulp for 24 hours to enhance the aromatics, then fermented the juice with wild cultures in a mix of stainless steel and neutral oak, the latter creating a more oxidative environment to soften the tannins. After primary fermentation, the cider was treated to its second fermentation in bottle, hand disgorged, and finished with cork.
Deep rose gold, the body quiets quickly into an active but minuscule bead. Its aromas are likewise threaded with gold: I get autumn leaves, candied ginger, baked apple, chestnut honey. If glorious sunset were a scent, this would be it. But don’t let these ambrosial aromas fool you. This is a serious cider, earthy and textural, the nut-like astringency and back-palate bite carried on waves of spumy mousse. It’s a toasted walnut at the finish.
A gastronomy cider if ever there was one, good for rich roasts and aged cheeses; the tannins will scrub the palate and refresh it for another bite. Vegans and vegetarians should try dishes studded with nuts and roasted mushrooms. I had it with a steak.
8.5% abv | $18 for 750 ml (sample); 70 cases made