Where Wine and Beer Meet: Cider

It’s the middle of harvest and we all have been rather busy with picking grapes and the numerous wine festivals this time of year. All that being said, I never got to write a blog for last week…  

So without further ado: Cider

While I was at Cornell, one lecture was devoted to the topic of apple cider. One point brought up was, “What exactly is cider? Would you call it a wine or would you call it a beer? It doesn’t really fit either category…”

Cider, to me, is where the brewing world and the wine world meet. It is sold like a beer, often with crown caps, carbonation, and generally has the same alcohol level as a beer. From the wine end the apple juice is fermented like any other fruit wine, just with a shorter fermentation since there is less sugar in apples. The line really blurs when one starts to consider carbonation, some cider is flat like most wines others have CO2 like most beers. Legally though, cider is simply fermented apple juice with a final alcohol level below 7%.

Enough of that debate though; let’s get into what makes a good cider. Surprisingly, the answer is sharp (highly acidic) apples. Well, a blend of those and sweet apples. Most of a good cider’s structure comes from the acid that found in the sharp apples. Too few sharp apples and the drink feels watery and flat. Too many sharp apples will produce a cider that will make someone pucker in an instant. The key is finding the right blend of sweet and sharp apples.

Lastly, I’m proud to say that our Artisan Orchard Cider, just released this past weekend, is my first creation as a winemaker! I hope you enjoy it.

-Brian Tomasello 4th Generation Outer Coastal Plain Winemaker Tomasello Winery

 

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