If you are an avid wine lover like me, then cider maybe something that might not be on your radar. When I was asked to participate in a tasting of Eden Specialty Cider with owner Eleanor Léger I was intrigued. I was surprised to find that ciders can be very similar in style to wines. You can find them in sparkling, still, dry, sweet, and even rosé. If you are new to ciders Eden Specialty Ciders are for you. If you are already a cider lover, then you will be drawn to the complexity and quality of Eden Specialty Ciders.
So what exactly is cider?? And why Eden Specialty Ciders?
I assumed that since I was not a beer drinker I would not appreciate cider, and I could not have been more wrong. Cider is similar to wine in many ways. Both cider and wine are made from fruit, wine is made from fermented grapes and cider is made from fermented apples. With Eden Specialty Ciders they are focused on showcasing amazing heirloom and tannic apples. They make cider like wine. Like grapes used in winemaking, the apples grown for cider are not found in grocery stores.
Eden Specialty Ciders reflect the cold winter climate and apple heritage of Northern New England. They make ciders that are unique and innovative. They work with traditional New England heirloom varieties, local seedling varieties, and Old-World varieties, including bittersweet cider varieties that originated in France and England. They press once per year after harvest. They use the natural winter cold at their farm to concentrate the flavors and sugars of the apples before fermentation. The highest concentrated juice is used to make the famed Eden Ice Ciders. It takes over 8 lbs. of apples to make one 375ml bottle of ice cider! Eden never uses sugar, colorings, acids, or industrial flavorings in their ciders. These are top quality ciders that feature top quality apple varieties.
Five Questions to Ask About Cider
Having the opportunity to taste and discuss ciders with owner Eleanor Léger, she guided us through five questions to ask for when buying cider.
- What are the varieties of apples used to make the cider? Be sure to ask what varieties of apple are used to make the Cider. In the case of Eden, they try to put the varieties right on the label. Some of the apples are strange-sounding names, ones that you would not find in a grocery store.
2. Where and how were the apples grown? At Eden all of their apples are grown on their orchard or at one of four other partners. Three of them are in Vermont and one in New Hampshire. Their apples are sustainably grown and are Eco-Apple Certified.
3. When were they harvested? This is basically a vintage question. Ciders are made like wine and are made once per year at harvest. Regulations prevent the industry from putting a vintage date on our labels, but there are many ways to talk about this topic.
4. How long from harvest to pressing and from pressing to packaging? These are the questions that distinguish a modern cider from a Heritage cider. In Modern Ciders, the apples might be pressed 11 months after harvest from cold storage, and then pressing to packaging is 3 – 5 weeks. With Heritage Ciders the fruit is pressed very close to harvest, and the fermentation and aging process can take many months. Eden’s Champagne method ciders take 18 months or more.
5. Is it is fizzy or sweet, how did it get that way? For the fizz, Eden uses a number of different techniques. Full on champagne method is used where every bottle is hand disgorged, bottle conditioned, pet nat, and force carbonated.
Sparkling Cider – Eden’s Naturally Sparkling Heritage Cider ‘Brut Nature’ 2016 and Naturally Sparkling Heritage Cider ‘Extra Sec’ 2016
If you like Champagne you are going to love Eden’s Naturally Sparkling Heritage Cider ‘Brut Nature’ 2016 and Naturally Sparkling Heritage Cider ‘Extra Sec’ 2016 Eden Brut Nature (super dry) and Extra Sec (dry) sparklers are fermented like champagne to encourage the delicate liveliness of a traditional sparkling wine to develop in the bottle.
Eden Imperial 11º Rosé
If you love rosé Champagne you will love Eden’s Imperial 11º Rosé. The Imperial 11° Rosé cider has the body, alcohol level, and juiciness of a delicious drier rosé with the delicate sparkle of a Champagne. The red of their rosé is derived from co-fermentation with natural red currant: They never add sugar, artificial coloring or other flavor adjuncts.
Eden Cellar Series #1 Cinderella’s Slipper Dry Still Cider
If you love white wines you will love Eden Cellar Series #1 Cinderella’s Slipper Dry Still Cider. To create this estate-grown natural cider they fresh-press twenty varieties of freshly harvested apples from their own Eden Orchard. They fermented the fragrant juice with ambient yeast, and left it on its lees for one year, with no sulphur added. The result is clean, bone dry and tannic: A cider with great acidity and notes of honeycomb, white flowers, bittersweet apple, and pear.
Eden Vermont Ice Cider Heirloom Blend
If you love ice wines you will love Eden Vermont Ice Cider Heirloom Blend. Ice Cider brings the essence of pure apple to a sophisticated dessert cider. Vermont’s natural winter cold is used to concentrate cider to the optimum balance of sweetness and acidity. Their unique blend of traditional and heirloom apples produces a complex, delicious flavor that complements food yet may be savored on its own. It takes over 8 lbs. of apples to make just one beautiful bottle. Eden’s Iced Cider is one of the most sought after in the country.