A quiet time of year at the cidery, providing that all important time and opportunity to get better organised – storage shelves repositioned, clear out of stuff that we have been tripping over for the last year and time to take stock on what equipment needs fixing or replacing.
We also managed to get hold of a few more wooden barrels – beautifully crafted coopered oak previously used to hold Spanish red wine. Not sure what we will be putting into them just yet, but we took the opportunity to grab them while they were available.
Oak maturation of the cider adds a very deep and complex set of flavours – we still have two sitting on the top shelf at the cidery which have been quietly mellowing for a number of years – one since 2017 and the other from 2015! The question is – when should we tap them off? It feels like they are too precious to use – but they need to be drunk at some point – but once they are gone they are gone! Which is probably why we need to fill and lay down a few more – to keep the special stuff flowing!
The other highlight of last month was the taste test of 2020 Turning Japanese.
For those unaware, this batch of cider is created from 50% apples and 50% pears, a large element being Japanese Shinsenki pears from a small garden orchard at Horam. We have found that pear based cider and perry (you can only call it perry if the juice contains at least 80% pear – the 20% addition of apple juice helping with the fermentation process) is pretty fickle, both on taste and when they will be ready. For some reason they can take well over a year to finish fermenting and they often taste pretty awful until that magic moment when all comes good – well, 2020 TJ has now come good - so we have added this one to the next order of labels and we should hopefully see this small 200 litre batch go into bottles during April.
You can find the short video recording the taste test via our FB and IG pages – as for all of our ciders our Chief Bottler Nathan loved it!