While cider has been enjoying a renaissance recently here in San Francisco, it is anything but new. As many of you already know, cider has been an American staple, well, since before there was a United States of America. Many attempts were made to grow wine grapes in the New World, but they just wouldn’t take. Ale was dandy, but its low alcohol content meant that it spoiled easily, and the barrier to enter the whiskey-producing market was high. Plus, grain could be used for making bread (essential), whereas apples that were too bitter to eat raw…let’s ferment ’em!
Of course, cider didn’t start here. People have been crushing apples and fermenting the juice for centuries in Europe and each region has developed distinct styles. In Normandy, people used apples and pears as well to make sparkling ciders with varying levels of sweetness. In Northern Spain, producers often age their ciders in barrel over the winter which lends them funkier, dusty notes. InEngland, the characteristic bittersweet and bitter-sharp apples of the land shine in the best examples. Here in the U.S., where we’re not as bound by tradition as many of our European friends, you can see the varied styles that American cider makers produce. From terroir-driven, rustic Farmhouse style to beer-inspired ciders with addition of hops to for a floral, citrusy bite to flavored ciders with addition of complementary ingredients like ginger or elderflower that bring out the complexity of the apples.
Throughout the months of November and December, we’re celebrating all of the different styles of ciders available today – they can stand tall next to any fine sparkling wine on your holiday table. Here are just some examples of the ciders we have in our Markets right now, but keep checking back frequently as we’re going to rotate more ciders throughout the holiday season.
Millstone was founded by two brothers, Kyle and Curt Sherrer, in 2012 in the town of Monkton, Maryland. Their goal is to create ciders that are chemical-free, late-harvest only, barrel-fermented, and aged to express the unique, local flavors of orchard apples grown in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland. The Cherrykriek is made by blending dark cherries with their oak-aged cider. The tart and complex cherry flavor is a perfect complement to funky cheeses or a roast duck.
The Riestra family has been making cider since 1906, started by Robustiano Riestra, who passed down the art of cider making through several generations; Raúl Riestra is the current owner and cider maker of this illustrious estate. This is a classic, natural, dry, unfiltered Spanish cider with fruity aromas and the characteristic tart acidity of Spanish apples. This is great with a Jamon Iberico and Manchego.Shacksbury Farmhouse 2014 | $10.99
For David Dolginow and Colin Davis, they believe that no apple should be left behind. Founders of Shoreham, Vermont’s Shacksbury Cider, Dolginow and Davis are on a mission from the apple gods to reincarnate the old, forgotten and “lost apple” orchards of scores past, that once thrived as agricultural delicacies in the Northeast. This Farmhouse cider is made from Jonagold, Spartan, and small amount of English bittersweet apples. Balanced, intriguing, and matched with an aged cheddar, this cider is a stepping stone into the rustic side of cider.Stocking up on wine for holiday parties, gifts, or family gatherings? Don’t forget, our Holiday Wine Blitz is December 7-13! Save 20% on purchases of 12 bottles or more, mix and match throughout our entire selection. Join us at 18 Reasons for a Preview Tasting on Thursday, December 3, from 6-7pm or 7-8pm and place your pre-order!