Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Ice Wine Sparks off Ice Cider

Ice Wine has inspired the creation of Ice Cider in Canada. In Quebec, several producers are making ice cider by fermenting the juice of apples that have been left to freeze on the trees in winter.

The largest, Domaine Pinnacle on the southern slopes of Pinnacle Mountain in the Eastern Townships, was established by Charles Crawford and his wife Susan in 2000. Their ice ciders have had phenomenal growth with half a million bottles produced in 2007.

Their signature beverages include ice cider, a reserve ice cider (a blend of rare varieties), sparkling ice cider and Creme de Pommes, an ice cider cream liqueur.

As in the Wine Routes of the Old World there is even a Cider Route established so that tourists can visit the cider making facilities as well as the orchards.

Kristen and Bruce Jordan make a variety of different fermented ciders at Sea Cider, their farm and ciderhouse in Saanichton, British Columbia, a rural area outside the province's capital city. According to Kristen cider apples are inedible (you'll know that if you have ever tried one – they are mouth puckeringly bitter) because they are too astringent and have a lot of tannin.

Kristen thinks of cider apples in two categories, Old World apples and New World.

"You can make good cider from both kinds, but they each have different styles. If you are talking old world, that would be Hertfordshire, Normandy or Somerset style, and typically the biggest distinguishing feature is their level of tannin."

She adds that in this category of apple it is called bitter sweets and bitter sharps.

"The bitter refers to the level of astringency or tannin which makes the apples inedible," Jordan explains. "That masks the sugar and acidity and the cider then gains interesting structure because the tannin adds to the mouth feel much like a red wine."

On the other hand, the new world apples would produce a very different kind of cider, she says. "The primary characteristic is the acidity. And they have a slightly higher level of alcohol." Very similar to the New World wines then! It's interesting to see this characteristic displayed by a fruit other than the grape.

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