I’m very excited that after a gazillion experiments and trials to be able to share our 2015 Hard CORE cider! But before we get into the tasting, permit me to share some of the work that has gone into it. Big thanks to John and Aneta for their brilliant work and being the backbone of the project!
We worked out pretty quickly that the basket press had to make a guest appearance, hugely labour intensive but gives the results we are looking for. Out of the 5 different types of apples that have gone into the blend, 4 went through the basket press. Why you ask, because it allows more extraction out of the skins than we get out of our belt press. What this means is that it adds to the “mouth feel” (how the cider feels in your mouth). I wanted that hint of tannin grip (when your tongue isn’t as “slippery” against the roof of your mouth) as it adds complexity. In short, traditional equipment for a traditional cider!
The basket pressing process also allows much more air to get to the juice which gives that yellow tinge to the cider. To further assist the colour development and flavour complexity, some of the cider was fermented in French oak barrels, not to give an oak flavour and aroma, but makes the cider subtlety more flavour rich. And because I’m a complete nutter, there had to a component that was fermented on full solids. Sorry about the techo talk, it means that the juice wasn’t nice and clean before it was fermented. The reason for using this old school technique is that it adds further complexity to the cider, though a little too much in the blend and it can dominate all the flavours! To be direct, a little is nice, too much can be repulsive!
All this aside, the Hard CORE had to be really drinkable but provide for some depth of character for those who went looking for it. The best is yet to come though! Because of the way we crafted the Hard Core, it will age beautifully for up to 3 years. The colour will become rich yellow, the aromatics (smells) will intensify and become nuttier (think freshly crushed cashews and peanuts). The flavours are hiding a little at the moment but they will work out that the game of Hide and Seek is over and really front up by summer.
We hope you enjoy the Hard CORE as much as we enjoyed crafting it for you!