In Italy it is perhaps not too much considered. But a startup takes care of its distribution throughout the country
It is very enjoyable, fresh and intriguing. It has the same alcohol content as beer, but is gluten free, and compared to wine it has a lower presence of sulphites and sugars. Yet in Italy it has never been considered that much. We are talking about cider, a fermented one, exactly like Bacchus’ nectar. In place of grapes, the protagonist here is the apple, much more rarely also the pear. Its origin in France and Normandy dates back to the Middle Ages, although the first news comes from Egypt, before the year zero. We at So Wine So Food have decided to talk about it because it really deserves, starting with the most used apples and what they give: cooking apples give acidity, dessert apples give aroma and sweetness, cider apples are for bring the characteristic aroma and bitterness of their tannins.
By mixing the different varieties, different flavors and aromas are obtained. So we embarked on a virtual trip to Europe, referring to those places of excellence in apple cultivation and the resulting production. In the choice we had the help of Cesare Marescotti, a young entrepreneur who together with Cesare Giovanetti and their respective fathers, created a startup in 2016, Italianorchards srls, to import and distribute cider throughout Italy, founding the Sidro & Cider brand. not a simple e-commerce for sale, but a name under which to create culture on the web with the site www.sidroandcider.it and in the area with fairs and events. L’Authentique – We are located in France on the border between Normandy and Brittany, in the Val de Rance winery. It all began in 1953, when 12 apple growers decided to share the means of production and distribution. So they launched the “Les Celliers Associés” cooperative in Pleudihen-sur-Rance in the Côtesd’Armor. Today there are 400 producers. They create a line, with many flavors, because cider can also be flavored. There is sweet, brut, with pears, but also with lemon and ginger, with berries, with raspberry. The Authentique Doux is a delight on the nose thanks to the strong notes of sweet and sour cider apples of the Bedan and Judor varieties, followed by caramel aromas and delicate honey tones that blend on the palate. It is very light.
It goes very well with tarts, Thai food, grilled meat. 33 cl bottle, ABV 2%, 3.60 euros. Maley – We go down to the Aosta Valley in Maley, one of the ancient names of Mont Blanc. Here the famous winemaker Gianluca Telloli, realizing that the climate was not adequate for the vineyards, returns to propose this traditional drink that for centuries has been present on the tables in many villages. Become one of the world’s leading apple cider experts by obtaining two golds in 2019, one at Cider World and the other at Sigsa, confirming gold again at Cider World 2021. Among the various labels, proposes Maley du Saint Bernard, a cider of sweet apples, fruit of the assembly of Ravantze and Reinetta Valle d’Aosta apples and Chamoniarde Maude and Croison de Boussy apples from the Chamonix Valley.
The binder is the Petit Jaune apple, produced not far from the ancient Abbey of Claiveaux. It has a golden color, gives sensations of ripe apple, in the mouth it is characterized by nice acidity and a persuasive hint of pear. Excellent with pumpkin and chestnut dishes, but also at the end of a meal with fruit-based desserts. 75 cl bottle, ABV 3%, 13 euros. Hoila – We move to South Tyrol with Hoila, which in addition to being the name of the greeting in the local dialect, is also that of the cider that the two brothers Philipp and Stefan Zingerle have been producing since 2014 with their friend Maximilian Alber. After years of hard work, countless trials and tests, they have created their plants in Cortina, from where every year 200/300 thousand bottles come out, each of which consists of 3 apples.
The recipe is the result of research work done by experts from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Basically Hoila is the combination of the best British manufacturing traditions with the authenticity and craftsmanship of the Alps, in an absolute devotion to quality. Awarded with the Pomme d’Or for the “Best Product 2015” in the still and sparkling apple cider and apple prosecco category, it is light yellow in color and has an intense aroma. The flavor starts off moderately sweet with low acidity. On the medium palate red apples, a light note of apple juice, honey with a touch of bitterness. In addition, a vinous note and a persistent aftertaste of caramel with a slight astringency. 28 cl bottle, ABV 5.5%, 3.20 euros. Aspall – We fly to London, because in the county of Suffolk, located further north, there is the Aspall Cyder, one of the oldest cider houses, founded by Clement Chevallier, who has continued to produce apple cider since 1728.
Here they only make one harvest per year, I am now on the 293rd. It is a winery that has almost 300 years of history and experience. The cider is called Imperial in honor of the unforgettable grandfather JB Chevallier who won the award at the Imperial Fruit Show in 1921. They use table apples, which is an anomaly in England. But they started from there to do it, from what was considered a bit like the garden of London. It is a very strong cider because they use a blend with the addition of muscovado sugar, a type of brown sugar with a dark color, unrefined, to which a percentage of molasses is added. It has a very special flavor, more like wine.
It goes well with game, lamb casseroles, pheasant and strong cheeses. 50 cl bottle, ABV 8.2%, 4.95 euros. Tempted – Let’s take a trip to Northern Ireland, just outside Lisburn, to a fairly young cider house, founded by Davy Uprichard, an accountant, in 2009. Davy made his first apple cider in 2010, but already two years later he has won the Gold Award in the Irish national cider category. It has since won at least one national award every year. Mainly used are apples from County Armagh: Bramleys, classified as PGI by the EU for their clean, unique and sharp taste, and Uprichards, a special quality of cider apples from County Tipperary.
Among the various labels, Elderflower is a medium dry, very light and fruity cider with distinctive tones of elderflower, with a rosy gold color. 50 cl bottle, ABV 4%, 4.80 euros. Trabanco – Going to Asturias there is Trabanco, a large family-run winery, one of the oldest in Spain. They have a particular characteristic because they only and exclusively use cider apples.
They make sour ciders with acetic hints, perfect for palates already accustomed to tasting. They recommend pouring the drink from above, that is, placing the bottle above your head to drop it into the glass held at knee height. Method used to volatilize the acetic parts, exactly as it is used in England for some cocktails.
The bottles are quite unique, like champagne. Poma Aurea, a natural brut in which only Regona and Raxa are used, two varieties of Asturian apples that ferment in chestnut barrels, is one example. From the first sip you can notice aromas of orchard flowers and chamomile which end in figs and raisins. In the mouth the taste flows evenly, leaving a very harmonious and fairly dry memory with notes of wood. Ideal for rice, seafood or fish menus. 75 cl bottle, ABV 6%, 12.60 euros.