Made from 100% golden russet apples from Iron Root Orchard in Omak, WA. Golden Russet is an heirloom American apple dating back to 1800. A beloved apple, so well-suited for sparkling cider that it was often referred to as the “champagne apple”. A fresh, clean, naturally fermented traditional method cider - the cider to our ciderkin.
Crafting an heirloom cider has been a desire of mine since I began researching organically grown apple varieties in Washington state. Very few growers in Washington focus on heirloom cider varieties since the majority of orchards are planted with popular dessert and fresh eating apples. For our inaugural cider, I was able to purchase exclusively Golden Russet apples, an heirloom American variety that at one point in time was referred to as the “champagne of apples” for its ability to produce sparkling ciders of extremely high quality. Iron Root Orchard was happy to sell some of their Golden Russets to me, and I’m excited to feature fruit grown in such a different climate, expanding our reach into the northernmost part of the state.
Made with a wild fermentation, and a traditional cider method, this is a varietal cider to treat more like a champagne, than a typical american cider. It is complex and savory, perfect for opening up on your rustic french picnic this summer. Or hold onto it for the fall for when the leaves start to turn.
When the apples were harvested at the end of October and brought to the cellar, they remained in the harvest bins outside under tarp for two weeks. In this sweating process, the apples soften up, easing the crushing and pressing process, giving better juice yields. After that, the process for making cider is not much different from winemaking. The apples were milled by hand before pressing, and once pressed, the juice began its natural fermentation pretty quickly, without the need to add any additional yeasts or a pied de cuve. The pressed juice remained in the cold room through primary fermentation and was racked 2 times to help clear up the juice prior to bottling. The Cider was bottled with a small amount of residual sugar in order to create a gentle natural carbonation.
After the apples were pressed for cider the pomace was placed in a stainless fermenter and rehydrated with water. This liquid was soaked overnight before being pressed and then fermented in stainless steel tanks to make the 2021 Ciderkin, a lighter, and lower ABV sibling to this cider.
Iron Root Orchard is a certified organic orchard and nursery situated on a one hundred year old homestead in the foothills of the Okanogan Highlands in north-central Washington. While the bulk of the apples grown there are intended for fresh eating and desserts, they also grow a large number of heirloom cider varieties. Most of the trees in the orchard are not high yield, many are wild uncultivated apple varieties- not even named.