Cider — America's Original Table Wine

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There is a renaissance in American cider, with new growers and producers working hard to bring it back to its former glory, producers who are going the extra mile to make ciders that speak not only of the variety of apple (there are more than 14,000 varieties in the U.S. alone), but of true terroir. We are proud to feature a pair of cider makers who we think is at the vanguard of this industry: Andy Brennan and Polly Giragosian of the Aaron Burr Cidery in Wurtsboro, NY.

Dating back to the first English settlers, cider has been a household beverage in America since the early 1600s. Until colonists asked England to send over apple seeds to cultivate, the only apple trees that grew in New England were crabapples. These early Americans found that the new apple trees thrived in conditions where barley and other grains needed to make beer were not able to grow. At the turn of the 18th century, New England was producing 300,000 gallons of cider a year! Even children were in on this beverage – drinking ciderkin, a low-alcohol drink made from soaking apple pomace in water.

By the early 1900s, cider’s prominence at the dinner table was already in steady decline due in part to westward expansion opening up land better suited to barley production, and to German and Eastern European immigrants’ penchant for beer. This, along with mounting pressure from the Temperance movement, was a death sentence for America’s dedicated cider apple growers who had little to no flexibility to offer other types of products. The last nail in the coffin for these orchards was the Volstead Act of 1919 (Prohibition) which outlawed alcoholic cider production and, at the same time, limited sweet cider production to 200 gallons per year. Growers had no choice but to switch to snacking or cooking apples or, even more sadly, to abandon their orchards completely.

Brennan and Giragosian, the husband-and-wife team behind the Aaron Burr Cidery, purchased the 150 year-old, 100 acre homestead in 2006 with only 10 apple trees growing on the property. But over the past eight years, the couple has planted upwards of 400. Their new orchard is maintained without the use of pesticides and only a small portion of this fruit is destined for cider production. The bulk of the apples used in the Aaron Burr ciders are painstakingly foraged from wild and abandoned orchards, untouched by modern farming techniques, some of which boast trees that are 200 years old! Andy and Polly allow wild yeasts present on the apple skins to carry out all fermentations in a long, slow process for all of their ciders, which are then bottled unfiltered: nothing added, nothing taken away.

These would be perfect additions to your holiday table. The ciders are serious and structured with just the right amount of fruit. Some may even have the potential to be aged for the next 3-5 years. Aaron Burr Ciders are never around for long, so we are thrilled to have them at CSW, and we look forward to more of their ciders in years to come. Vive la pomme! –Tim Gagnon

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Aaron Burr 2013/2014 Mamakating Hollow Homestead Cider 500ml

Bone dry, effervescent, and herbal, with notes of cherry pit, gently tart berry skins, woodsy husks, a touch of damp funk, and sophisticated length and finish. There is tannin and shape to this drink that inspire experimenting with food pairings like game birds and washed rind cheeses. The label reads: "Unsprayed, uncultivated apples foraged from wild and abandoned trees in the Bashakill Valley, New York." Just 96 cases were made. Ariana Rolich

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
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  • no discount
  • $26.99

Aaron Burr 2013/2014 Neversink Highlands Homestead Cider 500ml

Spicier and more fruit-forward than Mamakating, but just as delicate, dry, and long (none of these ciders are "fruity"). Exotic, musky flavors of melon and papaya, with mandarin orange, citrus pith, birch bark, and a sheer sprinkle of baking spice. Angular and excellent with an ample tickle of spritz. Highly recommended for the Thanksgiving table! The label reads: "Unsprayed, uncultivated apples foraged from wild and abandoned trees along the Neversink River, New York." Only 80 cases of this cider were produced. Ariana Rolich

 

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  • white sparkling
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Aaron Burr 2013/2014 Isle au Haut Homestead Cider Sea Apples 500ml

The folks at Aaron Burr Cidery produced a mere 29 cases of this cider following a 3-day foraging expedition for uncultivated apples on the remote, forested island of Isle au Haut, Maine. Dry and vinous with a touch of effervescence, rich minerality, crisp and earthy apple flavors, golden plums, and notes of lemongrass, white tea, and banana leaf. A rare and pleasurable treat! Ariana Rolich

 

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  • white sparkling
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Aaron Burr 2013/2014 Cider with Ginger and Carrot

Cider with carrot and ginger? The recipe for this cider might sound esoteric, but the result is delicious. Aromatically, one first notices the ginger's spicy presence alongside classic, fresh orchard character. Once sipped, a delicious flavor of earthy carrot emerges with a touch of herbs. Like all of the Aaron Burr ciders, the impression is more dry than sweet and more savory than fruit-focused. Perfect for the fall! John Rankin

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  • white sparkling
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  • $28.99

Aaron Burr Appinette Grape-apple Cider 70% NY Apples 30% Grapes

Another fantastic cider from the Aaron Burr Cidery! The Appinette blends together NY apples and a local grape, Traminette (a genetic cross between Gewürztraminer and the French-American hybrid Joannes Seyve). Lively and complex with heady aromas of guava, pineapple, banana, and lemon curd. There is also a very pleasant vinous muskiness. On the palate, it is quite earthy and very dry with a gentle sparkle, making it almost more reminiscent of wine than cider. Salty minerals, delicate fruit, and a vigorous acidity balance it out and make it rather food friendly! Tim Gagnon

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $27.99