Forêt Noire 2022
Why the french name? Because this cider is a franco-german hybrid, incorporating french apple varieties and production methods into our very regionally focused style.
The origin story is a bit involved (see below); but suffice to say that the result is a wonderful blend of cider and cidre: elegant bitter notes and light residual sweetness of a cidre, balanced with the fresh acidity of german cider apples and the funky flavors of a Schwarzwald wild ferment. Truly a case of the sum being greater than the parts!
Label art: Theo Müller, Moosloch in Winter, oil on canvas, 1980
France and Frankonia
It all began when we made the acquaintance of Andrea Vogel of Franken-Sider and her unique collection of french cider apple cultivars – a rarity in Germany. In 2022 we then had the opportunity to harvest 600 kg of these apples: storied varieties such as Bedan, Marie Menard, Kermerrien or Frequin Rouge. We did not hesitate to expand our self-imposed regional focus – the opportunity of working with this fruit was too good to pass up.
Uncertain of what exactly we would turn this into, we started by fermenting the juice to dry, using a white wine yeast.
France and the Black Forest
Independently, we had embarked on another experiment in 2022: applying the technique of multiple cold rackings to slow and stop fermentation, commonly practised in northern France. This preserves residual sweetness, without impacting the flavor, as is often the case when pasteurizing or sterile filtering. It is a labor intensive process, at the mercy of prevailing ambient temperatures, and results are not guaranteed. Luckily conditions were favorable that year.
Bringing it all Together
Only when blending the 2022 vintages did we realize that these two very disparate products were an ideal combination. In the blend we have everything that makes each of these styles great; and what is lacking in one is made up for by the other.
This fortuitous confluence of events is unlikely to repeat itself anytime soon. The 2023 harvest at Franken-Sider was dismal; and autumn temperatures were too high to allow for successful cold racking. But the stars will align again someday. Meanwhile, enjoy Forêt Noire 2022!
|Sparkling cider, gentle bubbles
|Wild and cultured yeasts, cold racked, bottle conditioned, pétillant naturel
|0,75L champagne bottle
|Bit of farmyard on the nose, in a very refined way.
Bitter orange peel, baked apple, prune, hint of marzipan; reminiscent of peated whiskey.