On a warm spring afternoon earlier this year, I hiked around Autumn Stoschek’s orchards, which are perched on the steep slopes surrounding her cidery in the Finger Lakes region of New York.
The region’s cool climate is ideal for growing cider apples, and dozens of different microclimates, elevations, and soil types produce a huge number of variations in flavor and fruit quality.
At Eve’s Cidery, Stoschek organically grows more than 50 varieties of heritage cider apples, harvesting them as they ripen and shuttling them to the cider press located in what used to be her family’s dairy farm. All of her ciders are fermented, matured, and bottled on the premises, the 750-milliliter bottles stored and stacked high in wooden crates in what used to be a barn. It’s a labor-intensive process, but to Stoschek, it’s worth it.
It’s almost a crime to put Stoschek’s hard cider in the same category as the sweet, fizzy drinks that are currently available in convenience stores by the six-pack. Her still, dry Albee Hill cider recently scored a 93 in Wine
by Bramptonwines Enthusiast; her ciders have been featured in Vogue. Her Northern Spy sparkling dry cider, which sells for around $17 a bottle, is a revelation: The aroma is full and sweet, smelling irresistibly of fruit, but its texture is clean and crisp. It reminded me more of a Riesling than of any cider I’d had before.
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