I never though much of hard cider or apple wine. A few of my Dad’s friends made some pretty horrible apple home brews that showed up every year around Thanksgiving. Arriving at the table in a big recycled wine jug they were sampled and put away under the stairs forgotten about by Dad. My sister and I would sneak them out from time to time but the funky apple vinegar taste was even too nasty for two aspiring young booze hounds.
Visiting Frankfurt a few years ago I tried some really great dry apple wines and found it hard to locate any that compared in any way to the dry luscious German varieties. In the past year or so I’ve tried many different kinds with varying levels of sweetness, fruit and alcohol with most tasting like sparkling Mott’s apple juice. A good friend who cannot drink beer due to a gluten allergy has introduced me to some great artisan brands from Northern France. Although pricey they came close to what I fondly remember drinking in crowded beer gardens around harvest time in Germany.
At one time cider was a very popular beverage in the US but due to prohibition it just never made a comeback after the ban on alcohol was lifted. I’ve been trying to find different local producers but have found it hard to locate anything that was as dry in style as their European counterparts. Although I have found a few tasty NY versions the rustic quality I was looking for just wasn’t there.
A few months ago I stumbled upon “The Last Gift of My Daemon Lover” while looking for something to bring to my friend and couldn’t resist buying it. It was the perfect choice for the evening as we where both in the middle of man troubles! We happily drank it drowning our sorrows and wishing I had bought 2 bottles! For an apple based wine it packs a punch at 12 % alcohol so safe to say 1 bottle had us buzzed before we headed out for the evening to forget about our own demons.
Produced by Enlightenment Wines in the Hudson Valley this unfiltered, zero dosage sparkling apple wine is made in the ancestral method with second fermentation in bottle. It’s cloudy, dry, crisp and delicious with only 88 cases currently produced. Uva in Brooklyn and Chamber Street wines currently carry the small stock available for sale. You can also check them out on line at http://www.enlightenmentwines.com/
Scoring another bottle of this recently I headed out to New Amsterdam Public Market to find a nice cheese to start off a dinner I was planning . This market held two Sundays a month till December is a treasure trove of hand crafted wines, cheeses, ice cream, breads and more. Located at the South Street Seaport across from the Fulton Stalls it is a must visit for any foodie. Check out market schedule online at www.newamsterdampublic.org/
After tasting my way around the market I visited Painted Goat Farms booth finding a slightly stinky cider washed cheese. “Fighting Goat” produced near Cooperstown, NY is aged for 3 months in the farms own subterranean cellar made in a semi soft style with a weird pinkish rind. This cheese totally rocked! A bit of nutty, fruity, floral notes and a slight acidic bite on the finish, the perfect find for my apple wine chilling at home. More information is available online at http://www.paintedgoat.com/
Wandering by another booth I discovered Sweet Deliverance jams made in Brooklyn. Interesting combinations of local fruits, herbs, spices and addicting flavors made these jams fly out of the booth with only a few still available that day. Read more about them here www.sweetdeliverancenyc.com/ . I decided on a jar of Strawberry, Orange Blossom and headed home to start dinner.
The apple wine, cheese and jam where a perfect start to a fabulous evening! The wine complemented the goat cheese and the jam really brought all the different flavors together for a completely different but incredible pairing that I’ll try again. It’s great to have so many tasty local things available and support the farmers in the area.