There’s a bit of a Cider and Perry revolution going on the West Country. We went to Wilkins cider farm this weekend. Tasted straight from the vat it’s fresh, clean and completely delicious. Unfortunately within a day of bringing it home it oxidises and starts refermenting. It’s not undrinkable but certainly not nearly as good as when freshly drawn. That’s because it’s natural and alive and not a heavily processed product.
It is often the same when you taste bulk wine – it’s full of flavour but if you bottled it unchanged you run risks of the wine having tartrate cristals, being cloudy or even exploding. This made me think about the debate raging (do wine bloggers have the energy to rage?) about “natural” wine. We have all heard about wine not travelling and drunk something great on holiday that is dull and lifeless when you get home – a bit like me. This must be to do with surroundings but also, when somebody knows that their produce whether it’s fruit, vegetables or wine is going to be consumed immediately and locally, they don’t have to pasturise, add sulphur, cold stabilise or use any other preserving method. With city life you are always going to have to accept compromises.
There are now many people including ourselves aspiring to bottling really great cider that has flavours unique to the region where it’s produced. So far, we haven’t used any preservatives but frankly, that’s only because we’ve been lucky – we have cider in barrels that were fermented with wild yeasts but, I don’t dare open them. I wouldn’t be surprised if at least one of them was spoiled. That’s the risk you take.
What am I saying? Natural products are about where you consume them. They are always going to be the exception if you live in a city.