• The Woodshed Series

    very small bottlings of unusual apple cultivars and wild varieties

    The Woodshed Series ciders are explorations and practice in pairings of unusual cultivars and specific wild varieties. Apples only. It is my intent to share the results to further our collective understanding and appreciation for this infinitely diverse fruit we know as the apple. This is less about the cider and more about the actual apple and what it brings to the cider.

     

    ‘Woodshedding’ is jazz lingo for practicing without distraction. By sequestering oneself in the woodshed, the fundamentals can be mastered, discoveries can be made and unknown variables demystified.

    Update 12/6/2018

    For now, the Woodshed Series ciders will only be available at special events/tastings and occasionally local stores in The Mad River Valley, VT. Eventually if there seems to be demand, I may set up online sales.

  • Batch

    The first number is the year the fruit was grown and harvested. The letter is the actual batch or blend.

    Example: 17A = fruit from 2017, A is the first batch/blend of the series from that year.

    * an asterisk indicates a wild (seedling) apple I have named

    AOI = Apple of Interest, also a wild seedling, just one with no name yet

    17A 

    85% Striped Russet*

    15% AOI crab*

     

    2+ cases (500ml)

    Fermented on a neutral yeast strain (DV10). Why? Well I'm all about wild yeast and microflora and whole systems, yes, but sometimes with these wild apples I like to blast them out with a neutral yeast strain that does not impart any added fermentation-based complexities. While many argue that the results are one dimensional, it is a useful tool in evaluating what the underlying fruit is capable of producing. In this case I was shocked to discover some of the most intense fruit aroma I have encountered in any fermentation. DV10 is not known for producing aromas, in fact, most of these bayanus yeast strains can actually strip aroma. This batch was so aromatic, that even after cleanup I could still smell this amazing floral aroma on the racking cane. The aroma does seem to be fading after some time in bottle, but some other complexities in the flavor seem to be emerging. If I were bottling for commercial viability, this would not necessarily be a winning blend. But nonetheless, I wanted to share the results of this single carboy. Striped Russet could have a place in a cider orchard as a contributor of aromas in young ciders.

     

    Striped Russet is completely scab resistant, leans biennial but sets very large, easily harvested crops on the on year. I have been watching it since 2013 and have already grafted some of this apple. The other AOI in this blend is a small high flavor crab. I am unclear on its impact in this blend. Both these trees bloomed in 2018, but had no crop due to other challenges of the growing season.

    17B

    50% Perrys Pickle*

    30% Wolf River

    20% Kerr Crab

     

    6 cases (500ml)

    Two carboys- one on neutral bayanus yeast strain, the other wild. However, there is not much "wild" profile in this cider. The tannic structure comes mostly from Perry's Pickle and a little from Kerr Crab. Perry's Pickle (named after a resident charismatic rooster, Perry) is a wild seedling growing in the Mountain Valley Farm orchard. It leans biennial (unthined) and shows good scab resistance. It's only a moderate producer in marginal soils with low PH, but does bring a unique flavor, appropriate acidity and moderate tannins. It's currently one I am watching and may even make the graft/propagation list.