The scent wafts past your nose as you bring it to your lips.
It's the essence of Fall; cool crisp mornings followed by the sun slowly warming up the day. The fog slowly caressing the trees as it dissipates back into clear air.
There is the faintest whisper of mustiness, you sense the leaves slowly cascading off the trees; decaying where they land, leaving a faint shadow etched into the stones underneath.
There is a dryness to it, the crisp, slightly bitter skin crunches and gives way to a tart, juicy interior. Tart enough to make your mouth pucker but with just a hint of sweetness to smooth out that first bite and make it pleasant rather than too bitter.
Yet this is not an apple that you hold in your hand, it is a glass of fresh pressed Cider from Lori Skurdahl's Heirloom apple orchard.
I will just state right now that there is no better Cider out there anywhere and I shall tell you why.
Each batch of cider Lori makes has a blend of several Heirloom Cider apple varieties in it and she changes the blend every time she presses depending on what apples are ready,therefore every batch is unique... and darn tasty.
She told me one time how many varieties of cider apples she had (let's just say a lot) and she always seems to be acquiring different ones every time I talk with her.
Aside from using multiple apple varieties for her cider, there is another thing which makes this Cider stand out from the pack.
Often, when Cider is pressed and sold commercially (at least in the USA) it has to be pasteurized and most often that is done by heating it up. There are a couple of things this does to the cider besides killing off unwanted and harmful bacteria:
1. The juice will loose some of the flavor and aroma which is the main reason you are getting it in the first place.
2. It sets the pectin in the juice so that it will remain cloudy, not that much of a problem if you are drinking it just as juice however it is most definitely not a good thing if you plan to make Hard Cider and want it to be clear and golden when you are all done.
There are various processes you can use to get the Hard Cider clear again but you strip out more of the flavor when you do that.
So, what does Lori do differently? Her Cider is pasteurized using Ultra Violet light, no heat involved and therefore, minimal loss of aroma and flavor and no setting of the pectin which makes for an extremely delicious fresh cider to drink and just about perfect for making a good batch of Hard Cider or dare I say it... Apple wine.
For this particular batch, the apples used were:
and Yarlington Mill.
Ohhh, sweet sweet nectar.
Keep up the good work Lori.
I'll be ordering a couple of more gallons very soon