By Erin James
Photo courtesy of Shacksbury Cider
For David Dolgino and Colin Davis, they believe that no apple should be left behind. Founders of Shoreham, Vermont’s Shacksbury Cider, Dolgino and Davis are on a mission from the apple gods to reincarnate the old, forgotten and “lost apple” orchards of scores past, that once thrived as agricultural delicacies in the Northeast. These are the apples that make ciders like those of Thomas Jefferson’s fancy and that Europe chugs gallons of—ugly, gnarled and bitter apples that are found nowhere near the grocery shelves and produce complex, thought-provoking ciders. A limited amount of these heirloom apple varieties are found in North America, so Shacksbury expends its energy in reviving these apples alongside importing apples from England and Spain to produce their intricate line of ciders.
A starter level into more complex, “Old World” cider is Shacksbury’s Farmhouse, one of their year-round vintage ciders comprised of Jonagold, Spartan and a small amount of English bittersweet apples. Slow-fermented with cultured yeast and after spending a short time in barrel, this cider shows aromas of apple fritter, bruised ripe apple, slight notes of yeast and barn floor. The palate has a minor tang of lambic flavor and acid with juicy golden apple, dusty minerality and shapely tannin. Balanced, intriguing and matched with an aged cheddar, this cider is a stepping stone into the rustic side of cider.
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