By Erin James
Rivercider is an archetype for the family-owned-and-operated program. The Morton-Struck family has been running its orchard and farm in Hood River, Oregon since 1886 and now Jordan Struck, the fifth generation to maintain Riverside Farms, makes cider from the land he grew up on. (Struck and his wife, Samantha, welcomed Generation No. 6 to the world in July!) As the cidermaker and family name on the estate, Struck wears many hats and takes part in everything from tending the budding trees to harvesting, pressing, fermenting and bottling the apples. Since launching last fall, Rivercider has kept production modest and focused, having only released two ciders thus far, the blackberry-infused Crazy Crow and the barrel-aged Screech Owl.
With exclusive access to heirloom Newtown Pippins from their 130-year-old orchard, the Rivercider Screech Owl ferments with dry wine yeast in European-made tanks for 30-40 days and the second bout at fermentation takes place in white oak barrels for the next six (or more) months. To finish it off, once in bottle local honey is dropped in to fortify the alcohol content and add some extra spritz and floral aromas like lavender, white flowers and honeycomb. Lemon, vanilla butter and wet gravel also push through on the bouquet, with the palate following in suit, showing flavors of citrus, vanilla, creamy apple butter and mineral-rich earth.
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