Ugly, battered and bruised—Ithaca, New York-based South Hill Cider is not afraid of a little bump on the flesh of its apples. Sourcing from abandoned orchards with now feral trees, along with Finger Lakes orchards growing cider apples, South Hill cidermaker, apple-forager and orchardist Steve Selin recently planted his own estate after a decade of making ciders from neighboring sites. The traditional, orchard-based ciders vary from wild seedling blends to a tropical heirloom offering, and include small-batch releases like the Patina, a blend of English bittersweets aged in oak. Rich and ripe, true to its English influence, unadulterated apple reigns over the aromatics with elegance, bringing that same grace to the smooth, stark dry palate. A flit of funk streaks through with the acid but the gripping tannins water the mouth with wooded apple.
A learned man, Selin’s background flaunts several more titles, including a local luthier (a craftsman who makes or repairs string instruments) and skilled violinist. The intricately detailed and delicately nuanced ciders from Selin’s South Hill make a little more sense knowing that.
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