Any given harvest at Eastman’s Forgotten Ciders in Wheeler, Michigan, is a rare one. The small, family-operated cidery exclusively produces its ciders from the apples on its estate orchard, Eastman’s Antique Apples, which plays host to more than 1,200 varieties of rare, elusive and heritage apples. Hailing from Russia, Turkey, Germany, France and England, many of the apples have found a new home in this orchard, and hardly anywhere else.
The Rare Harvest is a spotlight on the Cox Orange Pippin and the offspring of the English variety, including Kidd’s Orange Red, Suntan, Laxton’s Fortune, Cherry Cox, Allington Pippin and the Holstein seedling. The “rarity” is this vast selection of kindred apples on a singular orchard, something Eastman specializes in for the majority of its bottlings. Bone-dry and sharp, the soft golden apple, citrus zest and earth tones are ubiquitous, plump and generous in texture, with a stroke of acid and simple tannin in the finish.