There’s no better occasion for sparkling cider than New Year’s Eve but you may find the cider known as méthode champenoise is a smidge harder to get your hands on than other effervescent variants.
The traditional French Champagne sparkling wine process called méthode champenoise, also known as bottle conditioning cider, is naturally bubbly due to the highly involved and time-consuming process of storing, turning and hand-disgorging the yeast fermented in the bottle.
Lucky for us, there are still cider producers willing to endure this age-old process for the rest of us to revel on special occasions. Here are four ciders to ring in 2018.
Alpenfire Cider | Flame Estate Méthode Champenoise
Part of Alpenfire Cider’s certified organic estate line, Flame is made every other year, or as the fruit allows. This one is fermented for eight weeks with a nine-month stainless steel tank maturation and then bottle conditioned with fresh pressed juice. After being aged for 15 weeks, it’s finished with crab apple-infused brandy for some extra punch.
Mission Trail Cider | Champagne Style
If splurging is the name of the game this year, go for the Champagne Style cider by California’s Mission Trail Cider. At $258 for 12 750-milliliter bottles, this bubbly hard cider is double-fermented and pressed from heirloom apple varietals from the 2014 harvest for a flavor that is semi-sweet apple, and funky on the palate. All of the fruit is handpicked, hand-sorted, and hand-washed by the family-owned cider company.
Eve’s Cidery | 2015 Rustica
When you’re on the market for a méthode champenoise, turn to those who specialize. Based out of Van Etten, New York, Eve’s Cidery’s sparklers focus on the French method to produce the bubbles. For an affordable ($18) semi-sweet, try the 2015 Rustica, best described as “watermelon and coconut creamsicle on the nose, moving into frozen strawberries on the palate.”
Snowdrift Cider Co. | Cidermaker’s Reserve
Year in and year out, we turn to the complex notes of spicy, slight sweet apple and citrus, with hints of earthy toffee that round out the Cidermaker’s Reserve by Snowdrift Cider Co. This naturally bubbly cider goes through months of conditioning in true traditional fashion, in addition to the standard in-bottle fermentation. The East Wenatchee, Washington, cider company recommends pairing Cidermaker’s with a celebratory spread of cave-aged cheeses and rustic breads.