I had heard of Basque Ciders (or Sidra) but had not tried one until Orgle came home with one from a recent trip south of the border.
As I am barely an expert (I define myself actually as a cider appreciator) on North American, French and English ciders, I had to do my homework on what defines a Basque Cider. I read articles and the significant article on Wikipedia.
I started explaining the process, the history and the results. And open re-reading this post, realized I still had no idea what I was talking about.
So I turn to a good post from a few years back.
Rustic, musty and tart, Spanish cider (or sidra) is one of the great treasures of the cider world. Sidra production in the España Verde region of Spain began in the late eleventh century when the region’s climate was unfavorable for grape cultivation. Farmers planted apple orchards instead of grapes and began producing their own cider. Over time, two main production regions—Asturias and the Basque region—began to develop strong cider traditions and defined what we now consider Spanish cider.
What makes Spanish cider different from the stuff made in America, England and France? Sidras tend to have a dominant wild yeast character and a dry, tannic finish. These ciders are fermented naturally, without any added sugars or sweeteners, and are usually still, not sparkling. Both Asturian and Basque ciders exhibit acidic, complex, and musty flavors perfect for fans of traditional Belgian Lambics.
When served outside of a Spanish sidreria or sagardotegi (cider house), Spanish cider is served from a standard 750ml bottle. Instead of opening the bottle and letting it “breathe,” Spain has a custom known as “throwing the cider.” A server pours the cider from a height of approximately one meter to aerate and enhance the aroma and flavor of the cider.
(I encourage you to read the rest of the post as well.)
We ended up with the 750mL bottle of Sarasola Sagardoa.
Orgle, the very practical man that he is, read the label and told me he had to pour it a metre into the glass.
Sure enough, that took the still cider and gave it a bit of natural carbonation.
I can’t say I was impressed with my first sip. There was something, uh, funky about it.
I couldn’t put my finger on what the weirdness was. But I guess I got used to it.
It had a likeable sourness and still held some of the apples in both flavour and smell.
It was… different.
Guess I will have to find another and give it a go.