The latest Disgorged podcast is live, an interview with Erin James (of CiderCraft and SIP Northwest fame), and it was a fascinating discussion about a beverage with a fascinating and complex history. I won't be able to do it justice in a short blog post, or even in a column, but I do think it deserves quite a deal of thought.
For one thing, cider apples and other "apples of intention" as Erin called them, are the only other fruit besides Vitis vinifera (wine grapes) that seem to have the ability to reflect a sense of place (yes, terroir). That alone makes cider worth considering for any real connoisseur, yet I also appreciate the hard-to-explain element that some ciders can smell one way and taste another.
It's a sort of sensory dissonance that I also often appreciate in wine: I had the chance to try a Grosses Gewachs Riesling from the Nahe recently that did the same thing (smelled like dessert wine, but was totally dry), and that never ceases to amaze and intrigue me. Some ciders, especially those made from heritage varietals and utilizing native yeasts, can smell funky, cheesy, and even somewhat off-putting, yet display great depth of flavor and even fresh and sweet apple character. It's super exciting, and interesting.
Indeed, as Erin alluded to during the interview, we are at the very very beginning of a renaissance of cider in America. I eagerly await what comes next!