Fall 2016 Pressing
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OUr Cidermaking Philosophy
Excellent fruit is the most essential element of great cider. Upstate New York has had apple orchards for hundreds of years and the glacial soils and temperate climate is well-suited to growing apples with great flavor. The cool nights, especially in the autumn, allow the apples to ripen slowly and to keep the great flavors that they developed throughout the growing season. Notable American cider apple varieties originating in Upstate NY include Golden Russet and Northern Spy.
We spend many enjoyable hours driving the backroads of Upstate New York to find orchards with the best fruit available. While we do not have orchards of mature bittersweet cider apples, or three hundred year old perry pears, we do work with orchards located between the Fingerlakes and Lake Ontario with excellent cider apples. These include orchards of Rhode Island Greening that haven’t been harvested in nearly 20 years, as well as Northern Spy and Ida Red so mature that the understory is a forest of grasses and wildflowers. Farmstand orchards all over New York have been pressing this fruit for cider for generations and have kept these heirloom varieties alive and well. This fruit has character and elegance that is more than tangible in the cider - it is intensified.
All of our cider is pressed on a rack and cloth press that has been in use for nearly 100 years. It is powered by a tractor and is being run by the fourth generation of the Gansz family to press at this same location. The video above shows it in action.
Phonograph cider comes from a traditional winemaking approach with some contemporary cidermaking techniques woven in. The fruit is pressed fresh in the fall at peak ripeness and fermented in the Fingerlakes town of Romulus during the cool autumn and winter. The dry ciders are then immediately fermented and the Medium ciders undergo an ice-cider technique by freezing some of the unfermented juice before primary fermentation to produce a finished cider that is balanced both in acidity and residual apple sugar. No sugar is added. The first fermentation is stopped with cold temperatures and filtering and a second fermentation then produces sparkling ciders with exceptional clarity and expression.
Our two ciders currently in production are Greening, a blend with Rhode Island Greening apples from an abandoned orchard and Baccata, a blend with Malus Baccata Crabapples and ripe dessert apples such as Fuji, McIntosh and Northern Spy.
Phonograph Cider is available by the bottle and on draft in several locations from Buffalo to Brooklyn.