At Edgebrook Cider, we have strong views on what we want in our cider and how we want to make it. We are also intent on educating the public about authentic cider and giving them the best possible product and service we can.
We understand that great cider starts with great land and well-cared-for trees. Hawke’s Bay’s Heretaunga Plains has a warm, maritime climate with around 2,200 sunshine hours, high UV, and a wide diurnal temperature variance. The soils are incredibly fertile; our orchards are on a mix of the original Hastings gley soils and recent fluvial soils from the old Ngaruroro River floodplain. The parent material is old sandstone and pH varies from around 5.6 to 6.5. We have a selection of English cider apple cultivars and invest a lot of time into finding which work best on the various soils. We believe that cultivars grown in the right conditions reward us with the best flavour profiles in our cider.
Much of the juice we ferment for our cider is squeezed from apples that are blemished or otherwise unsuitable for grocery shelf sales. We arrange for these apples to be late-harvested before being tumped and pressed. The orchardist gets a return on apples that would otherwise be left to fall on the ground and we get well-developed, flavoursome apples for cidermaking.
We make our ciders by style rather than by variety. We have an affinity for English-style ciders and make our blends in the English eastern counties, western counties and west country styles. Festive uses carefully selected dessert apple varieties to give a light, crisp, refreshing eastern-style cider, and Village and Mayflower use a greater proportion of tannic apples to give a rich, balanced cider in the western-style. Wildling and Orchard use mostly wild-fermented bitter-sweet apples balanced with some sharps for a deep, moody, dry west country cider.
We believe that good ciders require a blend of bitter-sweet, bitter-sharp, sweet and sharp apple varieties in order to be balanced. In saying that, we use the minimum of varieties in varying proportions to achieve our cider styles. Just as throwing every herb and spice you have into a dish causes a chaotic mix of flavours, we think that too many varieties can be the undoing of a blend. We like to allow one or two varieties to lay down the character of the cider, supported by a few others adding acidity or complimentary flavours.
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