Spirits: At a Recent Tasting, A Local Cider Ruled!
In England, the word “cider” (and, in France, “cidre”) describes a carbonated beverage containing alcohol—as little as 3% in France, as much as 8.5% in England (wine is usually between 11% and 14%). On this side of the Atlantic, a fermented cider is referred to as “hard cider,” to distinguish it from the unfermented, non-alcholic beverage children enjoy. But who wants anything that’s “hard”? Perhaps to skirt this subtle marketing concern, Hudson-Chatham Winery has given its cider a French name, Pomme Bullé—literally, apple bubble.
“Usually in France, it’s an aperitif,” says Dominique DeVito, who, with her husband Carlo, owns and operates Hudson-Chatham Winery. “They drink it when they come in from working in the fields. In both France and England, it’s a working man’s drink—meant to be refreshing, like a beer, just not as filling.”
Because their winery does not have the capacity to bottle carbonated beverages, the DeVitos have their Pomme Bullé made for them from Northern Spy apples and bottled to their specifications at Warwick Valley Winery, an hour south of here in the lower Hudson Valley.
At a recent tasting of three ciders at Little Gates & Company, wine merchants in Millerton, participants compared Pomme Bullé to two other ciders, an apple and a pear, both from a French producer. Hudson-Chatham Winery’s was the favorite, hands down. “That’s what they told me, anyhow,” says Dominique.
“We have always offered cider,” she continues. “It’s been part of our selection from the beginning. We wanted it because we love it ourselves, and because the Hudson Valley has so many apple growers.”
Like ordinary apple cider, Pomme Bullé tastes autumnal but is much less sweet. “There’s no question, it’s more popular at this time of year,” says Dominique. “It compliments fall foods— stews with root vegetables—and seasonal desserts, especially apple pie.” It also is an ideal foil for the savory-with-a-touch-of-sweet traditional Thanksgiving menu.
1900 Route 66
Ghent, NY 518.392.WINE (9463)