Valverán Sidra de Hielo - Ice Cider from Asturias
The youngest addition to our range is not made from grapes, but it doesn't make us any less proud nonetheless: ice cider from Valverán. A fresh cider with a good balance between sweet and sour, with a soft, bitter finish.
Where does ice cider come from?
The name Valverán comes from the famous Canadian ice ciders, ‘cidre de glace’ from Quebec. A rather rebellious Frenchman is considered the father of this relatively new way of making cider. Christian Barthomeuf grew up in Cantal, was a photographer, technician, goose breeder and winemaker. He emigrated to Canada and started making his own wine in Quebec. Not without success. His wines gained quite a reputation. However, he decided that it wasn't worth the effort. Whatever he did, making classic wines in Quebec turned out to be too expensive and competing with traditional wine countries proved an almost hopeless task.
He switched to making ice wine, and then, in 1989, to ice cider. The climate in Quebec lends itself rather better to growing apples that to growing grapes and to this day he still bottles his own 'cidre de glace'. Meanwhile, he has collected a cabinet full of medals and worldwide recognition for his work.
How Is Ice Cider Made?
First and foremost: apples, lots of apples! To make ice cider you need at least 5 times as many apples as you do for making traditional cider. There are two methods, which are sometimes used interchangeably.
Cryo-concentration: the ripe apples are picked in the autumn and the harvest is stored cold until the winter. The apples are then pressed and the juice extracted kept in cold vats for about six months. The water in the juice freezes and the sugars separate away slowly. This is followed by the slow fermentation of the juice.
Cryo-extraction: the apples are left hanging on the trees until the winter season. Sun, wind and cold dry out the apples completely. The separation of water and juice happens inside the apples themselves, as it were. At a given moment, traditionally after three nights of temperatures between -8 en -15°C, the apples are picked and pressed. The juice is then frozen again, followed by a slow fermentation lasting about eight months. It goes without saying that this is an expensive and hugely weather-dependent activity. It also requires enormous amounts of apples to make a single bottle of cider: between 50 and 100 fruits. And if the season is disappointing: low or no yields.