We produce 5 ciders and occasional one-off single varietal ciders. The 5 ciders: Vintage (Green Label), Methode Traditionelle (Yellow Label), Reserve (Pink and Red Labels), Late Season Blend (Purple Label) and a Still Cider.
Vintage: This cider is a blend of keeved and non-keeved cider, the proportions varying year by year, and is Pétillant Naturel. It is drier than the Reserve but still carries some keeved cider sweetness balancing the tannic structure and acidity.
Reserve: This is a blend of the best keeved cider produced in a single year blended with a small amount of the best non-keeved cider. The keeved cider contributes apple sweetness and the non-keeved cider adds interest and ensures fizz. This Pétillant Naturel cider is a generous expression of classic West Country cider varieties with warmth and a tannic structure.
Special Reserve: A version of Reserve produced in the best years.
Late Season Blend: A mainly keeved Pétillant Naturel cider made from apples harvested late in the season. This will tend to contain Harry Masters Jersey, Chisel Jersey and late harvested Dabinett. It is a deeper and more autumnal expression of Smith Hayne Orchards than the earlier harvested ciders.
Methode Traditionelle: The traditional method adds volume but also refinement in terms of mousse and tannic detail. New yeast driven notes are introduced creating a very different cider to the Pétillant Naturel ciders.
Still: The Still Cider is made using a selection of ciders taken from the best tanks and barrels combined in a neutral oak barrel and allowed to ferment to dryness. It is a pure expression of a classic west country orchard and will age well over a number of years.
KEEVING is a technique used to emphasise the fruity qualities of a cider and produce a slow fermentation that ensures residual natural sweetness without the addition of sugar or other sweetners. It requires the apple pulp to be macerated for 24 hours before pressing and then after pressing, calcium and an enzyme (pectin esterase) are added to the juice producing a natural fining.
THE METHODE TRADIONELLE OR CHAMPAGNE METHOD involves a secondary in-bottle fermentation of dry cider. The dry cider is bottled with a commercial yeast and sugar. After at least 6 months each bottle is riddled to encourage the yeast into the neck of the bottle, then disgorged expelling the yeast. The bottle is topped up with a variable amount of sugar and recorked.
MAKING APPLE JUICE
The apples are hand-picked, then pressed, bottled and pasteurised in our barn at Smith Hayne.