KEEVED, BOTTLE CONDITIONED CIDER
We make 2000 bottles of whole juice sparkling cider each year using the traditional method of keeving. The keeving and bottle conditioning processes produce a naturally sweet sparkling cider, delicious on its own or with food.
In October and early November the ripe cider apples at Smith Hayne are harvested. When there's a few cold days forecast the apples are milled and left to stand overnight. The next day the milled apples are pressed and the rich juice is pumped into clean barrels. As the temperature is low there is only limited fermentation in the first few days. Pectin esterase enzymes in the apple juice work slowly and a brown cap forms which rises to the surface. The clear juice below the cap is then syphoned into stainless steel vats where naturally occuring yeasts produce a slow and natural fermentation over several months, with no added sugar, flavouring or concentrate.
The cider is bottled by hand in early summer the following year. The cider continues to mature and naturally ferments in the bottle producing sparkling bubbles.
METHODE TRADITIONELLE CIDER
Our 2018 Methode Traditionelle Cider is now ready to drink and is delicious as an aperitif.
The apples are collected from Smith Hayne Orchards, then milled and pressed in our cider barn in November. The primary fermentation in barrels takes 12 months where time on lees creates a special flavour, and a dry cider is produced. The lees are the residual yeast and other particles which are produced during fermentation.
In late autumn the following year, the cider is bottled with the addition of further yeast and sugar, it undergoes a secondary fermentation and becomes naturally sparkling. The bottles are stored on their sides for 6 months and then placed in racks at an angle so that the sediment collects in the neck of each bottle. The bottles are turned each day for 6 weeks and this process is known as riddling.
In March of the second year, the neck of each bottle is frozen, trapping the sediment in an ice block. Then the cap is knocked off the bottle allowing the block of ice to shoot out, and the bottle is topped up and corked quickly, and this final process is known as disgorging.
MAKING APPLE JUICE
The apples are hand-picked, then pressed, bottled and pasteurised in our barn at Smith Hayne.