|Image courtesy E.Z. Orchards
Barrel-Aged Blend of French Bittersweet Apples and Eau de Vie de Pomme
Salem, Oregon (April 26, 2017) – Artisanal Imports announces the release of the highly anticipated new E.Z. Orchards Pomme, available now. Pomme is a barrel-aged blend of orchard-grown French bittersweet apples and Eau de Vie de Pomme, a distilled and fermented apple spirit. This year’s blend is aged 24-30 months in wine barrels and finished at a delicate 16.7% ABV.
The body and texture of Pomme is of tree-ripened fruit and fresh baked apple, with a subtle toasted wood and winter fruit aroma. The prominent tannin structure of the fruit is defined but not overwhelming, contributing a lasting, elegant finish. The alcohol is softened by extended aging, showing warmth and livening the baked, tree-ripened apple nuance.
“I have an evolving awareness and appreciation for the placement and enjoyment of Pomme,” says E.Z. Orchards Orchardist & Cidre Maker Kevin Zielinski. “Aromatics are the aspect that often intrigue me – the full sense of ripe, warm baked apple and a soft hint of the barrel, not smoke. The color is rich auburn gold, like wild foraged honey.”
“Pomme is modeled on French Pommeau, a style similar to port or sherry, and is served as an aperitif or digestif,” Zielinski continues. “The Pommeau style is a staple in traditional Northern French cuisine, you may add it to preparations of mushrooms, pork, and desserts. It is also well-suited for exploration in cocktail mixology.”
Zielinski has mastered the French method for making his ciders, cidre and poire, a task simultaneously simple and complex. He crushes fruit grown in his family orchard and lets naturally-occurring yeast ferment the juice until it’s finished, which requires months of maturation and precise knowledge of when to harvest and bottle.
“Our cider is fermented in the traditional French method requiring diligent care of the fruit prior to harvest,” Zielinski continues. “We delay harvest allowing the fruit to mature on the tree capturing the optimal character of each cultivar.
“After harvest, the apples are first washed, then refrigerated to preserve quality and compose their texture in preparation for pressing. The fruit is processed through a blade mill which cuts the apples into small pieces before entering a rack and cloth press. The pressed apple juice is then blended, tested for balance and transferred to a temperature-controlled stainless steel fermentation tank for four to six months. The cider is bottled before fermentation is complete, resulting in a crisp, natural carbonation.”
“Today, we grow a wide variety of heirloom cider apples including French and English bittersweets, and American semi-sharps,” Zielinski says. “In the Willamette Valley of Oregon where we farm, the ground is an ancient seabed full of rich and nutritious soil. With so much nutrition available to the trees, we have to suppress their vigor through pruning and selection to ensure that each apple receives the most intense nurturing for flavor and aromatics.”
“Surrounding the orchards, the larger farm produces a wide variety of fruits that diversify the land and aid in the pollination process, including peaches, pears, and hazelnuts. As you walk the grounds, it becomes clear that it’s organized around specific cultivation and harvesting techniques, enabling us to manage a precise maturation on the tree that we improve with every year’s lessons.”
E.Z. Orchards Pomme (Pommeau-style)
16.7% ABV, Gluten-Free
Serve at cellar temp, or chilled at 42-48 F.