Astarbe Natural Cider Euskal Sagardoa D.O.
WHY WE LOVE IT
- The Euskal Sagardoa Designation of Origin certifies that all apples used in this cider are from the Basque Country, and that the resulting cider has been inspected by an independent panel to guarantee its quality.
Varietal Composition: Astarbe, Mendiola, Moko, Txalaka, Goikoetxe and other select varieties.
Elaboration: After the harvest — which this season started on September 20th — the apples are selected, pressed and left to sit for 24 hours. Under strict temperature conditions, the must is transferred into wooden casks or ‘kupelas’, where alcoholic fermentation — and subsequently malolactic fermentation — take place. The cider rests and ages in casks on lees for two months before it is ready to be drunk, straight from the barrel in the traditional ‘txotx’ ritual. The cider is bottled, unfiltered
Tasting Notes: Intensely yellow-green with a clear, long bead. Hints of young apple, with a citrus finish. Long and dry on the palate. A balance of acidity and bitterness to begin, with fresh hues and herbal notes. Dry and balanced in the mouth with a long finish and tannic tertiary flavors. The good balance between acidic and bitter means this cider has a long shelf life once bottled, and is reminiscent of traditional ciders.
Astarbe is one of the oldest cider houses in Gipuzkoa (founded in 1563), run by the same family that generation after generation, for five centuries, has been dedicated to making cider and growing apple trees.
Hur, Joseba, and Kizkitza represent the fifteenth generation of ciders producers who also grow their own apples in these lands, which makes the Astarbe Cider House’ unique. The Astarbe’s have decided to innovate in the world of Basque ciders by recovering planting techniques and varieties of apples that their ancestors managed. Together with the teacher Félix Lizaso, from the Artamugarri farmhouse, they work in a wild seed nursery ( makatza ). The siblings rediscovered two varieties of apples to make cider with, the mendiola, whose tree was already erected in front of the Family’s farmhouse in 1563, and the astarbe varietal. These 2 varietals are 2 of the 115 varieties that the Euskal Sagardoa DO – Basque Cider admits.
Nestled between the Santiagomendi, Txoritokieta mountains and the Adarra peak, the Astarbe’s ancestors strategically built their original farmhouse at the foot of the Camino Real, where commerce and traffic between Madrid and Paris was brisk.