A Sense Of Place
What is it that makes a great cider? Yes, for sure the cidermaker plays a huge part, as does the weather that year. But what about the site? The soil? The age of the trees? Does farming practice come into it? How about harvesting methods? Well we're going to try and find out.
2022 marks the start of The Terroir Project, where the initial fermentation of young Dabinett ciders from different orchards will be compared.
We have pressed 1000 litres of Dabinett from seven Herefordshire orchards, and these are each going to be given the same treatment through to the end of the first fermentation.
"The idea is to explore the idea of what the land and the microclimate contributes," explains Susanna. "These are mainly well established orchards," continues James. "If we continue this over time, we might see some trends. It's not about how good these nascent ciders after the first fermentation it's what characteristics these ciders have."
We chose Dabinett not just because it's a great apple, but because it is widely planted, since it grows well and harvests reliably (not something we can say about all cider varieties!).
In the spring, after the vernal equinox, after the first racking, we will taste them all and hopefully have a chance to compare and contrast.
Whatever emerges, it's going to be fascinating putting Dabinett under the microscope.