Three Cherries Project Is Live!
Today in celebration of #nationalcherryday we are super happy to finally be able to announce this project to the world!
Co-fermentations are a small but growing part of the cider world. As the years roll by, interest in using the incredible wealth and diversity of fruit grown here in the UK and combining it in various ways with cider apples and perry pears, has begun to peak the interest of cidermakers across the country.
The Three Cherries Project brings together three of the pioneers of the co-fermentation movement: Simon Day and Once Upon A Tree, Martin Berkeley and Pilton Cider, and us here at Little Pomona – in celebration of the magnificent English cherry!
The starting point for each maker was 250kg of the finest, ripest, Grade A, dessert cherries kindly sourced by our friends at Haygrove Farms. These were taken to our respective cideries where each of us began the transformation of the fruit into the wonderful trio of drinks we are launching today!
The philosophy of the maker, their thought processes and technical approach have of course resulted in three completely individual and fascinating drinks. If you like co-ferments and you like cherries you will love these!
A Taste of Heaven
Here at Little Pomona we were dizzy with excitement when we collected the cherries. Not only were they pristine and beautiful, but they tasted like heaven! We wanted to capture and enhance all of that fruit in the final drink.
Back at the cidery we decided to empty the cherries, stems and all, into a steel fermentation tank and then fill it with carbon dioxide. That may sound a little crazy but this is a technique we have borrowed from the wine world, famously Beaujolais in France, called carbonic maceration.
In this process two things happen. Firstly the unbroken fruit begins to ferment within itself, an enzymatic fermentation, rather than a normal alcoholic fermentation carried out by yeast. As this progresses it begins to develop intensely fruity esters, really aromatic, pretty, tooty fruity cherry and bubblegum aromas. It also helps to drop out some of the colour, transforming rich dark juice into something lighter and pinker.
Meanwhile at the bottom of the tank, where the weight of the fruit has pressed itself and released juice, a normal fermentation is took place. Once the alcohol level reaches about 2% in the whole fruits they begin to break open, releasing more juice for yeasts to act on.
We pushed this process to the limits and after nearly three months, when the fermentation was fully complete, we put everything into the press and decided, rather than using apples, that perry pears would be more compatible with the cherries. So we added a like amount and pressed them together, directly into three neutral oak barrels to ferment further.
Close to the end of fermentation we bottled it to capture a prickle of CO2 in the final drink. Our version of Three Cherries was thus born - a little miracle of nature, made without additions and capturing the essence of the glorious fruit that went into it!
Look out for them in your local bottle shops too.