Cider is obtained by the natural fermentation of the fructose contained in apple juice – its brewing requires care and time.
The apple type most often used to brew cider are cider apples, cooking apples and dessert apples. The cooking apples add acidity, while the dessert apples confer aroma and sweetness. Cider apples are necessary to create the characteristic aromas and the bitterness of the tannins. By mixing different varieties a number of different tastes and aromas can be produced.
Through the use of different apple varieties and exploiting their different ripening times, it is possible to take advantage of the entire apple season with multiple harvests. Once harvested, the apples are brought to cider mills, where they are smashed into a pulp called pomace. The pulp is then transferred to cider presses. According to the traditional juicing method, straw and ash have to be layered within the pomace, up to a maximum of 12 layers. This system minimises the oxidation risk.
The entire block is then pressed and heated until all juices have been gathered. The product is then filtered and the liquid obtained is put into big vats to ferment at a temperature between 4 and 16 degrees.
Cider is ready after three months of fermentation, but most of the times it is left in the vats to age for two or three years.
Most ciders are a result of a blend of ten or more apple varieties, which contribute to the richness, the fresh taste and the duration of the product.
Depending on the process and on the varieties of apples used, ciders with different characteristics are brewed: sweet, dry, semi-dry, sparkling or still, with alcohol content varying from 3 to 8%. Usually the single varieties are produced separately, and only after fermentation ciders from different apples are blended. The cider obtained is filtered, carbon dioxide added, and then the final product is bottled.