Outside Germany few people are aware that, here, cider tradition even exists and that Frankfurt is the beating heart for ciders and perries. Particularly in this region the fruit production is one of the richest in Germany.
Have you ever heard about German ciders?
Ciders in Germany are better known as Apfelwine or Viez and contrary to what you may think, cider tradition dates back to Charlemagne's historic time, when neither wine nor beer was accessible so ciders gained popularity.
But leaving on the side the Frankfurter Apfelwine, 3 hours south from Frankfurt, in the Black Forest the production of ciders is kept alive by Wendy LeBlanc and Patrick Mann, owners of 1785 ciders.
Their märchen is marked by their passion for ciders and perries: they met each other in Seattle USA and together they built up the passion for West Coast ciders: so the idea of starting their own cidery grew into them.
Though Patrick's family already owned, since 1976, an old farmhouse built in 1785 (and that's where they got the name from); here is where he fell in love with wild fermented ciders.
So Wendy and Patrick together started their own business in 2019 and 2020 is the year that marked their first vintage release on the market.
Currently, they own 5 hectares of orchards including some english and french varieties (that further on will allow them to play around with blending and flavors) with low density big trees of 15 meters widely spread from each other at an average age of 40-100 years old.
They do everything themselves: from grafting their orchards to hand harvesting, so in this way they can select apples and pears more precisely at an optimal maturity, handling them carefully in order to minimize the damage.
But what's their goal? Very clear, in their mind. They want to preserve old types of orchard and fruits along with introducing to consumers sophisticated, high-quality ciders and perries that are expressing the terroir of the Black Forest orchards; offering in this way a unique product that is reflecting this beautiful region and their own values.
Last but definitely not least, they want to add a little piece to the puzzle of the history of german cider and perries scenery.
It already looks very alluring to me!
So I've been lucky enough to get in contact with them and to try some of their ciders and perries. Among all of their products, the one that really impressed was the Perry Cuvée.
Perry Cuvée – 1785 Cider
I personally consider Perry Cuvée one of the most sublime perries I have ever tried before.
It is a blend of 5 different perry pears: Schweizer Wasserbirne, Oberösterreicher Weinbirne and 3 more varieties considered unidentified. All these varieties are high in tannins and mostly high in sugar with an excellent aroma. Perfect to produce perries.
On the nose you can find fresh cut pear aromas, slightly yeasty with a subtle minerality coming through.
Quite coherent with the palate as well. Blossoms, white flowers on the palate and a nice integration of ripe fruits such as delicate melon, mango and white peach combined with minerality and the bitterish delicate tannin aftertaste. These flavors that are wrapped up in a delightful and gentle petillance are going to stick in your palate for a long time. Definitely a refined and clean perry that cannot be missed with your aperitifs oysters and why not, cold cuts as well.
Making Perry is not easy at all. You need to pay more attention, compared to apple trees, in the orchards because the fruits must be harvested from the ground as it falls, over an extended period of ripening. On top of that, Patrick explains that perry pears do not preserve well and for this reason whenever they reach their peak of maturity, they must be pressed in small batches.
Like Patrick was explaining to me, making perry is “a tedious endeavour”, but all this hard work is paid off whenever you enjoy the final result.
And just this it makes me appreciate their perry and their hard work even more.
Perry Cuvée is available from September in Apples and Pears shop. Don't miss it!