Wine and Cider Infusions Can Work #TryThis
There has been a big trend towards experimental collaborations in Canada, and in the world in general, with respect to mixing different beverage alcohol traditions in an effort to create new, complex, and hopefully attractive flavours.
Some work and some don’t, or at least not for everyone.
Those of us who love Single Malt Whisky are long familiar with distilleries using ex-Sherry and Bourbon barrels for a secondary aging of whisky, to add new aromas and flavours. It can work really well. Have you ever had Macallan that wasn’t wonderful?
There is also a long history in the beer, mead and cider world of co-fermentations, sometimes including different fruits, including grapes, so it is possible that there is nothing new under the sun. However, in today’s world of ever expanding small producers, practically anything goes.
From my experience, even if the resulting product is not particularly well balanced, and far from delicious to my own tastebuds, it can still find a home. There are a wide range of palates out there, and some are very tolerant of extreme sourness and bitterness.
I’ve tasted quite a few beer and cider experiments, using acquired used wine barrels (sometimes with quite a bit of wine left in them), that were curious and complex, but very out of balance – too dry and/or sour. But it certainly can work.
This week I tried a simply delicious wine/cider collaboration called Muscat Infusion, from the Annapolis Cider Company in Wolfville, NS. If you visit them, on the main drag in Wolfville, they always have a Something Different product in addition to their regular ciders: the refreshing Crisp & Dry, their slightly sweeter The Classic, and their Heirloom cider, made from traditional varieties: Gravenstein, Golden Russet and Northern Spy.
Muscat Infusion is a 7.1% abv sparkling cider infused with Muscat grapes, specifically New York Muscat, a hybrid that make very distinctive, aromatic wines in Nova Scotia. It was available for a limited time in magnums, as well, which is what I sampled and loved. It had a fresh fruity character, with Muscat’s floral, grapey note.
Annapolis Cider is co-owned by genetic researcher Sean Myles and his wife Gina Haverstock, who is also winemaker at the well respected Gaspereau Vineyards, nearby in Gaspereau Valley, well known for their groundbreaking Riesling, as well as their Muscat, Tidal Bay and reds like Lucie Kuhlmann. They have the vision, and no doubt Gina acquires the muscat grapes, but the cider is made by their Head Cidermaker, Melanie Eelman.
Muscat Infusion is very fresh and clean, and well balanced, with the bright, floral impact of Muscat without losing the “core” apple flavours of properly made cider. Annapolis only uses local, hand picked apples, and never uses concentrates.
They may be sold out of Muscat Infusion, but you can always check out their latest Something Different. It will always be a delicious experience.