Name: Cottage Cider from Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue
What: A dry, fizzy cider made from this year’s harvest of Macs, Gala, Empire and Idared apples. The cider is produced in the pétillant-naturel style — bottled with its natural yeast while still fermenting, so it becomes effervescent as fermentation continues in the bottle. This style of winemaking has been in vogue for wine for a few years but pét-nat ciders are just emerging.
Texture and taste: Cottage Cider pours with a furious fizz, which soon mellows to gentle bubbles and a light, slight tartness threaded through with lemon and grassy notes. A trace of residual sugar lends roundness.
Strength: At 8 percent alcohol, Cottage Cider has some spine, comparable to a strong beer.
Backstory: This is the second time that longtime Bedell winemaker Richard Olsen-Harbich has made pétillant naturel with Bedell’s apples, some of which grow in the 25-tree cottage garden, “hence the name,” writes Olsen-Harbich. “I like the farmhouse style of pét nat for this — the yeast in the bottle adds some complexity and mouthfeel.”
He gently filtered the cider before bottling. While pét nat isn’t meant to be drunk young and fresh, “[the cider] will get more fizzy with a little more time, and as it ages will pick up a little caramel and pastry aromas.” It is the only cider made at Bedell.
Price and production: $18 for a 750-milliliter bottle, sealed with a crown cap and sold at the winery; 220 cases were made in September.
Drink it: On its own before dinner, with a sharp cheddar, with a plate of fried chicken, or in any way you like, really — cider is known for its versatility.
Bedell Cellars, 36225 Main Rd., Cutchogue. 631-734-7537, bedellcellars.com.