Foggy Ridge Cider is a hard cider made from heirloom cider apples grown in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains. Four sparkling ciders and one apple port are made using high-tannin cider apples, such as Tremlett's Bitter, Ashmead's Kernel and Hewe's Crabapple.
These ciders are crafted from specific cider apples harvested for their sugar, tannin, texture and aroma characteristics that result in a juice that is a far cry from what you might consume during fall's apple festivals.
This is the cider of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson with the modern element of innovation honoring the tradition of artisan cider making.
In 1997, Diane Flynt planted the first cider apple orchard in the modern South, with more than 30 apple varieties chosen for the complex flavors they contribute to hard cider. (There are 16,000 grown, named and eaten apple varieties in the United States.)
At at 3,000 feet elevation, the Foggy Ridge orchards are in the Southern Appalachian “apple belt,” an ideal climate for the apples to make fine cider. All Foggy Ridge ciders are fermented in stainless steel and aged before bottling. Unlike sweet, mass-market cider, Foggy Ridge products are 100 percent farm-grown cider apples, with no sugar or flavoring added. The four sparkling ciders each have an alcohol content of 7 percent; the apple port is 18 percent.
Sparkling ciders are best enjoyed chilled. The port should be served at “cellar” temperature.
Prices will range from retail to restaurants. Expect to pay from $11-$25 based on variety per bottle of cider. Cocktail prices and single pours in restaurants will vary.
Check out Foggy Ridge Ciders with cider-maker Diane Flynt at the Wines + Ciders of Virginia program at the Charleston Wine + Food Festival, on March 6 from 1:30-2:45 p.m. For tickets ($65), visit charlestonwineandfood.com/tickets.
Retailers and restaurants include Whole Foods, Bottles Beverage Superstore, Southern Season, Husk, McCrady's, FIG, Social, Saint Alban and Two Boroughs Larder.
Foggy Ridge Ciders portfolio ranges from dry crisp Serious Cider that was named “top dry cider” by a New York Times tasting panel in 2013 to the Riesling-like Sweet Stayman.
Serious Cider pairs well with crab cakes or anything fried and serves well as aperitif.
First Fruit, a crisp fruity cider with a clean finish, possesses sufficient acidity to drink with a meal.
Foggy Ridge Handmade is blended with Newtown Pippin and Gold Rush apples and is a companion to Southern-style vegetables.
The rich fruity notes in Sweet Stayman complement spicy dishes and are fine companions to pork dishes.
Foggy Ridge Pippin Gold is a hard cider blended with apple brandy from Laird and Co. to create an intensely flavored apple port ideal with blue cheese or alongside fruit desserts.
There has been a rise in the consumption of hard cider. It is believed to be a consequence of the craft beer industry combined with a renewed interest in pairing foods and beverages.
The Nielsen Report (2012) identifies that “younger, affluent consumers” are drinking cider. England has seen 15 percent of its beer market switch to cider and cider production in the U.S. has tripled.
In the U.S. consumption grew from 0.2 percent in 2011 to 1 percent market share in 2014.
Consumers are equally divided between men and women drinkers.