Inspired by the wild fruit found throughout the Island landscape, some friends have developed a wild-caught apple cider.
The Caledonia-based Double Hill Cidery has launched their first product – The Nomad cider –now available in Island liquor stores.
“The Double Hill project took many years of planning and preparing,” says owner Sebastian Manago. “We wanted to make a cider that was unique to P.E.I.”
The Nomad is made with wild apples that can be found on almost every Island property.
"These apples are true survivors and have adapted to our climate, but most importantly, they have truly astonishing and unapologetic flavours. Most people wouldn't consider eating them, but in cider, they found their true calling,” says Manago.
Gathering the wild apples had its challenges.
“We had to seek permissions and deal with trees that have never been pruned or harvested,” says Bryan McCracken, production manager.
“But we got the chance to meet lots of Islanders and hear the stories about the heritage of their trees. That is what it is all about.”
Grégoire Ferre, a cider maker from the Normandy region of France, has been an advisor to Double Hill since the beginning.
“I was truly impressed with the quality of these apples. They remind me of our very old and forgotten cider varieties in France,” said Ferre.
Laurent LaFuente is another godfather to the project. As the oenology advisor (wine-making expert) to Double Hill, LaFuente helped the team get their feet on the ground.
“Where we make cider in B.C., we have a very different climate. Double Hill wanted not only to use wild apples but also develop a fermentation process that was adapted to the P.E.I. weather patterns. Cold temperatures can be a blessing and a curse. We think we have developed a true P.E.I. approach to fermentation and aging,” said LaFuente.
The Nomad cider has a warm, golden colour with bold apple and apricot flavours. It is balanced with a long, spicy finish. It is best served chilled and paired with the great products from Island waters: oysters, lobster, mussels or any other seafood and white meats.