We are very excited to announce that Roadcider 2023: Southern Highlands will be available online and for tasting and take-away/collection at our cellar door from 12pm (AEST) on Friday 6 October 2023.
Roadcider is a collaborative project with friend and fermentation guru, Lucien Alperstein. We have made cider together since 2018 at Wildflower but this project is very much his creative direction and drive. So over to Lucien...
2023 was a good year for roadside apples. The Gundungurra Southern Highlands release is a true roadcider, with 100% of the fruit from feral roadside apple (+ quince + servicetree) trees. We picked and pressed almost two tonnes of fruit from over 50 trees in beautiful autumn weather for this release.
Roadcider started ten years ago as a project to make dry cider from feral apples and every year I'm just as excited as the first. One of the great joys of roadside trees is the unknown - which trees will fruit this year? What new trees will we find? How will the blend we pick come together? Old favourite trees have become old friends.
Fruit varied a lot this year, as is always the case. We had apples ranging from double-fist-size green bursting with zippy acid, donut-shaped sunset-blush apple lollies, brown russeted rough-skinned mid-sized fruit that tasted like baked apples, to 5-cent-piece sized perfectly round yellow-flesh crab apples so tannic you need a lot of water immediately after otherwise you’ll choke.
Wild apples are so variable because they don't grow "true to seed" - every tree that grows from a seed is a completely new variety. In a country where there are less than 20 varieties of apples grown commercially, we have a wild-growing living library of thousands - maybe tens of thousands - of new varieties, wildly different from each other and from apples you can buy at the shops. Not the best for a snack, but exactly what we're looking for to make cider.
We had two main picks of fruit about 2 weeks apart and let all of the apples "sweat" (leaving the apples for a few more weeks after picking to allow the fruit starches to convert to sugar) before crushing and juicing.
Fermentation kicked off quickly as we used a pie-de-cuvee (wild yeast starter, this year from a glug of just-kicked-off Riesling juice from longtime friend of Roadcider Mem at Meredith Wines). Herbaceous and floral aromas shine from the quince, and fine tannins from the servicetree (sorbus) fruit do some heavy lifting despite their combined total of about 5% of the total fruit. It's more pet nat than conventional cider and it'd make sense for it to be on wine lists alongside other frothy whites. It's also worth tasting with the Orange Roadcider release from 100% orchard-grown cider variety fruit - some similarities but they're totally different ciders.
Dear friends helped at every stage and like every other year, none of this would happen without friendship.
Meesh's tasting notes
The nose is all candy apple. You’re hit with the illusion of fruit sweetness up front on the palate, followed by a richness indicative of quinces and some delicate tannins. This is a stunning, elegant beverage with the perfect amount of fizz.