NOVEMBER 10-19, 2017

Meet Castle Hill Cider’s Cider Maker

Now at the start of the eighth production cycle, cider maker, Stuart Madany and his team use multiple methods and vessels to create Castle Hill Cider’s range of offerings. While most of the ciders are fermented, blended, and carbonated in stainless tanks, some are aged in barrel, and some develop natural carbonation in bottle. An additional method is influenced by the old world and perhaps a more experimental approach, and is used by no other commercial cidery in the world, and less than a dozen North American wineries. In February of 2009, Madany and team “planted” amphora-like terracotta vessels called qvevri in the earth just east of the 200-year old Linden Grove. Qvevri are the original vessels in which humanity first created wine some 7,000 years ago in the Caucasus Mountains. At Castle Hill Cider, qvevri are used to ferment Levity.

In 2009 an initial planting of 29 varieties of semi-dwarf apple trees was installed to determine the best match for making cider from Castle Hill Cider’s unique terroir. After trialing cider from these trees and grafting a few over to other varieties, 19 varieties have been selected to plant in greater numbers in a 7-acre high density orchard. 2600 trees are in place with 4400 more to be planted December of 2017.

Cidery

Originally built in 1764, in Keswick, Virginia, Castle Hill was the home of Colonel Thomas Walker, guardian and mentor to Thomas Jefferson. Today, Castle Hill Cider reclaims its history as a cider producer and also as a premiere venue for weddings and special events in the heart of Central Virginia’s equestrian and fox hunting country.

Ciders Available

2013 Terrestrial Bone dry and aromatic, with a nose of fresh apples and a hint of peach. Stone fruit is prominent on the palate. Extremely bright acidity. Terrestrial is a blend of Winesap, Albemarle Pippin and Grimes Golden.

2016 Terrestrial is bone dry with bright acid and medium body. Wisteria and grape hyacinth on the nose is followed by stone fruit and citrus zest on the palate with a bit of tannic bitterness and astringency. Try pairing as you would a sauvignon blanc.

2016 Celestial is rose gold in color. The nose is sweet floral with subtle notes of caramelized sweet potato, tobacco and black cherry. On the palate the cider is full bodied and soft with medium astringency. Flavors of preserved lemon and quince end with hints of clove.

2016 Levity, the flagship cider, is fermented in buried terra cotta qvevri. Levity is palate-filing with substantial astringency and notes of orange and passion fruit on the palate, followed by fresh acidity. This vintage features a wild yeast slow cold ferment, with lingering aromas of lime zest, pear and orange oil. Settled and bottled before fermentation completes, we allow this cider to bottle condition producing natural carbonation and a richer mouth feel.

“Live” Levity is a variant of the levity that has been kept cold since bottling, slowing the completion of fermentation, leaving some unfermented sugar and leight carbonation. It’s interesting to note the differences in exoerience that this one change makes.

2012 Gravity: Made from a blend of Pippin and Grimes Golden apples with a touch of bittersweets, this off dry still cider offers notes of whiote flower and vanilla, followed by rosemary, stone fruit, and strawberry on the palate. Finish is bright and lingering.

Serendipity is a medium cider (about 2% residual sugar from true arrested fermentation) features floral and citrus notes and a soft, slightly sweet finish. Very fruity and approachable.

Big Pippin cider is, fortified to 11% ABV with oaked apple spirit, and boosted with pressed ginger juice.

Location

6065 Turkey Sag Road Keswick, VA 22947