Our friends Tess Bryant and Nic Coturri just released their first vintage of ciders from the absurdly beautiful, wild San Juan Islands in far northwestern Washington State (basically Canada). Tess and Nic both have backgrounds in wine but decided to focus on apples because their 150-year history on the islands means that the landscape is full of historic orchards that have never seen chemicals. All of the fruit is either unsprayed or organically-tended. Tess and Nic processed and produced all of their bottles in the pet nat method, without any additions whatsoever.
Indeed, these ciders remind us intensely of the pet nats we love from the Loire Valley. They're fresh, alive, and joyful. They taste like apples but also the other fruits that Tess and Nic incorporate: pears, quince, plums, blackberry, medlar, and, of course, grapes.
"Our goal was to capture freshness of fruit, and to feature the broad array of apple-y-ness from the different farms and orchards we worked with. Rather than focus on a particular variety of apple, we chose to try to capture what each combination of trees during any particular week was offering. Each variety and time of harvest offered us something different to explore as we get to know our new home here, and we chose to embrace this broad diversity with 29 different bottlings.
Everything was processed and produced without additions, and bottled as a pet nat. That is, no added sugars, yeasts, oak or sulfites at any time ever. Everything was fermented and aged in glass or stainless steel, and nothing was or will be disgorged.
Apples plus quince from Sandy Point Farm, an 1890s historic farmstead on Waldron Island."