"50 % Vidal Blanc grapes from Sherman Ridge in Shenandoah County, VA.
50% Harrison apples from Countryside Farm in Augusta County, VA.
Both sites are roughly 900' in elevation, with silt loam over interbedded dolomitic limestone, shale and sandstone.
The warm, dry growing season pushed the Vidal harvest several weeks early, but the fruit was pristine. The Harrison apples, favored for their viscosity, were also heavy with good sugars.
The whole cluster grapes were foot-treaded to soak for 18 hours, gently pressed and settled, and then racked to begin fermentation in flex tanks. The apples sweated at ambient temperature and were milled into the fermenting grape juice, macerating for three days with the cap kept wet by hand. Everything was then pressed again into a used 350 L French oak barrel. Aged 6 months on gross lees in barrels without batonnage, then an additional 6 months in bottle prior to release. No SO2 additions made."
The focus of Patois Cider is balance: How do wild trees maintain their ecological equilibrium, and how can an orchard mirror this dynamic? How will several successions of microorganisms collectively transform the fruit? How do I align myself and my work with the interconnecting cycles of nature?
This process is shifting and part of a larger rediscovery of a lost American cidermaking tradition. A cuvée will change year to year, reflecting seasonal differences in the fruit or adaptive techniques thought to better express those differences. The ciders will continue to evolve in the bottle and the glass. While I hope they will reward patience, they are not precious and are meant to be enjoyed.
The name is meant to reflect the idea that orchards/mountain fruit ‘speak their own dialect’ - that apples can express terroir. The only blends are wild fruit, everything else is single orchard bottlings.