For more information on planning your Mt. Washington Valley vacation, sign up for our monthly newsletter!
Currently offering a line-up of four ciders from the Jonagold apple variety, from an orchard found locally in Maine; Ryan is also working on growing grapes and bottling his own wine.
Cider making is a long-time hobby for Ryan, and this four-bottle offering is a limited series. Once they're gone, they're gone, and Ryan will move onto making a completely different batch from a completely different apple and orchard. In this original set he's pouring now, you'll find a unique take on aging the Jonagold apple into cider. After collecting 64 bins of apples, and hand-sorting them for the best pieces of fruit, he cured them throughout winter. He extracted the juice right as the apples hit their freezing point, which turned the juice they produced into 8% alcohol.
From there Ryan went to age them in four different styles; an Oak Barrel Fermented cider, a Port Barrel Fermented cider, a Skins and Stems cider, a Cognac Barrel Fermented cider and a Barrel Fermented cider. These are Pét Nát style ciders, meaning they are natural, fermented with wild yeast and bottled while still fermenting to create a natural effervescence. While each one originates from the same kind of apple, they each have a completely different taste.
You'll find that the Barrel Aged cider is the most wine-like, with a clean, crisp taste, while the Port Barrel aged cider is more earthy and complex. Each cider tastes sweet, but only in perception. The actual sugar content is quite low, which is a result in the way and length in the way its aged and bottled. (Ryan also offers a line of Dube and Robinson cider, which is cider that was grown and pressed by two cider makers in Tamworth, NH, that Ryan then took and aged on his own. They're a drier and bubbly experience.)
While cider making is a hobby turned profession for Ryan, his real love lies in wine making. While he will always offer cider at his winery, it's a placeholder for what's to come, which is a line of wine that is grown, aged, and bottled right in the White Mountains.
Since the mid-2000's, Ryan has studied winemaking all over the world; apprenticing under cider makers and vintners from New Hampshire to New Zealand. At one point he flew to Australia knowing it suffered from a shortage of fruit pickers. When his flight landed, he started knocking on the doors of wineries, and took whatever job the wineries needed him to. Over time, he gained the wine-makers' confidence that he could be trusted to start making his own vintage for them.
For Ryan, his love of wine begins with a love for farming. He believes that drinking should celebrate the agrarian culture of the area.
You should be able to taste the nuance of the soil the grapes grew from in the wine you're drinking. Each region has its own soil characterization, and New Hampshire certainly has a unique one. Its granite stores created a really interesting mineral profile that inspired Ryan to become the first wine-maker to not only age and bottle wine in Mt. Washington Valley, but to grow the grapes for it as well.
Ryan describes his ciders and wines as drinks with an "absence of ego." He focuses on natural cider and wine-making and tries not to get in the way of the apples' and grapes' own processes. His vines have never - and will never be sprayed with pesticides, and he is committed to keeping everything he offers as local as possible. He wants any glass of wine or cider he pours to be an opportunity to learn more about the place in which you're drinking it in.
Learn more about Mt. Washington's craft Beverage scene here:
For complete trip planning resources and information, explore this site, visitmwv.com, or call 800-367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH) to talk to a Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce rep.