Astarbe - Sagardoa Sidra Natural, Spain
Dry cider with a long persistent finish. Classic, traditional Basque style with high acidity and bitterness along with fresh sensations and herbaceous notes. Quite tannic with refreshing citrus notes and a little sourness. Pour from high above the glass to aerate the sidra and enhance its effervescence in the glass.
|REGION||Spain > País Vasco|
|FEATURES||Skin Contact, Low Intervention, Biodynamic, Natural, Sustainable, Vegan-Friendly|
A blend of apple varieties– primarly Astarbe (the same name as the 15th-generation family running the estate) and Mendiola (the same name as their farmhouse)– are selected and put through the grinder or ‘matxaka’. After grinding and pressing the fruit, the must sits in stainless steel tanks for 24 hours. Under strict temperature controls, the must is then transferred into wooden casks or ‘kupelas’, where alcoholic fermentation — and subsequently malolactic fermentation — take place. The cider rests and ages in casks on lees for two months before it is ready to be drunk, straight from the barrel in the traditional ‘txotx’ ritual. The cider is bottled, unfiltered, in June.
Located from just south of San Sabastien where Sidra and the local wine Txacoli vie for the gastronomic attention of Basque pintxos hunters.
Cider has been produced at the Mendiola farmhouse in Astigarraga by members of the same family for close to five centuries. The oldest surviving document that references the production of cider at this address dates back to May 20th, 1563. To put that in context, Galileo Galilei, the “father of modern science”, was born in 1564. The history of this family is so entwined with the history of Basque cider production that the two main apple varieties they use to elaborate their ciders are the Astarbe variety (after the family surname) and the Mendiola variety (after the name of the farmhouse).
The majority of the producers in the region use rootstocks engineered to produce a tree that bears fruit after five to six years and dies after about thirty. Astarbe’s trees, grafted onto wild rootstocks, do not produce a useful crop for fifteen to twenty years, and live for between eighty and a hundred years. The apples these trees produce are smaller and more concentrated, with more complex flavors. These rootstocks and the production of the two Méthode Champenoise sparkling ciders, distinguish and make the Astarbe family unique within the Basque region.