Sidra Natural, Astarbe Sagardotegia (Basque Country, Spain)
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.