We know spring is right around the corner when it's time to blend Lapinette, our springtime French-style cidre brut. These past few weeks we've been starting the blending process, and it goes a little something like this:
First thing's first: The traditional cidermaking that we do at Virtue is an art of blending. In beer brewing, for example, you are recreating a recipe to create the same resulting beer. In cider, however, we let the juice pressed from Michigan-grown apples ferment naturally in Cider House 2, developing the ciders that we age in barrels in our Cider House 1. But to end up with a similar cider year-to-year, the art is all in the blending.
Lapinette's taste profile is dry, with a little bit of oak and funk.
Our cidermakers taste through cider from last year's harvest that was fully fermented and aged in French oak barrels in Cider House 1. This cider provides the "dry" and "oak" characteristics.
The "funk" comes from cider that's been aging in our Brett barn. All the barrels in this facility aged inoculated with Brettanomyces, a yeast that gives complex flavors that can be described as tart or "puckery." We taste through these Brett barrels to find ciders that have the same funk that we like to add to Lapinette.
From there, our cidermakers sit down with small amounts of cider from the barrels they selected to experiment with ratios of each, and compare it against previous years of Lapinette to ultimately find the right blend for this year's release.
Stay tuned as we perfect this year's blend of Lapinette. We'll announce any release events and availability on our social media and in our email newsletter.