Cyser is the love child of cider and mead, made by fermenting apples and honey. This year's Honey Thief is made from Rome Beauty, Granny Smith, Fuji and Honeycrisp apples double fermented with our own Texas Keeper estate honey. The result is a brilliant combination of orange blossom, honeysuckle, jasmine, crisp apple and nectarine. The Cyser was delicately back-sweetened with a touch of Texas wildflower honey adding a slight silkiness to the finish. Pairs perfectly with duck, pork, shrimp and crab.
The Boxcar Series is a collection of our small batch, one-off cellar projects. These ciders are called Boxcar because in a refrigerated boxcar is where they live, age, and mellow, until we put them in bottle for you.
This second in the series is 2019 Honey Thief aged in a pinot noir barrel, a barrel incidentally used prior to age our Cider Noir. The honey for this cider-honey coferment comes from our own estate hives, which produce a distinctively tannic honey due to the large amount of agarita blossom and bluebonnet forageables. Rich floral notes of apricot on the nose, honeyed nectarine on the palate.
This is our third year producing a cider rested on spent grapes, now one of my favorite projects. For this year’s, we picked up Sangiovese grapes post-pressing from Southold Cellars, then rested three heirloom varieties – Northern Spy, Ben Davis, and Rhode Island Greening – on the grape skins for eight days. The cider was then aged in neutral tanks for 10 months, undergoing a natural malolactic fermentation, which softens the edges.
Finished bone dry, this Grafter Rosato also picked up a little bit of the good funk – slight Brettanomyces, or “Brett” – from the grape skins. Brett is a cousin yeast to the usual yeast we rely on in cider, beer and wine production: Saccharomyces cerevisiae. With its subtle presence here, it adds a pleasing amount of barnyard, earthy notes, bringing a lovely complexity.
Grafter Rosato gets its name after the Italian word for rosé and a nod to the grape’s origins.
All Texas fruit, Arkansas Black and Granny Smith apples from the High Plains, cofermented with ewberries hand-foraged from Free Fleeing Farms. A beautiful terracotta pink cider with notes of tobacco leaf, strawberry, bright raspberry and a lovely citrus finish.
Golden Russet is a classic American cider apple variety. Originating in upstate New York in the early 19th century, the exact parentage is unknown. Our 2020 Golden Russet was aged for 12 months in neutral tanks. It carries notes of papaya, kiwifruit, and ripe nectarine on the nose, and leads with pear and nectarine on the palate with a subtle flinty finish. Residual sugar, nil. ABV 9.1%
We crafted TX Cuvee from three beautiful heirloom apples grown on a small orchard in the high plains of Texas, then painstakingly pressed in our tiny cidery. TX Cuvee is blended across vintages with half the fruit aged for a year in neutral tank, undergoing malolactic fermentation. The result is a delicate and soft cider with notes of agarita blossom, clove, and honey on the note with lychee and caramelized pear on the palate.
Heirloom is blended from classic American heirloom apples and a small lot of Bittersweets. Roxbury Russet, the oldest apple grown in the US dating from 1649, lends notes of rich pear and tropical fruit. Northern Spy (~1790) contribues ripe nectarine; Baldwin (~1740) brings lovely soft acidity and a hint lf stone fruit. The bittersweets contribute delicate tannins. Heirloom was aged on medium toast French oak contributing structure and a hint of vanilla.
This is Texas Keeper's take on a fruited cider - a blend of four apple varieties aged 6 months on lees and then double fermented with sour cherries. We finished the cider dry to bring out the complexity of the cherries and avoid the pitfalls of too-sweet cherry ciders. The result is a cider with honeyed cherry on the nose, ripe apricot and nectarine on the palate, and a gentle tart finish.
The Grafter Series is all about crafting unique ciders made from heirloom apples and vintage wine grapes. For this year’s Rosé we combined Rome Beauty apples (first planted 1817) with Texas-grown Dolcetto and Cinsault grapes. The result is a beautifully rounded cider with notes of ripe raspberry, peaches and cream, and a crisp stone-fruit finish.
Grafter Blanc: Apples and grapes fermented together
The Grafter Series is about crafting unique ciders made from heirloom apples and vintage wine grapes. Grafter Blanc is the second cider in the series. Our Spring release is a combination of 25% Muscat Blanc grapes grown in the High Plains, 39% Rome Beauty, 25% Empire and 11% Northern Spy apples. Notes of candied pear, nectarine and orange blossom, finishing with a soft acidity and lightly effervescent.
Moonlight is our take on an ice cider. We double fermented Northern Spy and Rhode Island Greening apples and aged the cider for 10 months in freshly emptied Chardonnay barrels. Half the cider went through malolactic fermentation, softening the acidity. Finished still, the resulting cider is wonderfully complex with notes of dried apricots, ripe melon, stonefruit and honey. Hope y'all enjoy.
"Moonlight shine on down and shine on me" - Blaze Foley
50% Northern Spy
50% Rhode Island Greening
Texas Keeper No. 1 is our flagship cider. It’s crafted from 3-12 apple varieties fermented individually and blended to build a well-balanced, dry cider with notes of ripe pear and melon, subtle rosewater and honeysuckle, with a crisp green apple finish. We ferment the apple varieties in small lots (~300 gallons) on heavy lees to increase fermentation nutrition and add complexity. We try our hardest to keep the ferments cool during fermentation with temperatures peaking at 56F. This cool, long fermentation helps preserve delicate fruit esters. No oak is generally used – we wanted to present the delicacy of the fruit. The ferments for No.1 are racked off heavy lees following fermentation and aged for at least six months on light lees with occasional batonnage. We allow the lots to go through spontaneous malolactic fermentation, which helps soften and broaden the palate of the final blend. The cider is unfiltered in order to keep as much of the complexity intact. We feel a light carbonation best suits Texas Keeper No. 1. It is our example of what we feel great cider should taste like.
The 2019 crop of GoldRush was true to form, with a crisp, citrus quality during pressing. We selected a combination of yeast strains to help round and soften the palate. Aged on lees to increase texture and to bring out toasted notes, this combination brought a hint of the creaminess of lemon meringue pie to the tart grapefruit and Meyer lemon. It’s our citrus sketch, perfect for pairing with a variety of cheeses and desserts.