Enchanted Forgotten Orchard

New York Cider Company
NY State foraged wild and heirloom apples: Rhode Island Greening, Newtown Pippin, Golden Delicious, Liberty, Cortland
Finger Lakes, Ithaca, NY
Wild fermentation, sustainable farming methods , traditional cider-making techniques, and bottle conditioned
7.7% ABV
Cider Makers: Joseph Steuer and Steve Daughhetee

Hazy yellow/light gold with teeny tiny pretty bubbles. Aromas of apples from sweet to tart, apple blossoms, fresh stripped young, tiny apple branches; and a little natural funk but not overly powerful since it kind of hides in the back. Transports me to childhood when I’d climb the trees, whittle the tiny branches, and pretend I was riding a dragon from one of Anne McCaffrey’s books. Delicious dry, tangy wake up call. Yeah, I’m tasting this on a Saturday morning to make sure I get the full experience. Crisp fresh apples, lemony tart, a drop of that funk and hay, and as it opens a sweet middle (but not overly). This is so wonderfully natural. I’ve had a lot ciders homemade and store bought, and have often found the homemade ones stand out. I have no idea why except for love, care, and nature. FIREFLY #2 is a winner for me. If I didn’t know better, I would think it was made by a friend, the good ol’ fashioned way.

Pairs with Cheez-it’s: Cheese, salt and apples…what a perfect pairing. Delicious! Please don’t tell me you haven’t tried a piece of sharp cheddar cheese on a slice of hot apple pie?

New York Cider Company started from Steuer and Daughhetee meeting while apple picking. With a mutual love of making cider it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship and partnership. Moving from a home-brew to a whole full on cidery in 2017, was quite an accomplishment. They had rough patches from health issues to an oops moment of their cider being the wrong abv which also meant labels needed to be remade; but there were also blessings such as Steuer being featured on Humans of New York. Now that’s a huge! They also have been fortunate with their 125 year old apple trees and the forgotten foraged abandoned ones, and both are as super natural as you can come. This is again a place where less is more. Just let nature take its course. Speaking of nature, this past year they say was a great one for fireflies at their farm. As a child, one of my favorite things when the evening was warm and we could sit by the pond, listen to the frogs, and watch the fireflies appear in the orchard doing their magical dance. Oh, how I miss the simple things like such an evening.

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No Duck or Baga Left Behind

João aka Duckman
Pet Nat
Bairrada, Portugal
100% Baga
Sustainable, unfiltered, unfined, natural, spontaneous fermentation, and hand-harvested
Winemaker: Maria Pato

Pale rose gold/pinky color with dainty bubbles and a little sediment. Sniffing apples, back home in the orchard apple blossoms that are swirling around me and getting stuck in my hair in the spring breeze, faint pale roses, a super teensy bit of cinnamon, and seltzer. Now this is a whole new word post smell. The scents where more restrained and this is a flavor explosion (the label art says it all) of lemon, Lemon Drops (candy), pink grapefruit, and crisp green apples. It’s clean, bright, and vibrant! At last there’s just the slightest kiss of cinnamon.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: Just brings out more fruit

I’ve lost count of how many of these feisty ducks I’ve bagged, and each one is so unique yet so perfect, and a bouquet of happiness. These Baga grapes are from their Quinta do Ribeirinho vineyard. As I’ve written before, this winemaking flock dates back to the 18th century, and includes Maria, her father Luis, sister Filipa, and in Duckray, Maria’s grandmother got in on it. I’m reading she painted 6 of these bottles, and if you get one you receive a special prize. They are missing the white duck label, and instead of the spaced out paint flecks of red, yellow, and green; they are more more densely sprayed in blue, green and yellow splats around the shape of that invisible quacker. Well, I may not have been fortunate to find Maria’s grandmother’s artwork, but this bottle is a fresh wonderful prize all in itself. Once again, I am so grateful for this family of winemakers. Some of your wines bring happy tears to my eyes, others make my heart soar, and this one just makes me want to dance.

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A Good ol’ Wild Flock

João aka Duckman
Maria Duck – Pet Nat
Bairrada, Portugal
100% Fernão Pires (a.k.a. Maria Gomes)
Sustainable, unfiltered, unfined, natural, hand-harvested, and wild
Winemaker: Maria Pato

Hazy golden with lots of white lively bubbles. Breathing in a mix of apple and pear cider, hay, tangy tangerine, apricot, and orangesicle. Zip, pop, bang and my tongue is dancing with zingy citrus, tart lemon candy wedges, kumquats, crabapples, and gooseberries. Wow, now that’s a wake up call to a party.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: mellows the tart out

Oh Duckman, how you never fail to surprise and make me happy. Maria and the rest of the flock (father Luis, sister Filipa, and past relatives that date back to the 18th century) all have had their feet paddling around in wine, as I’ve written about in past posts. This project, is all Maria. There’s as little intervention as possible for these indigenous Fernão Pires grapes, that come from their Amoreira da Gândara vineyard. All stainless and no oak, help this little quacker soar, sing and zing fresh! This is a pet nat that is not only delicious, fun, and a joy to drink, but it also makes you think. It transports you to her part of the world in Portugal and invites you to stay.

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Follow the Duck

Joao Pato aka Duckman
BaaagaDuck 2018
Vinho Tinto
Baga 85%, Touriga Nacional 15%
Winemaker Maria Pato

Beautiful dark ruby color. Starts off with a whiff of butter and then herbal cola (like ricola), salt, dried cherries, plum, a touch of white peppercorn, and at last wild flowers. Shall I sip or take a long swig? I will admit, this is not my first duck, and I am a big fan! Here comes the deep dark cherry, flowers, some smoke, and dried fruit and a bit of spice that I’m trying to figure out.

Pairs with Cheez-Its: Mellows it out. Rich and concentrated. 

Baby this is smooth like Barry White. I feel like snuggling up in front of a fireplace with a glass and letting this wine and his voice wrap me like a warm embrace. 

So who is this mysterious Duckman? Maria Pato helms this project, and she comes from quite a prestigious wine family. The vines are in her genes. Her family has been in wine since at least the 18th century. Maria, along with her father Luis Pato, (and well known Baga champion) and her sister Filipa (who I have written about previously) all focus on Bairrada’s native grapes. Maria though leaves off the region on her labels and lets the grapes to speak for themselves. Ok, this is a family I wish would adopt me. I’m more than willing to learn Portuguese, and help out with any vineyard/winery tasks needed. How amazing to have such a long heritage in wine, and to steadfastly stick with it and each other.

On to Bairrada…The Buçaco Forest, encircled by a protective wall, is an enchanting fairyland filled with lush and diverse trees, shrubs, plants and animals from the region. In the 1600s Carmelite monks, by Papal decree, sent to tend to the forest,  began introducing “exotics” including cedar from Mexico. Oh, and during that time, women were forbidden from the forest, so the monks would not be distracted (seriously?!), and not long after that a threat of excommunication was posted if anyone did harm to any of the trees. There’s paths and staircases to lead you through, and hopefully help you from getting lost in this wonderland. You can still see what is left of the convent and the Via Crucis, which are now on the grounds of the Buçaco Palace. The Convento de Santa Cruz do Buçaco also contains the famed Nossa Senhora do Leite (Our Lady of the Milk) by Josefa de Óbidos (from what I’m reading she is potentially Portugal’s first female painter and her works were very well received). Visitors leave behind wax breasts, in hope that Mary will find them some divine intervention. For a view into the architecture and the forest, here’s a calming video by Michael Levit, that I found on youtube. On to the next stop. I keep seeing posts and info that the spas in Luso are a must see. The water from the area is supposed to be some of the best in the world, and there’s a fountain in town where people can fill up their own bottles. The thermal baths were founded in the 1800s, and used for various curative reasons, but now you can find modern spas such as Termas de Luso, where you can either just relax or work on your health in a beautiful setting. One last thing, I truly wish I could experience in person, is to visit the Pato winery in Amoreira da Gândara. It is by appointment only, but they have an option for a regional lunch paired with their wines, and Bairrada’s roast suckling pig. Now that would be a perfect day.

@docwineshop @docwinebarny @SaviosSelections @Duckman @luispato.wines @FilipaPato.net @TermasdeLuso #wine #worldbyglass #needmorewine #pairswithcheezits #cheezit #baga #TourigaNacional #portugal #bairrada #barrywhite @pageofficiellelianefoly #josefadeobidos @saviosoaresselections @joao_pato_aka_duckman @luispatowines @filipapato