July 24, 2018
There is an expression, ‘pears for your heirs’. Given that we planted our first perry pear trees 8 years ago, and our first commercial batch is only due to come out this year….we’d have to agree there is some wisdom in that.
In this bottling we’ve used Oldfield, Blakeney Red, Hendre Huffcap, Yellow Huffcap, and Brandy to give a lovely mix of floral, lemon, gooseberry and hay notes, that have a light residual sweetness from the non-fermentable sugars, such as sorbitol that natually occur in pears, (this is not the case for apples).
As such, Perrys, lend themselves to being bottled dry, (ie without the addition of sugar), as this natural sweetness gives a subtle balance.
So, we’ve chosen to do a ‘Pét-nat’, or ‘Pétillant-Naturel’, style of bottling, (which in France is largely just called Poiré). What this essentially means is we start with just the perry juice, and add no yeast. Rather we let the perry undergo a spontaneous natural fermentation from wild yeats strains that exist on the fruit, in the press and in the cider house. Some call it risky, (tho we add a little natural sulphite to protect against bacteria), but its the way it was always done, and in the 17th and 18th century, bottle fermented perries were considered a justifiable rival the champagnes of France….I’m guessing lab cultured yeasts were not available then 😉
And from there we leave it ferment slowly through the cold winter, at ambient temperatures. It literally took this perry, (or Poiré I should say), until May to get down to where we wanted it to be, and when its almost completely fermented, its bottled with the live natural yeast and a little sugar, which when corked will continue to ferment and will give a fine natural crémant sparkle, (less than the full blown champagnois level). Well thats what we hope anyway…..it will be another 3 months at least before we know if we’ve got that part right!
Fingers crossed X
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