SAYS Farm Cidre 2018: Capture the Sparkle Now!

#drinkingjapan #drinkjapan #cidre #saysfarm #toyama #himi

This week we turn our attention to Himi, Toyama Prefecture. Now, some of you may be asking yourselves, “Where is that?” Well, we trust that after you read this entry and try the beverage under review you will forever remember the name “Himi” and this outstanding cider produced by SAYS FARM.  First, we will answer the rhetorical question above and give our readers a little gratuitous information related to the city’s demographics. Himi is a fishing port on the Sea of Japan. Wikipedia gives the population as 43,995 in 2020, down from 60,883 in 1970. This somewhat precipitous decline could be partially reversed if more businesses like SAYS were to locate or relocate there and by so doing revitalize the local economy by attracting what might very well become a steady stream of gourmets and vinophiles, both domestic and foreign.

We will now discuss apples. Yes, apples again. To whom, do we owe a debt of gratitude for their ubiquity? (My, my, aren’t we waxing formal this week?) Simply put: it’s hats off to the horse! About 4,000 years ago, these apple-loving critters were eating the apples of what is now Kazakhstan, where the seeds were briefly reposited in their guts, and then running hither and yon and scattering—we promise, there will be no scat puns here—them through the distribution mechanism of defecation. We cannot say for sure exactly what color all of these apples were, but it is a good bet that they did not include the Granny Smith variety, which leads us to our next question: Who was this Granny Smith character, anyway? A former manager for The Beatles (their record company’s logo features one of them), a machine-gun toting moll from the early 1930s,…? No, nothing so exotic. She was simply Maria Ann Smith of New South Wales, Australia, a farmer’s wife who one day in the 19th century saw one of them growing on a compost heap.  

Now we will turn to the beverage under review. SAYS Farm Cidre 2018 is a blend containing the juice of Granny Smith apples, Fuji apples, and Le Lectier pears. Though we have tasted a number of ciders made from Fuji apples and Le Lectier pears, this was the first time we have tasted one with Granny Smith in the mix. The pear was clearly identifiable on the nose. The Granny Smith aroma was counterbalanced by the Fuji aroma, the net effect of which was to produce a complex apple aroma. Similarly, the palate was complex, but here the Granny Smith influence was a little more noticeable. The finish is long, and the abv is at 7%.

This is a traditional-method cider. The traditional method is what is used in Champagne and some other places to produce high-quality sparkling wine. It involves two fermentations, the second of which takes place in the bottle that goes to market. SAYS’ first fermentation is done at low temperatures and lasts for three months. The cider is lightly filtered. The second fermentation is done in the bottle at a temperature under 14°C and lasts for three months. The sparkle comes during the second fermentation, what the French refer to as “capturing the sparkle.” Our advice to our readers: Capture the sparkle in SAYS Farm Cidre 2018 by procuring a bottle as soon as possible!

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