Looking to revamp your wine collection this year? Maybe you’ve already tried all of the classic natural red wine and natural white wines we have to offer. Or, maybe you’re just looking for something new and unique to gift a friend for their birthday. Whatever your reason may be, we guarantee it’s the perfect time to try out one of our natural cider wines.
Now, you may be asking, “Wait, is it cider or is it wine?” Our answer is, emphatically: yes!
Our selection of natural cider wine blends (or co-ferments) take the distinct fruity & acid driven characteristics of apples & pears and use them in the same process as our traditional natural red wines and natural white wines. The end result is a beautiful blend of flavors that precariously balance the line between cider and wine. A roller coaster of fruit, acidity, texture, and freshness.
This may be the first time you’re hearing about cider wine, and we aren’t surprised. Although ciders are increasingly popular in European countries like England, Ireland, France, and Spain, the concept of natural cider wine is still relatively new to American consumers. Or, if you have heard of cider before it’s most likely been in the context of being an alternative to beer (more on that later). So, although the concept of cider wine may be new to you, we encourage you not to let that deter you from trying one of our unique natural cider wine blends and co-ferments this year!
What is Cider Wine?
Put simply, cider wine is a wine made from apples and / or pears along with grapes. Unlike traditionally fermented wines which use only grapes, cider wines use the flavor notes of fruits from the juice of apples and pears to change and develop the overall flavor of wine. Because cider is commonly sold as an alternative to beer, there is a common misconception that it is brewed just like beer is. However, that is incorrect. The process of making cider — which includes naturally-occuring and present yeast and fruit juice — is actually more similar to that of the wine-making process. So, contrary to popular belief, cider is actually technically considered a wine (hence our extensive selection of Jumbo Time Wines natural cider wine varietals).
How We Make Cider Wine
We make our natural cider wine two different ways: either as blends or as co-ferments. For our cider wine blends, we separately ferment pressed apple or pear juice and blend the juice with still red or white wine, right before the fruit juice goes dry (aka with a little residual sugar remaining from fermentation). We then bottle the blended cider wine and let it finish its fermentation in the bottle which results in a naturally sparkling cider wine!
As for our co-ferments, we pick grapes and foot-tread them (we promise we wash our feet first) and pour freshly pressed apple or pear juice over the crushed grapes. We let fermentation of grapes and fruit juice go until it’s dry (aka no more sugar left in the fermentation) and from there we put it in a press and move the juice to neutral french oak barrels where they hang out for a year until they are bottled!
Why We Love Cider Wine
At Jumbo Time Wines, we’re proud to offer an extensive selection of natural cider wine. From a co-ferment of Bartlett pear & Carignan to a blend of Zinfandel & Gravenstein Apples, our natural cider wines feature fruit forward flavors that are dry and textured. But, the love we have for our natural cider wine collection goes deeper than the mouth-watering flavors. Like everything done at Jumbo Time Wines, our natural cider wine collection is made with intention, to benefit both farmers and consumers alike.
Buying apples and pears lets our team further support our farmers, who don’t grow just grapes. In our opinion, the more products we can buy from them, the better! Plus, grapes in California (and around the world) are becoming increasingly more susceptible to fire & drought. By introducing other fruits into our natural wines, we’re able to diversify our inventory and bring new and interesting beverages to local dinner tables and picnic blankets, while being able to support our farmers 100%.! Even though the majority of our natural wine production is grape-focused, we feel we’re in a unique position to show our customers that you can have thoughtful, quality, and affordable options beyond traditional grape wine.
Because natural cider wine is still a new category for American consumers, there’s a common misconception that cider wines are sweet and don’t have the potential to offer the dry/off-dry flavor that is commonly found in certain red wines and white wines. We’re here to debunk that myth. At Jumbo Time Wines, our natural cider wine flavors and tasting notes vary exponentially, ranging from dry to tart to fruity, and everything in between!
Our Best Natural Cider Wines
- New Kid — Our first single estate pear-grape wine, New Kid embodies the classic natural cider wine essence. With flavor notes of grape and fresh pear juice with hints of pink-peppercorn and woodsy herbs, this natural cider wine is fruity, dry, and perfect to drink on a crisp fall night.
- Hot Tub — With tart, cherry-like notes and a slight chalkiness from the apples, Hot Tub is one of our 50/50 co-ferments that drinks like a medium bodied natural red wine. Because the grapes in this natural wine are bathed in apple juice, the resulting natural cider wine is crunchy like a pinot, but with a fresh, orchard-like essence.
- Trick or Treat — Perfect for those looking for something a little lighter and a little more bubbly, Trick or Treat is the perfect blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Barlett pears. With a lightly sparkling texture, this natural cider wine tastes like grapefruit and green fruit. Crisp and refreshing, we recommend drinking this natural wine cold.
- Story Time — Made with apple juice and a hint of dry-farmed Zinfandel, Story Time smells like sour watermelons and tastes like refreshing iced herbal tea and orchard fruit. With a slight fizzy texture, this natural cider wine is perfect to bring to the park for sunset or afternoon drinking.
Still not sure which of our natural cider wines is perfect for you? Shop the full collection here.
*but we’re biased!