I signed the contract for my new block of land in Tassie. It is not Mt Everest but definitely in the foothills of it The weather and climate up there differ just a tad from those of Adelaide. Just a tad or a thousand.
I want to get a fancy astronomical telescope once settled there—be great conditions for viewing!
Going through my orders, adding up total tree numbers per variety, removing some that have dies and working out where to put the trees.
I have three Antoinette and three Cimetiere de Blangy French cider apples. These are used to make Calvados. But I can add more apples. The two trees are bittersweet apples but a range of types of apples are used, bitter, sharp and sweet. Bitter will be a tree to get next year, there are one or two. Bittersweet—could add some Dabinette (originally from Normandy so appropriate) Brown Snout etc. Sweet—some Golden Harvey but also some aromatic culinary apples. Tart—Granny Smith and Bramley’s Seedling but also Sturmer Pippin.
Some of these not French, oh well, neither am I, but gives a nice range. I found in my reading this morning that they also add or can add pears! Pears in apple brandy! Any ugly looking eating/cooking pears can go into the calvados then.
Growers of eating apples sweat bullets to ensure their apples look nice for the fickle public (more for the bloody supermarket chain buyers) but cider apple producers don’t give a stuff how their apples look as long as there is no rot in any of the fruit.
I can buy an Essencia Still (erk, not how they used to look: http://www.essencia.co.nz/Downloads/A56.pdf) or other still. I want a pot still to make brandy, maybe a 20L and a 5L one, double distill. Damn, Essencial stills used to come as a reflux still but easy enough to convert to a pot still.) Anyway, can get a pot still, distill the cider (fermented to dryness, natch, let it ferment naturally for max flavor then add say EC1111 yeast to ferment any unfermented sugars.
Rack the fermented-to-dryness cider, let it mature then double distill then age in wooden barrels (I have no idea of volume of brandy I can get, might have to age it in 5L glass carboy or 2L flagon with some oak chips in it.
Do you know brandy, all types, and whiskey, any wood aged spirit has an “angel’s share?” Bit hard to do this in glass! Probably rack to clean carboys once or twice, will add some useful oxygenation and “angel’s share.” Anyway, that is a few years away yet tho will practice with any fruit (incl peach, cherry, red and black currants) that looks yuck but is sound) to get an idea of volume of distilate, how the spirit matures. If it is nasty—reflux distill it to make pure alcohol, useful for cleaning etc.
Depending on space etc next year I might add two trees:
1.Belle de Boskoop, a triploid cooking variety, from, of course, Holland.
2. Court Pendu Plat. Slicing this is like slicing cheddar cheese. Very old variety, still pretty close to the apple brought into Europe by the Romans. Mentioned in a document dating to the 1400s. The great grand daddy of all the apples I have. A mere grandfather—Esopus Spitzenburg, Jefferson’s favorite apple, one parent of Jonathan which is a likely parent of King David which in turn is a likely parent of Winesap.
Cider is the parent of apple brandy of course, looking forward to doing some distilling! Double distill. Hoping to have enough to get 2-3litres/qts of spirit a year. I have one 20L oak barrel, want to get 2-3 more. Will see if 5 & 10L barrels are available but am happy to keep 2-3 year spirituous output in demijohns/flagons until a 10L or 20L barrel can be filled and stowed away for 3 years, some withdrawn for bottling and fresh apple brandy added. Then do this every year.
6 trees of traditional calvados varieties, parts of 3-4 tarts can be added, part of 2–3 sweets and any pears too yuck to eat or cook can also be added. Gonna be fun!