Apples. In Smiltenes cider we use traditional Northern Latvian apple varieties, such as Antanovka, Sipolins, Vidzeme zelta renete and Serinka, and of course a pinch of wild apple to make a perfect taste. These apple varieties are characterized by good sugar levels, medium to high acid levels and low on Tannin. Wild apples also add a small increase in the level of tannin.
Juicing. The apple are collected in late October and November after the first frosts. The apples are then sorted, crushed and hand pressed on site.
Fermentation. The apple juice is fermented in our cider cellar at an ambient temperature and stored in our 650 Litre stainless steel containers. During the first fermentation we add white wine/champagne yeast, however we sometimes allow for natural fermentation. To make our sparkling cider we use labour intensive methode tradionelle technique. The cider is then poured into Champagne shaped bottles, a pinch of sugar syrup, and fresh Champagne yeast is added. The bottles are then sealed and stored in our cellar for between 3 and 9 months. Whilst in the bottle a second natural fermentation will take place in the bottles ensuring long and lasting bubbles to bring out the true character of the cider..
Our cider making is very seasonal. Juice is pressed in late autumn, and during the winter the cider ferments and ages. In spring when the apple blossom is formed on the trees, the cider is ready for drinking and is ideally drunk during those lazy, warm summer and autumn evenings