87 points

Frothy, with just a little bit of sweetness (it should get even drier as it sits in the bottle and continues to ferment), it smells and tastes of fresh apples, of course, but also of citrus peel and spring meadow (a combination of flowers, grass and earth). There is a little bit of a yeasty funk — in a good way — too. Oftentimes when cider is made from eating apples (rather than cider apples), the mouthfeel suffers. But the pet-nat style helps here with a creaminess brought about by time on the yeast.

Rich Olsen-Harbich, winemaker at Bedell Cellars, first made Long Island apple wine back in the 1980s at the long-defunct Bridgehampton Winery. Then, for many years, he didn’t — but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t thinking about it as the cider industry exploded in recent years.

“I’ve been inspired by lots of other cider makers over the years,” he told me in an email. “Autumn at Eve’s Cidery does a fantastic job.” But the man responsible for defining and writing Long Island’s three American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) has found further inspiration a bit further afield — the Pacific Northwest, where his daughter lives.

“There’s a huge cider scene out there as well and I get a chance to taste a lot of cider out there when we visit her.”

Bedell has a small orchard of 25 apple trees — mostly Macintosh — so with those earlier experiences working with apples and interest in cider, it was only a matter of time before Olsen-Harbich started a cider program at the winery. That first batch — made last spring — was a trial run that was only available by the glass at the winery’s Tap Room at Corey Creek tasting room. This fall, Olsen-Harbich bottled and labeled his Bedell cider for the first time.

“I wanted to put my own spin on the process — approach it from the perspective of a winemaker if you will — and do it with the Petillant Naturel approach,” he said, adding “My goal for cider is the same as I approach aromatic white wines — make something crisp and try and preserve as much fruit in the bottle as possible.”

Producer: Bedell Cellars
Apples: Macintosh, Gala, Empire and Idared
ABV: 8%
Price: $18 (750ml)




About Author

Lenn Thompson, a proud Pittsburgh, PA native, moved to Long Island more than a decade ago and quickly fell in love with the region’s dynamic and emerging wine community. A digital and content marketing and community professional by day, he founded NewYorkCorkReport.com in early 2004 to share his passion for the wines, beers and spirits of New York State. After running that site -- which became the premier source for independent New York wine commentary, reviews and news -- for 12 years, he launched TheCorkReport.us in late 2016 to add the wines of Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Vermont and beyond to his beat. Lenn currently serves as the wine columnist for The Suffolk Times weekly newspaper and is the former editor of the Long Island Wine Gazette. He contributes or has contributed to publications like Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Beverage Media, Edible Brooklyn, Edible East End and Edible Hudson Valley. Lenn served on the board of directors for Drink Local Wine, and is the creator and founder of TasteCamp, an annual regional wine immersion conference for writers and trade. An admitted riesling and cabernet franc fanatic, he’s intensely passionate about eating local and the many local wine regions of America. Lenn lives in Miller Place, NY with his wife Nena, son Jackson, daughter Anna and their dog, Casey Lemieux Thompson.

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