I first met Josh Morgenthau in New York City, during the New York City Cider Week celebration. Something clicked right away, with the first sip of Treasury Cider. It was passion.

Treasury Cider’s Josh Morgenthau

Apples don’t leave a lot to hide behind. There isn’t a lot of alcohol or heavy tannin. There isn’t an overabundance of fruit. This is why there is so much cloyingly sweet cider out there – it is a mask.

Don’t get me wrong, I love sweet and semi-sweet cider and wine. However, they must have complexity, depth and fruit to balance the sweetness.

The cider I tasted from Treasury, Counterpane, was an excellent example. Made from a blend of cider apples with the wonderful Porter’s Perfection and Brown Snout leading the way, it had both body and fruit to match.

Even back then, in November, we already discussed a visit, and though the winter is not the most “picturesque” season in the orchard, I was looking forward to a nice drive to the Hudson Valley.

Fishkill Farms has a long history in Hudson Valley, founded by Henry Morgenthau in 1913. Its orchards, on the hills of the valley, are a picturesque mix of old and young trees, with the ancient apple trees just steps away from the young, densely planted and trellised dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties.

My wife and I met with Josh and Stacy Dedring (the assistant cider maker) in the morning, and began by taking a tour of the cidery. The press alone is worth the visit, a 100-year old press that was originally used to press steel, it towers above the bins of fresh apples. I cannot wait to see it in action, perhaps next fall.

We then “walked” (hopped, skipped and climbed) over to the barrel room. Josh has several interesting blends in the barrel, the old wood adding a roundness to the cider, and the two we tried from the barrels show lots of promise. The final blending, of course, will determine much of the character, but the purity of fruit and the floral depth of both blends was encouraging.

My favorite part was, of course, a drive (and a walk) through the orchard. Covered in snow, the old trees looked sleepy but happy. It is hard to describe in words, but I can just tell these trees are loved and cared for. Standing on a ridge, looking down a row of old apple trees, to the “big barn”… if you haven’t visited Fishkill Farms yet… the Spring season is almost here.

Fishkill Farms Cider is named “Treasury” as an homage to Henry Morgenthau Jr., who served as Secretary of the Treasury under FDR.

We tasted through the lineup, including some recent releases, together with Stacy. My top three were the Burr Knot, the Centennial and the Counterpane (the 2018 uses cherry as well as apple).

The “Burr Knot” is the most “geeky” of the three, with a nose of donut peach, bright and ripe, tannic acidic mid-palate that broadens toward she back showing a nuttier, riper side. The finish is moderately long with green almond and zest.

The “Counterpane” Cider – a deep pink with an orange hue, is a pure pleasure. An earthy, cherry and strawberry nose leads to a bright, fresh palate of red berry, mint and nutmeg. There are light notes of herbs on the back palate that give structure to the cider, leading to a spicy and fresh finish.

My favorite was the “Centennial”; the most “classically” built dry cider of the bunch. It opens with a yeasty, red apple skin and apricot nose, leading to a ripe grapefruit mid, with orange zest and a good tannic grip toward the back. The finish is long, zesty and with rustic tannin, adding to the depth and complexity of this cider.

About Author

Mikhail was born in Ukraine, during the Soviet Union and moved to the United States with his family as a teenager. He grew up in Queens, where he still resides with his wife and son. He’s an adjunct professor of comparative literature at Queens College and John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He became interested in wine in the early 2000s and quickly joined the online community as well as the busy New York City crowd. His personal wine journey began with the love for German Rieslings, but it has evolved into an appreciation for various styles of wine – from the cooler climates like the northeast to the sherries of Southern Spain. While he enjoys writing and tasting wines, his true passion is photography. He is never without his trusty Nikon, trying to capture the emotion of the moment. He is passionate about the local culture and especially the farms, wineries and breweries of the northeast.

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