Traditional natural “Sidra” from the Asturias region of northern Spain is a drink that one either likes upon first contact or slowly recoils from due to its assertive and unique character. At The Cider Journal, we fall into the former category and recommend that those with an adventurous palate seek out these beautiful ciders straight away.
(MOVE TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS ARTICLE TO FIND LINKS TO REVIEWS OF ASTURIAN CIDERS)
The province of Asturias is located in the northwestern part of Spain, bordered by the Bay of Biscay to the north, Cantabria to the east, Leon to the south and the province of Lugo to the South. In this rugged, mountainous region where rain fell more heavily and the grape did not fair as well as in the Spanish basin to the south, the cultivation of the apple took hold and with it the tradition of cidermaking.
The first mention of Spanish cider comes from the Greek geographer and philosopher, Strabo, who in the first century BC recorded that ““the Asturians have a drink they call Zythos, made from fermented apple juice.”
Today the overwhelming majority of Spanish cider (Sidra in Spanish) is produced in the Asturias region, with a notable amount coming from the Basque region. Thanks to importers like Ciders of Spain, more and more of this unique beverage, along with new “next generation” Spanish ciders are available to us here in the states.
The traditional profile of Asturian cider is a tangy, musty, refreshing drink that is defined by its high volatile acidity and its acetic acid. In common parlance, there is a vinegar quality to Asturian cider. They are dry and low in alcohol, usually 5% to 6%. Additionally, these ciders are almost all cloudy to one degree or another due to no fining or filtration prior to bottling. It is not unusual to find “floaters” of dead yeast in the bottle
The production technique is remarkably simple: Pick, crush, press, ferment, bottle. Indigenous yeast is always the source of the fermentation.
Additionally, there is not something coming out of Asturias that has been called “Nueva Expresión” Cider or New Generation. These new generation Asturian ciders can be still, slightly sparkling or fully effervescent in the style of champagne. However, they tend to be dry, possess fine clarity and somewhat less of the typical sour note carried by the traditional bottlings.
Below Are Six Asturian Ciders We Recommend at the Cider Journal—click to read the full reviews