Natural cider: the production process

At Aburuza we work every day to make high quality natural cider. And for guaranteed success we’ve brought on board Xabier Kamio, a highly respected oenologist.

As a cider house we are highly innovative; we have modern installations and machinery thanks to which the quality of our cider is assured. The traceability system we work to is essential in being able to control our natural cider production. From the way we grow our raw material, apples, to their harvest and selection, until the final product you can taste at our cider house.

 

The apples

Harvesting starts in mid-September and ends in early November. Each variety matures at a different speed, meaning that not all are harvested at the same time. Another important aspect, the weather, determines whether the apples ripen earlier or later.

Washing

At Aburuza we know the enormous importance of cleanliness, not only of the apples themselves, but of the entire process. First, the apples are washed with water to remove the dirt. Once separated from the dirty water, they pass through a sort of tunnel where pressurised water jets give them a thorough cleaning.

Selection

Once the apples have been well washed, they are loaded onto a conveyor belt for selection. Here any apples not in perfect condition are discarded. The whole process is done by hand.

Crushing

After selection, the apples are loaded into the crushing machine and roughly crushed. The machine is adjusted to suit the harvest: the riper the apples, the bigger we want the pieces to be and the greener the apples the smaller the pieces. It is very important not to crush the apple seeds as this would give the cider a harsh flavour.

Press

Once the apples have been crushed, they are pressed to extract the must. Here again the pieces are only lightly pressed, making sure not to crush the seeds, as we said previously. The resulting must is then tested for acidity, pH, sugar and tannin.

Decanting

The reason for decanting is to naturally separate the solid particles from the must. By decanting (at 10-12ºC)we slow the fermentation process and can then proceed to decant the must.During the decanting time (16-24 hours) the solids sink to the bottom. We then pour the decanted must into another tank for its fermentation.

Fermentation

This is when the sugar in the must transforms into alcohol. Temperature is a very important factor in fermentation. The colder the apple juice, the slower the fermentation and the lower the loss of carbonic acid, essential for quality cider.

Racking

After fermentation, the racking process begins. This technique consists of mixing different natural ciders with one another. This will give our natural cider the desired blend and balance.

Txotx

The ritual known as "txotx" is when guests get up from the table, glass in hand, and make their way to one of the barrels, where they are served cider directly from the spigot. In a convivial atmosphere, the cider-maker alternately opens different barrels to allow guests to taste the cider from each one.

Bottling

The bottling process is almost 100% automatic. Our modern bottling line can turn out 3,000 bottles an hour.

How to drink cider

Before opening a bottle of cider, we recommend that you turn it upside down and give it a shake. This will dilute the lees or sediment remaining in the bottle. Cider should be consumed at a cool temperature in the region of 10ºC. It should be poured from a height into a thin-walled, wide-mouthed glass, splashing it against the side and serving just the amount you intend to drink for full enjoyment of its aromatic properties. Cheers!

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