I signed the contract for my new block of land in Tassie. It is not Mt Everest but definitely in the foothills of it The weather and climate up there differ just a tad from those of Adelaide. Just a tad or a thousand.
I want to get a fancy astronomical telescope once settled there—be great conditions for viewing!
Going through my orders, adding up total tree numbers per variety, removing some that have dies and working out where to put the trees.
I have three Antoinette and three Cimetiere de Blangy French cider apples. These are used to make Calvados. But I can add more apples. The two trees are bittersweet apples but a range of types of apples are used, bitter, sharp and sweet. Bitter will be a tree to get next year, there are one or two. Bittersweet—could add some Dabinette (originally from Normandy so appropriate) Brown Snout etc. Sweet—some Golden Harvey but also some aromatic culinary apples. Tart—Granny Smith and Bramley’s Seedling but also Sturmer Pippin.
Some of these not French, oh well, neither am I, but gives a nice range. I found in my reading this morning that they also add or can add pears! Pears in apple brandy! Any ugly looking eating/cooking pears can go into the calvados then.
Growers of eating apples sweat bullets to ensure their apples look nice for the fickle public (more for the bloody supermarket chain buyers) but cider apple producers don’t give a stuff how their apples look as long as there is no rot in any of the fruit.
I can buy an Essencia Still (erk, not how they used to look: http://www.essencia.co.nz/Downloads/A56.pdf) or other still. I want a pot still to make brandy, maybe a 20L and a 5L one, double distill. Damn, Essencial stills used to come as a reflux still but easy enough to convert to a pot still.) Anyway, can get a pot still, distill the cider (fermented to dryness, natch, let it ferment naturally for max flavor then add say EC1111 yeast to ferment any unfermented sugars.
Rack the fermented-to-dryness cider, let it mature then double distill then age in wooden barrels (I have no idea of volume of brandy I can get, might have to age it in 5L glass carboy or 2L flagon with some oak chips in it.
Do you know brandy, all types, and whiskey, any wood aged spirit has an “angel’s share?” Bit hard to do this in glass! Probably rack to clean carboys once or twice, will add some useful oxygenation and “angel’s share.” Anyway, that is a few years away yet tho will practice with any fruit (incl peach, cherry, red and black currants) that looks yuck but is sound) to get an idea of volume of distilate, how the spirit matures. If it is nasty—reflux distill it to make pure alcohol, useful for cleaning etc.
Depending on space etc next year I might add two trees:
1.Belle de Boskoop, a triploid cooking variety, from, of course, Holland.
2. Court Pendu Plat. Slicing this is like slicing cheddar cheese. Very old variety, still pretty close to the apple brought into Europe by the Romans. Mentioned in a document dating to the 1400s. The great grand daddy of all the apples I have. A mere grandfather—Esopus Spitzenburg, Jefferson’s favorite apple, one parent of Jonathan which is a likely parent of King David which in turn is a likely parent of Winesap.
Cider is the parent of apple brandy of course, looking forward to doing some distilling! Double distill. Hoping to have enough to get 2-3litres/qts of spirit a year. I have one 20L oak barrel, want to get 2-3 more. Will see if 5 & 10L barrels are available but am happy to keep 2-3 year spirituous output in demijohns/flagons until a 10L or 20L barrel can be filled and stowed away for 3 years, some withdrawn for bottling and fresh apple brandy added. Then do this every year.
6 trees of traditional calvados varieties, parts of 3-4 tarts can be added, part of 2–3 sweets and any pears too yuck to eat or cook can also be added. Gonna be fun!
Cider vinegar is not made from [hard] cider but directly from applejuice. Will buy a vinegar mother when I am settled and the trees bearing lots of fruit any juice a bit blah can be turned to vinegar.
As well as two quince, one pomegranate and the Granny Smith one pear, Doyenne to Comice (favorite or best on the market) needs to be treated like the pop star it is. A walled garden sounds better and better! HOW to make one I dunno yet!
Bene reading a bit more about Calvados. Next year will buy one more tree, a Frequin rouge. Small apples, bitter apples (not bittersweet.) That leaves room for two more trees in my “orchard.” A sweet and a tart, I think.
Somewhere in the book it mentions weight of fruit, volume of juice, volume of spirit. I would not mind buying another Golden Harvey and dedicate it to calvados—not only is it a sweet it has a LOT of sugar: most apple juice is OG around 1050, GH has an OG around 1085. Golden Harvey are small apples, just like Normandy apples used for cider and calvados. Leaves me one extra apple tree to get—will scour the list of Calvados apples and match with what is available here. If I can’t find such a tree or am underwhelmed by it I will just buy another Golden Harvey!
Once the trees are grown—fertiliser will hardly ever be applied. Let the trees struggle and produce small apples with LOTS of flavor! Climate of the new block should help, LOL!
Will buy some smaller oak casks—French oak for calvados seems right! 3-4 5L casks, maybe a 10L cask or two—whoever inherits my estate should be happy! These casks are made from big wine barrels past their economic use, the wood shaved down to solid wood. A couple more 20L casks too, eventually for beer, mead and cider.
Can you imagine my cellar? Cobwebbed bottles, barrels here and there with cryptic marks chalked on their fronts. The odd bottle exploded granting a rich rich if slightly sour/musty aroma.
Around the corner, boxes of potatoes, carrots and swedes etc, around a further corner, boxes of “keeping” apples, jars of applesauce, applebutter, applejuice (ditto pears) etc.
Rein des Hatives is a sweet French cider apple—go with the two bittersweet calvados aplles, add Frequin Rouge, a bitter cider apple and Blanchette, buy the latter two next year.
Working out tree positions, allowing 3.5m space per tree on the espalier when looking at an order i remembered some trees are dwarf trees, need just 2m spaing on the espalier. Hmmm I allowed 3.5m per tree, two trees between posts, 7m between posts. Do I need some posts spaced differently? Nah. Space at 2.3m = 3 trees between posts, 30cm more space for the dwarf trees.
Just a nice complication I don’t need. Oh well, more trees can be posted or rows spread a bit more. Calvados region within Normandy has some elevation, highest part over 300m. Latitude 49.1213° N, my block about 7° closer to the equator but at higher elevation. Rainfall maybe more in Calvados, similar spread throughout the year. My Calvados, cider and brandy, should be OK.
Use McIntosh and Cox Orange Pippin to make up the aromatic, some Granny Smith (half its heritage is French Tart after all) to boost the tart component—and pay homage to the US, UK, Australian, Free French etc soldiers who landed on the Normandy beaches and liberated western Europe.