“Delicately sparkling from the natural keeving art of fermentation. Off-dry, smoothly textured and very fresh and refined” Liam Campbell, The Irish Independent
“Mark Jenkinson has been producing his wonderful unique Cockagee for a few years, using traditional varieties grown in Meath. This keeved cider is naturally carbonated, unfiltered with a natural sweetness”. John Wilson, The Irish Times.
MARK JENKINSON, CIDER MILL LANE - Slane, Co. Meath
Mark is growing 120+ varieties of apple across his 12 acres orchard located near the town of Slane. Apples are grown without the use of chemicals and are hand-picked.
Mark makes his cider using the Keeving method, an ancient process which isn’t the easiest thing in the world to explain as it is more intuitive than an exact science and has taken Mark almost 10 seasons of cidermaking to master.
Many ciderist’s regard it as an Art form and the pinnacle of the cidermakers skill, however he would personally put it down to perseverance and attention to detail.
It is a technique whereby apples are milled and left in the fresh air overnight, they are then gently pressed and the cloudy apple juice is clarified by a natural pectin gel which traps any particles and impurities, this gel then rises to the surface of the juice by the action of yeasts, leaving a crystal clear and clean apple juice to be syphoned off from underneath the gel into another tank ready for fermentation. The fermentation then commences at an imperceptibly slow rate over a period of 6 to 8 months or more. It is then hand bottled and further matured for a minimum of 6 months before release.
The whole concept of this technique is to produce a cider with naturally retained fruit sugars along with the intense apple flavours and aromas from the original apple must. This results in a naturally sparkling and ‘living’ cider that has not been filtered, pasteurised, sweetened or force carbonated at the bottling stage. Mark is the only person in Ireland producing cider in that way.
The name Cockagee refers to the once famous Irish Cider Cockagee first mentioned in 1664. Originating from the Irish language ‘Cac a gheidh’ which translates as ‘goose turds’ and refers to the yellow/green colour of the fruit from the Cockagee apple tree. This once famous Irish cider was often referred to as Champagne Cider and compared to the finest French wines.
Although Cockagee apple trees are thought to be extinct, Mark is almost certain he has found some specimen and have started the project of replanting 40 to 50 trees in his orchard.