PIORRAÍ Irish Sparkling Perry 37.50cl, Mark Jenkinson

€4,95

Minimum Purchase 3 half bottles

'Say hello to our new Irish Sparkling Perry Piorraí ...that's the #Irish for Pears in case you're wondering, and what the French call #poiré  - It's rare stuff! Made exclusively from Irish grown French Perry pear varieties 'Plant de blanc' and 'Poire de cloche'. It's has a delicate floral nose unique to Perry, is 6% vol. crisp and refreshing with the full flavour of a classic dry Perry, oh, and it's delicious too...could easily give a decent #Prosecco a run for its money on a bad day' Mark Jenkinson 

 

Mark Jenkinson, Cockagee Cider – Slane, County Meath

Mark is growing 120+ varieties of apple across 12 acres of an orchard, the apples are all hand-picked and all his fruit goes into his products but he does purchase some supplementary apples, carefully sourced, as some of his own trees are still quite young.

'Mark’s approach to cider is just like that of a winemaker, merely substituting grapes for apples. He’s particular about his process and precise in approach – his cider all comes from 100% apple juice, no other ingredients added. Whereas the big business cider-producing brands in this part of the world are making cider with probably 30% apple juice to begin with. Also, from pip to sip, any apple waste is repurposed by using it as compost in the orchard or being given to neighbour John McDonnell at Shalvanstown biodynamic farm as cattle feed.

Into natural, skin contact wine? Why wouldn’t you be into skin contact cider? Mark macerates his pressed apple pomace after the apples have been milled and they sit with their skins overnight (cuvage) to extract colours and tannins, whilst also facilitating the keeving process. As it sits, pectin leaches out and pectin is essential to the keeving process, because yeast is not added. As, you see, for keeving, nothing is ever added –– no water, no sugar, nothing but apple, so it’s pure and artisanal and romantic, but also hard work. So keeving produces a naturally-fermented (sparkling) alcoholic drink made from apple.

It’s a hands-on business, which is why it’s almost died out commercially in this part of the continent. Mark actually only does this over a six-week period in the Autumn when harvest happens, and it happens quite slowly too. The process, which gets its name from the ‘cheese’ racks it uses, involves tiered racks on a cloth press which dates back to Roman times. Each pressing is slow, taking 20 minutes to fully press the pomace. Gravity actually also plays a pivotal role in the process, as no pumps are used. A split happens with gel forming on top of what’s pressed (trapping the yeast within) and a concentrated apple juice underneath. This is – with gravity – poured off and then the clear apple juice allowed to continue to its naturally fizzy, fermented destiny. Other ciders, Mark explains, ferment down to a much drier taste, but this way the resulting taste isn’t dry.

It’s a slow, gentle process. Wild yeast fermentation. Slow to capture and keep the colour and flavour. Some UK mills are still doing this, but no one else in Ireland is. It’s still a process that’s widely used in northern France, and over the years it’s become known as a ‘Normandy’ style drink –– but this is how cider was always made before it became commercially mass-produced in Ireland and the UK.' Patrick and Russell, the Gastrogays.ie