Hard Cider By Castle Hill

Cider gets the orange-wine treatment

We've long been fans of the orange-wine phenomenon–particularly the mind-bending examples from Friuli, Italy.

There, white wines are fermented underground for extended periods of time in large, egg-shaped clay vats, known as amphorae or kvevri.

As popular as the style has recently become, few could have predicted how it would be applied by John Rhett and Stuart Madany of Virginia's Castle Hill Cider.

Last February, Castle Hill's team imported eight kvevri and planted them on the grounds to create the initial batch of the innovative Levity bottling ($23 for 750 ml). Sourced from estate-grown Albemarle Pippin apples and aged four months on the lees, it is the first amphorae-fermented cider we've seen–and a fascinating domestic take on an age-old tradition.

The results are delightful. Although not as extreme as the genre's many grape-based examples, the Levity offers more body and richness than typical ciders, with just the gentlest telltale touch of funk.

The perfect complement to any autumn meal, the cider is exclusively available on the Castle Hill website. Be sure to grab a bottle before the Levity floats away.