This is our third year producing a cider rested on spent grapes, now one of my favorite projects. For this year’s, we picked up Sangiovese grapes post-pressing from Southold Cellars, then rested three heirloom varieties – Northern Spy, Ben Davis, and Rhode Island Greening – on the grape skins for eight days. The cider was then aged in neutral tanks for 10 months, undergoing a natural malolactic fermentation, which softens the edges.
Finished bone dry, this Grafter Rosato also picked up a little bit of the good funk – slight Brettanomyces, or “Brett” – from the grape skins. Brett is a cousin yeast to the usual yeast we rely on in cider, beer and wine production: Saccharomyces cerevisiae. With its subtle presence here, it adds a pleasing amount of barnyard, earthy notes, bringing a lovely complexity.
Grafter Rosato gets its name after the Italian word for rosé and a nod to the grape’s origins.