Region: Basque Country
Apple Varietals: 80% Errezila 10% Urtebi Txikia 10% Txalaka
Pairing ideas: The juice is dry, funky, fresh, and distinctly Basque in character, it is traditionally paired with salt cod omelets and thick cuts of beef, but it can taste incredible alongside so many types of various cuisines.
About: In 2006, the Eguren family took their generations-old tradition of making apple cider to a new level, offering the guests at their agriturismo the experience of the wonderful nectar that came from their orchards on the property. In 2011, the gracious praise of their fans inspired them to expand towards the seriousness of their hobby, and with the addition of some extra land and some extra apples from their neighbors, they created Oiharte Sagardotegia, to make and sell cider for all who may want it. Located in the town of Goierri in Zerain, high in the north of Spain in Gipuzkoa-Euskadi (Basque Country), this lovely estate is farming organic apples in order to make traditional, bone-dry, Basque Cider. Haritz Eguren now fully dedicates his time to his passion of carrying on family tradition, obtaining a perfect blend of healthy local apples that never see the addition of chemicals or pesticides, in order to make his cider.
The Oiharte Sidra Natural is a blend of only three types of apples, compared to a mix of dozens of varieties that are allowed. This gives a purity and focus to the Oiharte ciders that is not always easy to find. Errezila, the most popular Basque apple for cider production, is predominately used because of its sharpness and its sweetness, and is accompanied by Urtebi (very tart) and Txalaka (sour and sweet) apples to give depth of flavor and complexity, while still remaining true to their piece of land. All the apples are gathered by hand, brought into the production room, washed, sorted (rotten apples are discarded), and crushed for juicing. Fermentation in stainless steel takes place for anywhere between 2 and 4 weeks, and bottling (without filtering) can begin in January and last up until the next harvest.