Cidernaut guide to Germany
Cider (Ebbelwoi/Apfelwein/Viez etc.) in Germany
This page is for information on the cider tradition of Germany.
I'm just back from the greater Stuttgart area and there are some fine ciders around the south of the Schwabische region. I have brought back a couple of bottles from a tasting in the beautiful university city of Tubingen which should slip down a treat! The producer is Jorg Geiger, web address is www.champagner-bratbirne.de. The cider is a mix of apples and perry pears. There's a great Schwabische restaurant on the outskirts of the city of Tubingen that serves draught farmhouse cider - quite lovely. They also do a sort-of equivalent to bottle-conditioned perry called birnenschaumwein, which I am also looking forward to trying. There's quite a cider tradition thereabouts. My friend's father takes his cider apples to a communal pressing house and receives fermented pulp back in proportion to the apples contributed. I tried some of his cider and it too was very fine indeed. I cannot quite recall the regional expression for 'scrumpy', but they do have such a word. There's no real cider to be found in Stuttgart itself, to my knowledge and it is all too apparent that the locals have, until very recently, had no idea that this bounty might have market value! They're catching on, though...
Appears to be a cider producing area of Germany next to Luxembourg and France
Luxemburg is a separate country, of course, but I think this is the best place to start and entry until it gets its own page. Cider and perry production in Luxemburg, like wine-making and brewing, is closer to the German pattern than to that of any of the other surrounding countries.
The Mosel valley, marking the South-Eastern border with Germany, is totally dominated by vineyards, producing the Luxemburg Mosel appellation. North of Wasserbillig, however, the border is marked by the River Sauer. The geology and orientation of the slopes here are much more suited to orchards. The slopes above the Sauer, the rolling farmland either side of the Mullerthal (Miller's Dale), and the foothills of the Ardennes are sprinkled with apple, pear, plum and cherry orchards.
Luxemburg cider and perry are not particularly distinct in character, but they are quite acceptable, mostly medium dry in character, clean on the palate. The model seems to be the local wines, and they certainly go well in the same contexts. While camping, we enjoyed chilled cider and perry, both with the superb Ardennes ham, and with smoked horse meat - both excellent combinations. I never came across farm sales of cider, but the locally-owned Cactus supermarket chain always stocks Luxemburg cider and perry and usually has a fair selection. Obviously, all the local cider and perry is from fairly small producers.
A number of local artisan cider producers turn cider and perry into spirits and liqueurs. The general term in Luxemburg for traditional local spirits is Ugemachten Drepp. This is usually, but not always, apple-based. As in Normandy, apple and pear spirits are added back to unfermented juice to make liqueurs, although the finished product is quite unlike anything Norman. Usually both spirits and liqueurs are sold by varietal name, e.g. Poires Williams. A word of warning: Luxemburg local spirits are much stronger than German or even French couterparts, starting at 45% alcohol, and going a good deal higher. It is not a good idea to accept a tasting if driving.
Good local producers:
Emil Richard, of Christnach/Chresnach, near Larochette, sells a wide range of apple and pear spirits and liqueurs, as well as some plum and cherry. His distinctive Ugemachten Drepp is a distillate from apple pulp, cores, skin, etc., remaining after cider production - the apple equivalent of a marc brandy, and with the same pronounced dryness.
Aloys Adhem, of Moersdorf, near Wasserbillig, sells a good range of apple and pear spirits. His Ugemachten Drepp is, however, distilled from walnuts.
More information on outlets and producers please