The Unique Taste of Natural Cider from the Basque Country

June 10, 2012

If you are looking for a unique way to experience the apple in liquid, fermented form, natural cider (sagardo naturala) from the Basque country is like no other hard cider. The sagardo naturala produced by Isastegi is dry and non-sparkling. Though, as illustrated on the label, the cider's importer, De Maison Selections, recommends that you pour this cider from "great height to break up the residual carbonic gas."

I agree with De Maison Selections' note that it is a cider with more bitterness than most other examples. It also seems to have a saline quality on the finish, almost like a light and dry sherry; possibly from the fermentation of the apples that takes place in large oak barrels. I can see it being a great match with fried cod, like the locals enjoy to ring in each harvest along with cod omelets and grilled steak, as De Maison Selections reports.

The Isastegi has got a lot of lively acidity, and each sip after a bite of crunchy fish would be like a refreshing squeeze of lemon. Or rather, a squeeze of juice from a very tart apple variety. This Basque cider would would also be great alongside these Must-Try Cornmeal Crusted Fish Tacos.