By Steve Selin, for Finger Lakes Cider House
July 23, 2015
Steve Selin is the main force behind South Hill Cider. He does every aspect of the work from fermentation to apple hunter and orchardist, to bookkeeper and delivery boy. Steve has no shortage of hats to wear as a family man and an active musician and luthier. After 10 years of cidermaking – using mostly apples from wild trees and from forgotten orchards, along with select apples from other local orchards – Steve planted his own orchard on Ithaca’s South Hill. South Hill Cider became officially licensed in 2013.
Cider Evolution in the FLX
Steve’s academic background in biology, soils and ecology informs both the orcharding work and the cidermaking. So how did Steve become a cidermaker? Living amongst a community of organic farmers, winemakers, orchardists, and foodies was the fertile ground that led Steve to cidermaking. He credits his 10 years of playing musical gigs at Finger Lakes wineries and collaborations with local cidermakers and winemakers as the main influences on his cidermaking. South Hill Ciders focus first on finding and growing the highest quality fruit. The ultimate goal is to be able to take the highest quality apples (and pears), to ferment them, and to present them in a bottle that expresses the time and place where they are from. Some barrels are fermented without inoculation of selected yeasts (sometimes called ‘natural’ or ‘wild’ fermentation), while most of the fermentations use yeasts selected for their ability to help the fruit to show through in the finished cider. The ciders are then carefully matured and bottled in time for the next year’s harvest.
The New Releases: Patina and Bluegrass Russet
The two ciders being released at Finger Lakes Cider House on Sunday (7/26/2015) show South Hill Cider’s philosophy of presenting ciders which showcase the fruit. Bluegrass Russet shows Golden Russet’s distinct character as an aromatic and rich, multipurpose apple. Patina showcases some of the English cider apples character with more spicy and complex aromas with medium-bodied tannic structure.