★★★Exceptional ★★Excellent ★Very Good
Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.
Look for Virginia Cider Week promotions at grocery stores, wine shops and restaurants throughout the commonwealth Nov. 9-18.
In the meantime, here are some local ciders worth seeking out. For availability, check each producer’s Web site — though Whole Foods Markets and Total Wine & More stores in Virginia are good bets.
Effervescent, crisp and winelike, it’s similar to a prosecco in style and body. Also recommended: First Fruit ($16) a bit more straightforwardly apple-like in its flavors, with a spicy edge.
Made from 30 apple varieties, including some favored by Thomas Jefferson, this is a rich, full-bodied cider. For something a bit lighter, try the palate-cleansing Royal Pippin ($16).
★★1 / 2
This delightfully refreshing sparkling cider is made from an apple variety developed and grown by Heyser Farms in Montgomery County. Proprietor Michael Cimino plans to open a tasting room at Heyser Farms Market in Silver Spring in December.
★★1 / 2
This cider is made from Albemarle Pippin apples, fermented and aged underground for four months in clay vessels called kvevri, traditionally used in winemaking in the Caucasus. This innovative treatment gives the cider a bit of a funky, earthy quality unlike the others. More traditional is the cleaner, delicious Celestial cider ($17), a popular stand-in for sparkling wine at wedding toasts at the Castle Hill property northeast of Charlottesville.