Realising it has been a while since I wrote a longer piece to you I wanted to share some things about the 2021 vintage that, at the time of writing, we’re in the last stages of finishing in our winery.
On the 2021 Brännland Iscider
When we started extraction of the sweet juice from the frozen early in the season we were hit with cold weather. Not that the weather isn’t commonly cold in the taiga belt of northern Sweden in January and February but even with our own yardstick it was chilly. Night time temperatures around or below 30 degrees centigrade.
A hard freeze will concentrate the sugars in the juice and the first runs of extract came out exceptionally sweet. A little over a quarter of the vintage at around 50 brix sugar concentration or 500 grams of sugar per liter.
After all that sugar was taken out, the remaining materials were significantly dryer and so the span in starting sugar between the sweetest and the dryest juice is wider than it’s ever been.
I should mention that ”dry” in the Brännland Iscider universe reads as between 25 and 30 brix starting sugar which, in most other dimensions, is still plenty of sugar, but for us anything below 30 Brix is not adherent to the definition set in Canada for ice cider.
The material was good quality, round, clear and balanced with exceptionally high acidity across the board. Fermentations were slow but clean and largely free of issues. Two thirds of the 2021 vintage is fermented using the wild yeast succession in our juices. We’ve started working proactively with wild ferments in the last few years and the profile of our wines is changing accordingly.
As a result of the cold weather the 2021 ice cider is, technically, our sweetest one to date. The 2012 had 180 grams of residual sugar per liter. The 2021 looks to be bottled at 200 grams plus although our blend is not yet finalized. As a comparison the 2019 had 140 grams of sugar per liter.
Yet, we feel that the 2021 retains elegance and balance despite being an exceptionally powerful, muscular wine. It will keep going from this year, in which I turn fifty years old, until well after I am not around anymore. That’s really above and beyond what any winemaker can ask for.
Finally, for those of you who have read this, really appreciated the ligher style of ice cider showcased by the 2019 as opposed to the sweetness of the 2021, and despaired a little please don’t worry, we have a wine for you too.
From the very small 2020 vintage came something, almost by accident, that we were so happy with we decided to explore the style further in 2021. Both the 2020 and the 2021 bottlings of this wine will satisfy that need we all have for elegance and balance, for when we want to drink a sweet wine that is also refreshing. The 2020 will be released in August and the 2021 in the course of the autumn.
Andreas Sundgren, founder, Brännland Iscider