Best Thing We Ate
Best Thing We Drank: Devoto Orchards Cider from Sebastopol
The Gist: You may have tasted this cider from the adorable white camper parked inside at Eat Drink SF over the first weekend of August. But if not, you should seek out Devoto Orchards Cider, a family-owned farm and cidery. Dad (Stan Devoto) tends the orchards of over 100 apple varieties he's planted since 1976, all exclusively California-grown, certified organic apples. Daughter (Jolie) is cider maker and marketing guru, making cider alongside her husband, Hunter Wade, who, along with Jolie, studied Basque ciders and cider making in Spain (think dry, sometimes wonderfully funky styles of cider). They both work with head cider maker, Rick Davis, who also has a long history in winemaking.
The Ciders: Devoto makes three ciders: 1976, an homage to the year Stan and his wife Susan moved the family from Berkeley to Sebastopol to work the land, farm and plant heirloom apple orchards. The 1976 cider is a semi-dry blend made from 17 of the original apple varieties they planted in the '70s — it's creamy, complex and ripe. Cidre Noir is a crisp, dry blend with herbaceous notes blending bold Arkansas Black and Black Twig apples with a handful of other apple varieties. Save the Gravenstein heralds the long history (back to 1812) of the region's most famous apples, the Gravensteins, which used to be plentiful but have been mostly replaced by vineyards. This cider is made from 90% Gravensteins, semi-dry and heavy on the acidity, balanced by caramelized apple and spice notes.
Food Pairings: The 1976 pairs well with heat, from spicy Asian dishes to BBQ. The Noir is delicious with burgers, pizza, pasta. Save the Gravenstein's crispness is lovely with seafood, both fish and shellfish.