While the natural wine movement continues to grow in the U.S., it has seemingly become the inspiration behind another adult beverage category’s latest release. Ornamental, the latest launch from Washington, D.C.-based ANXO dry cider brand, is made in the style of a natural wine but layered with flavor as it contains three different types of crabapples.
The difference, says Sam Fitz, co-founder and president of ANXO, is that while crabapples are sometimes used as an additive or flavor enhancer, they aren’t always the main event of a cider.
“These apples are usually only seen as useful pollinators in orchards, but we knew that we could develop them into something great. We decided to let the organisms on the apple skins do the fermenting in order to keep Ornamental a truly naturally fermented cider,” Fitz says.
To create Ornamental, the ANXO team used a specific blend of Hewe’s, Manchurian, and Burford’s red-fleshed crabapples sourced from various orchards in Virginia and fermented in wooden casks. Once ready, the cider has a high acidity and a perceived dry taste.
Ornamental is one of the brand’s select ciders that fall under the naturally-fermented category, as many of ANXO’s ciders are made with the addition of commercial yeasts, but remains naturally sugar-free, gluten-free and low in carbohydrates.