It’s shaping up to be a busy season for Argus Cidery.
First, their newest cider will be released this upcoming weekend. Designed specifically for summer sipping, the Idalou Brut is composed of 2012 Red and Golden Delicious Apples, 2011 Pink Lady and Jonathan apple wine, and a barrel of High Planes Reserve 2011 aged on new American Oak.
Owner Wes Mickel explained that the usually they’ll save North Texas apples for late season production, to "extend the hang time on the fruit," but "after late frosts and some unfortunate hail back in Spring of 2012, it became evident that Bandera Brut 2012 from Love Creek Orchards would not be a possibility," and "Cal up at Apple Country in Idalou just happened to have some wonderful Delicious apples to initiate the 2012 crush."
The cidery hooked me up with a sample to try. There’s a distinct floral element that accompanies the crisp apple bite, which is balanced by earthy undertones, light cinnamon hints, and what tastes like a giant squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Soft, slightly funky (a positive attribute contributed by wild yeast) and refreshing, the cider has a great sweet to tart to dry ratio. Mickel advises drinking out of a flute glass or on ice to enjoy to it’s full potential.
A launch party for the Idalou Brut will take place this upcoming Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Cidery. Four different varietals of cider will be available to sample alongside a full crawfish boil (reservations can be sent to email@example.com, $50).
Beyond the new release, Mickel has been up to a bit more than just making cider recently. Research and development is currently in full swing after the Cidery received a $10,000 grant from the Austin Food & Wine Alliance back in December, "to plant new apple varieties that are not grown in Texas in a test orchard in Dripping Springs."
He elaborated: "other than research on root stocks and a 26 tree test orchard that we are currently proping up the roots before going into the ground next year, we have been doing research on soil types and currently learning about organic pesticides starting with combating catapillars as they have been wanting to feast on all the new growth."
Mickel said they’re also researching and developing a recipe for Tepache, "an all pineapple Mexican beverage that has not yet been produced in the US commercially. We have been trying to figure out some kind of product that we can put on draught, as we have not found anything apple based that really hits the mark yet."
Finally, as of last weekend, they also started to offer Saturday picnics for customers, where Mickel chooses cuisine from a different cookbook each week and prepares picnic lunches to enjoy in their fancy tasting room on site, or for take-away.