Producer Profile: Based in the southwest Ontario city of Guelph, Tariq Ahmed of Revel Cider is making some of the most exciting fermented beverages around; in a time when there seems to be an untold of amount of homespun co-ferments happening all around the world, with the explosive popularization of everything heirloom & artisanal, Revel’s concoctions stand out for not only their ingenuity, but their inward-facing commitment to what interests them, rather than trying to mete out what there may be a market for out there. It is reminiscent of some of the best ‘art;’ self-possessive, the opposite of sycophantic and thereby honest, interesting, and timeless. In this world of drinks, delicious would be an operative addended adjective here. Having worked and lived on an organic vegetable farm out of high school, Tariq Ahmed first became enamored of fermentation as a hobby; it was what he did in his off-hours from farming and it was therefore not too-heady an enterprise. Whatever resulting product he’d wild ferment – pickles, mulberry wine, cherries, cider, etc. – would be derived from what was around and available; opportunistic, curiosity-chasing inside the magical transformation that is fermentation. Eventually, he would take on wild fermentation full-time around 2015, which was when he released his first cider: a co-ferment of golden russet apples and northern spy apples. It was an honest small-batch triumph, but it didn’t capture that experimental, more creative aspect of both Tariq’s personality and what he felt was otherwise out there waiting to be made. Over the intervening years, the Cidery has become one of Canada’s top experimental projects in fermentation and has garnered a reputation for the expertly audacious. In this sense, look no further than the cuvées in this month’s share: ‘Soif,’ a beverage of two wild-fermented ciders aged on Montmorency cherries and strawberries with a month of maceration atop spent Zweigelt grape skins, and ‘Oud Blanc,’ a blend of amply macerated Riesling, a young perry (pear-cider), and a slightly-aged skin-contact cider. Happy gallivanting!
Vinification: The Oud Blanc is a blend of equal parts skin contact riesling, pear cider and apple cider. Fermented with wild yeasts and bottled unfined, unfiltered with no SO2.
Tasting: A bubbly and bright apéritif, with tropical notes of pineapple, mango and starfruit. Like the Soif, the carbonation is soft and plushy, but its acidity rips through and adds an electric spark that'll keep you coming back for more.