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. 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, mulberries, 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: This is a blend of apples, cherries, strawberries and grape skins. The cidery blended two ciders, one aged on cherries and the other on strawberries, and then added one ton of Zweigelt skins for an extra month of skin contact. Fermented with wild yeasts, unfined, unfiltered, with no SO2.
Tasting: As vigneron Tariq Ahmed says, the Soif is a "red fruit bonanza." Unbelievably drinkable with aromas and flavors of the most perfect, ripe summer strawberry, crunchy cherry acidity and a languid, round bubble. We've said this before about countless other wines, so apologies for the cliché, but this truly is the perfect summer sparkler.