For wine people, ciders often get the short end of the stick: it’s the thing we drink in between a few bottles of wine (to refresh the palate) at the end of a long meal (for a bit of sugar) or in extreme haste on train rides, picnic dates, or even first thing in the morning. It’s all to say that ciders are rarely the star of the show in their own right.
Enter Skyborry: ciders produced from a wonderfully ramshackle shed in Herefordshire, on the Welsh side of the border. These are ciders unlike what I’d ever seen before; I didn’t know that there was a world out there where ciders were meditative, layered and complex, bracing, tannic, refreshing, ample, spiced, here and there, in unison and at odds, harmonious and paradoxical.
Adam and Dani Davies produce these ciders with humble means and therefore find ease in working with fruit of the highest quality. From just a few orchards dotted around their property, the apples and pears are grown organically, without sprays, chemicals, or really much human intervention at all. I suppose it's rather unsurprising in a region where people are seemingly outnumbered by sheep.
Because I am a wine person and not particularly educated in the world of cider production, all I can say is this: their method of producing ciders without the addition of sulfites is very uncommon. They work with the lunar cycle to understand when to rack off lees, bottle, and disgorge. It’s a fully hands-on operation, one that requires the careful consideration of all the elements. The two brothers are a balm to the woes of city life, just remarkably kind, intuitive, smart, quiet, interesting people, living in the verdant rolling hills of Wales.
It feels like a privilege to stock these ciders, and while we enjoy them in all the aforementioned situations, I feel like visiting these two, gaining insight into their work, and enjoying their products has made us all see ciders and perries in a whole new light.