What awaits you at Cellar Door Cider’s tasting room, in Chico? Cider maker Bryan Shaw will pour you a half dozen or so ciders. He’ll tell you about the northern California apples he crushed and fermented to make them. Each cider will surprise you with its complexity and nuance, and Shaw will explain what lends those notes. Making cider combines hard science with intuition and creativity, and that’s why Shaw likes it. You’ll find yourself nodding, the proof on your palate.
THE CIDER MAKER
Not too many years ago, Shaw was in his mid-thirties and had spent half of his life in the grocery business. It was time to follow his passion for winemaking. His partner took over most of the household expenses, and he quit his job to enroll in the UC Davis Enology and Viticulture program. Simultaneously, he talked Aimee Sunseri, winemaker at New Clairvaux Vineyards in Vina, into letting him intern through three years of winemaking seasons, from harvest to bottling. (“Aimee’s a wizard,” he avows.)
He broadened that experience with a stint at Naumes Crush and Fermentation in southern Oregon. There, he worked under the tutelage of winemaker Chris Graves. Graves is an award-winning, U.C. Davis-educated winemaker who worked for many Napa Valley wineries, including Wente Family Estates, the oldest continuously operated family-owned winery in the country. Naumes Crush and Fermentation produces wines for the Naumes family label and for other local vineyards and wineries. Graves showed Shaw how to make high quality wine with many different grape varietals from all over Oregon, using multiple fermentation styles.
IN THE TASTING ROOM
As you taste, Shaw will recommend a cider to accompany a meal or cheese plate or simply to sip on an afternoon. You might ask about posters on the tasting room wall. One illustrates rare cider apple varietals, another the flavor profiles of the major wine grape varietals, and a third poster charts flavor profiles of dozens of types of hops. Show an interest in apples, and he’ll leaf you through a tome on the counter, an encyclopedia of heritage apples. Very likely, both the cider and the cidermaker will captivate you.
Cellar Door Cider’s tasting room is open every Saturday from 2 to 6pm. Enter and taste how Shaw has created ciders that express the quality of his training and experience.
This article is sponsored by Cellar Door Cider,
one of the advertisers who make Edible Shasta-Butte possible.