Hendersonville's Appalachian Ridge serves up artisan ciders and spirits

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Hendersonville is one of our favorite small towns to visit in North Carolina. We’ve been visiting for years and seen the growth of this small town blossom. Recently a new winery has emerged as well as a new cidery, Appalachian Ridge Artisan Cidery. You may wonder why are we featuring a cidery in our journey to visit 100 wineries in North Carolina. We use as our guide ncwine.org and listed is Appalachian Ridge, which makes sense since the owners are also the owners of Saint Paul Mountain Winery. And then there is the debate as to whether cider is more like wine or more like beer. For that debate, we asked three North Carolina cider makers that very question for NC Cider month.

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Every time we visit Saint Paul Mountain Winery, and have the opportunity to try their ciders, we ask about the new Cider house and when we can expect them to officially open the tasting room. And this year, the Cider house  officially opened and we finally had the opportunity to pay them a visit. 

After finishing up a tasting at Saint Paul, we literally did a hop, skip and a jump across the street … well, not literally. We actually hopped in the car and drove about a block to this quaint cider house. It was a Tuesday afternoon in November, and with the rain tapering off, we walked into the restored 1920s-era barn that has been converted into a tasting room – with the sounds of Frank Sinatra playing in the background. The atmosphere was warm and inviting. Another couple was just finishing up their tasting as we sat down at the bar and decided on two full tastings that included six ciders and two spirits.

The first three ciders on the list – Bald Top Mountain, Saint Paul Mountain and Bearwallow Mountain were all pretty traditional-style ciders from dry to sweet. Each one showcased the style in a perfect manner, and all represented what we believe these types of ciders should taste like. The final three, well, they now start to play around with your tastebuds. The Mount Pisgah starts dry but finishes sweet. In the Sugarloaf Mountain you get some hints of honey and tannins. And the flavor of ginger in the Cliffield Mountain made this lively cider our personal favorite.

Both the spirits we sampled that afternoon were delicious. The Peter Arly is a blend of apple brandy, apple cider and time in French oak barrels. And the Rachel Katherine is a dessert-style sherry made with Chardonnay grapes that has a buttery taste and pineapple nose. 

The tasting room sits on family land and overlooks the orchards of French apple trees that were brought over from the Normandy region of France. Appalachian focuses on French- style ciders made with local apples, pressed and bottled onsite.

Triangle Around Town's top 🍷choice: Cliffield Mountain

Hours: Sun - Thurs 12 pm - 6 pm; Fri - Sat 12 pm - 7 pm

Tastings are $7 for 6 ciders OR $10 for 6 ciders + 2 spirits

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