Page 17 - The Valley Table - Fall 2021
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                                  certified cidery: low-impact energy and a carbon zero approach were implemented in its construction.
On the second floor is the Tasting Room. Cathedral-style wooden beams and floor-to-ceiling windows adorn the 3,500-sq-ft space along with warm- toned wood and eclectic furniture. The larch wood finishing was reclaimed from underwater pilings of the former Tappan Zee Bridge.
Outside, visitors can revel in its bank barn-style exterior, local bluestone, and a wrap-around patio. The balcony provides stunning panoramas of the Delaware River Valley and the fruit orchard below.
The orchard is lined with 60 varieties of apple and pear trees; they were planted holistically under the watchful eye of orchardist Michael Phillips and are free of pesticides and herbicides. Each tree is surrounded by a ring of daffodils to ward off voles and attract natural pollinators. The stunning property is ideal for country weddings and farm-to-table dinners in the orchard — a site to behold at sunrise and sunset.
The American, English, and French trees produce 10,000 bottles worth of cider. By 2026, Seminary Hill hopes
to meet a quota of 60,000 bottles annually. The real cider magic happens in the ground-floor production facility, helmed by Stuart Madany, a Virginian
cidermaster and director of cider, events, and marketing.
Like the Tasting Room, the facility utilizes sustainable means of production. The fruit is washed with water from an on-site greywater management system. By building into the hillside, fruit storage and natural yeast fermentation are naturally cooled by the earth.
The production center is straight out of a science lab — with test tubes, funnels, and fermentation tanks. Here, Madany and his team test cider batches and new flavor experiments. As expected, ciders go through rigorous processes before getting the OK for its tasting room above.
Seminary Hill has created five ciders: Baldwin Pippin, Beechwoods, Delaware Dry, Northern Spy, and Susan’s Semi-Dry. Each one is over 7% ABV and contains little-to-no residual sugar; the deep gold and peachy semi- dry still packs some sweetness (it was named after Manning).
The Delaware Dry (citrus and creamy notes) and Beechwoods (stone fruit and melon) are packed with a variety of apples, like Tremlett’s Bitter and Chisel Jersey. On the other hand, Northern Spy (apple and caramel)
and Baldwin Pippin (apple and acidic finish) highlight just one or two apples, respectively.
The tasting room also features
100% New York craft beers, wines, and spirits. There’s an eclectic menu
of farm-to-table small plates, always changing to highlight peak-season ingredients and produce. In the
fall, the culinary team often takes advantage of local venison and seasonal vegetables on its outdoor, Argentinian wood-fire grill. Notable offerings include black cherry tamarind ribs with pistachio dukkah and fennel slaw, duck BLTs, and a colorful
beet hummus.
For an in-depth look at the orchard and cidery, guests can tour the grounds and enjoy a cider tasting (Sundays, $45 per person). The ciders are available for tastings year-round (Thurs–Sun, $25 per person). —Francesca Furey
  photos by peter crosby
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