Growing up with the last name “Peartree,” I was often serenaded about a partridge. Imagine my elation when, in adulthood, Peartree elicited a different response, now from proponents of perry, made from fermented pears.
“Is that your real last name?” they would ask. Indeed it is, as if by fate.
Anyone in the cider world will tell you vehemently that there’s a difference between cider and perry, and they aren’t wrong. Both are made in a similar manner, but different fruits make dramatically different drinks.
Not just any pear will do, either. High-acid, high-tannin varieties, some of which are hard as stones, work best to create a well-structured, yet fruity and complex outcome. Here are five to try.
Oliver’s Classic Perry, $8/16.9 oz. It’s hard to find a more classic example of English perry. Rich, ripe pear and apple flavors meld with butterscotch and fresh ginger. Don’t let these sweet sensations deter you—this has impeccable balance, with a spritzy feel and soft, gripping tannins.
L’Hermitière Poiré de Normandie Sparkling Perry, $18. Dabble in the funk of this naturally fermented perry, bottled without filtration or added carbonation. It’s bright and crisp, boasting loads of tart citrus and crunchy pear flavors that extend to a lightly floral, dry finish. Easy to pair with equally funky cheeses.
Eric Bordelet 2015 Poiré Granit, $27. This powerful, expressive perry displays loads of crunchy pear, zesty quince, butterscotch and tangy mineral sensations. It’s made by ex-Parisian sommelier Eric Bordelet, who gets fruit from his family’s orchards in Normandy, with some trees up to 300 years old.
Eve’s Cidery 2017 Perry Pear, $18. Made from wild pears grown in upstate New York, this dry, bottle-conditioned perry strikes a balance between earthy and fruity. Delicate bubbles propel orchard fruit and sweet hay flavors, with a light ginger spice.
Angry Orchard 2016 Perry, $22. The fruit for this delicate, floral offering is from E.Z. Orchards in Salem, Oregon, which produces a variety of heirloom pears and apples. The 2016 vintage is the last from the site, as the pear orchard was decimated by fire blight, a common disease. Try this, or any of its limited releases, at Angry Orchard HQ in Walden, New York.