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Earlier this spring, the Red Hen co-owner and beverage director Sebastian Zutant released his own rosé in partnership with Virginia Wineworks. He’s since taken the lees from that wine and added them to an apple cider to produce a rosé cider, which will be available at the Bloomingdale restaurant come November.
Zutant worked with Castle Hill cidery in Keswick, Va. to ferment the cider for about six months in a qvevri clay vessel, which is submerged underground and traditionally used in Georgian wine-making. Castle Hill is the only cidery in the country to use this technique—part of the reason why Zutant wanted to collaborate with them.
Zutant says he’s never seen a cider aged on wine lees like this, so the project is a bit of an experiment. He hasn’t had a chance to taste the final product quite yet, but he anticipates that it will be “pretty damn light and crisp.” Twenty cases (240 bottles) of the rosé cider will be available exclusively at the Red Hen. Pricing has yet to be determined.
Next up for Zutant: his own wine label. He just bought two barrels and will be contracting through Early Mountain Vineyards in Madison, Va. He plans to produce a dry riesling, a Chenin blanc, a Petit Manseng white, and another to-be-determined red grape. His label will likely launch next summer. He’ll also be re-releasing his rosé called Dahlia again this spring, but this time, with double the volume.
Photo by Abby Greenawalt