Bordatto’s Bitxinxo Aphaule started his career as a winemaker but soon fell in love with cider. He founded Bordatto under the notion that he could craft a better cider by applying farming methods utilized in vineyards to apple orchards. Terroir is often overlooked when people talk about cider, but Bitxinxo feels that characteristics of the site such as soil, orientation, tree age and varietal are just as important to cider as they are to wine and he’s out to prove it. Multiple green harvests and extensive pruning are employed in his four hectares of orchards, all of the apples are hand-harvested and only native yeasts are used in all stages of fermentation.
Bitxinxo makes three ciders. The flagship cider of Bordatto is the Txalaparta, named for the traditional Basque percussion instrument. This bottle-conditioned cider is made from a blend of two indigenous apples, Aphez Sagarra and Eztika, and is aged on the lees before bottling. The other two ciders produced by the estate are blends selected from the 30 different varietals grown there. Basa Jaun, named for the “wild man” of Basque mythology, is a hearty, acidic cider while the Basandere, the “wild woman” of Basque mythology, is a finer and slightly sweeter take on the traditional Basque cider.