The region of Mostviertel in Austria has a long tradition regarding to perry. It’s said that it is the biggest pear orchard in Europe. Perry is called “birnmost“, and the first written praise is from 1240, by the poet Neidhart von Reuenthal.
Mostviertel most experienced its first heyday in the 16th century. In the 18th century, Empress Maria Theresia ordered the planting of orchards in the area, while her son and successor Joseph II rewarded farmers with a silver medal if they placed over 100 fruit trees.
Perry experienced the next upswing towards the end of the 19th century, in the era of peasant liberation and industrialization. But the good time lasted until the WWII. Then cider got completely out of fashion. Beer, wine and sodas took the lead, as in many other places.
Many orchards were cleared and the tree population decreased rapidly. In the beginning of the 1990s, fermented must producers revived the tradition and enriched the cider culture with fresh impulses.
Cider houses are called Mostheurigen and each of the 20 most baron has its own, very individual most. There are around 300 different types of pears in Mostviertel, and those used for perry are called “mostbirne”. This are some of the varieties:
- Milder: Speckbirne, Wasserbirne.
- Sharp: Dorschbirne, Grüne Pichlbirne, Rote Pichlbirne.
- Less common: Stiegelbirne, Winawitzbirne, Landbirne, Scheiblbirne.
Exibatur is an old Mostviertel dialect expression for plow. In earlier times, it was customary to take most to the daily field work. Due to the lack of modern cooling facilities, it was brought in pitchers under the loamy soil, in order to keep the cider cold in the summer heat. It is said that this must with earthy flavor gave the peasants the energy they needed for the exhausting day’s work. Hence the name.
Exibatur is a clear and fresh perry with strong fruity aromas, high tartness and complex tannins. It’s said to pair well with dark meat and smoked food, but I would say is perfect for fresh fish and seafood. So I decided to taste it with homemade sushi made with smoked salmon and cod.