How Do I Find a Fresh Apple Cider?

I have been contemplating trying out a few small production or even Spanish Ciders (not perries).

The problem is that I have no idea how old a bottle sold via the Internet is.* Apple Cider does “go bad” like beer, right? I imagine that some may be able to age (much as some beers do). I have no clue of what I need to look out for in my search.

I do know that I would prefer an off-dry or dry/brut style, with no hops added. I don’t know if the oak aged/fermented ones would be of my taste or not. I guess I am looking for a Cider equivalent of Vino Verde or stainless steel dry/off-dry Riesling.

*Most domestic craft Cider producers do not ship to Louisiana.

If you buy top quality cider from good retailers (rather than places that are 85 degrees in the summer), you don’t need to worry much about freshness. I’ve been drinking a 2009 pear cider from Switzerland that’s beautiful right now and has years ahead of it. That quality of apple cider ages just as well. I highly recommend trying something from Etienne Dupont, but there are several other great producers too. I would focus on Normandy and the UK. Some of the Basque ciders are also quite interesting, but they tend to be really funky, so tread at your own risk.