Cider Review: Farnum Hill Cider FARMHOUSE CIDER: Cider52

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Cider: FARNUM HILL CIDER FARMHOUSE CIDER

Maker: Farnum Hill Cider & Poverty Lane Orchards  Origin:  Lebanon, New Hampshire

website: www.povertylaneorchards.com

ABV: 6.5%

Bottle: 750 ml, mushroom cork, wire hood

Fruit: Apples.

Cider Maker: Nicole LeGrand Leibon.

CiDER MAKERS NOTES: 

Our lightest, most casual cider, pale gold and bubbly, with a stroke of sweetness along with the tart, bitter, and fruity elements that good cider offers. Citrus, pineapple, bittersweet apple, and a trace of the barn. Farmhouse astringency is nowhere near the extreme, but shows a certain tannic edge. Agreeably versatile, sharing certain flavor elements with both beer and wine. A clean, appetizing finish makes it congenial with many kinds of food, from the snackiest to the whole-grainiest and back.

‘Farmhouse’ is more of a pub cider than our others. It varies a bit more from batch to batch, shows less complexity less alcohol than our others, and of course is less filling than beer. It and Semi-Dry are the most popular of our regular ciders. ‘Farmhouse’ is blended from a group of real cider apples that ripen earlier than most. So it’s a bit easier to make and less expensive to buy.

Visit the website to read more about  Farnum Hill ‘Farmhouse’

Farnum Hill Farmhouse Label

Our Tasting Notes: compiled over several tastings.

In The Glass: Clear, radiant shine. Glowing golden.

First Pour: Slight froth that immediately settles in to a light mousse ring with miniscule bubbles. Distinct legs.

Aroma: Green apple, warm sugar, apple peel, fresh green grass. Black pepper, grapefruit, rooty and a bit barky. Cidery, hint of quinine, ripe apple, powdered sugar, leather.

Swirl: Wood/oak – but not vanilla – slight tropical and dried fruit notes, pleasantly herbal, more quinine and grapefruit.

Taste: Fresh, bitter, tannic, and cidery. BSA. Extremely subtle sweetness. Rustic, nicely rough.

Finish: Long, slow, relatively gently tannins, soft powdery, slight citrus note. Bitter lingers, tapers off, and tannins slowly re-appear. Well balanced. Slightly drying and a bit warming.

2 tasters- (2) different Taste Ratings:

TASTE RATING SCALE: Our (2) tasters experience of the balance of bitter, sour, and umami was different:

Taster 1:  Bitter: 7  Astringency: 7   Sour: 6   Salty: 2   Sweet: 1   Umami: 3 

Taster 2:  Bitter: 3  Astringency: 7  Sour: 4    Salty: 2   Sweet: 1   Umami: 1

Our Pairing-The Tasting Lab:  None.

Overall Impressions: Farnum Hill Ciders DANCE. Visually, and in the mouth. Farmhouse Cider is no exception. The tannins and bitter notes tussle and tumble in this cider* and give you quite a flavor ride. Farmhouse is rustic yet focused, with bitter, sour, drying elements all jostling, and giving dimension to the cider. The aromas of this bumptious blend almost insists you drink it. For all its rough-hewn charm, this cider’s profile is very precise and finely honed. When drinking a Farnum Hill, you experience a well crafted, rounded, fully complete cider. There are no wrong notes, and much enjoyment to be had.

*This may be why our (2) tasters had different experiences of Bitter and Sour balance in this cider.

TERMS, DEFINITIONS & LINGO: 

BSA Bitter Sweet Apple: Referring to aroma and flavor characteristics of Bitter-Sweet Apple varieties used for cider. Bittersweet apples are low in acids and high in tannins. Tannin accounts for two palate sensations: astringency and bitterness.

From CIderUK.com:

Bittersweet apples impart the characteristic flavour of English ciders; as the name implies they are low in acid and high in tannin. The latter is responsible for two sensations on the palate – astringency and bitterness. In the bittersweet apple, there is a whole range of combinations of these two characteristics, varying from little astringency coupled with intense bitterness to very marked astringency coupled with mild bitterness. Typical bittersweets are Dabinett, Yarlington Mill and Tremlett’s Bitter.

ADDITIONAL READING:  FH Cider Talk & Terms Farnum Hill explains their cider profiles and the philosophy behind the ciders they craft.

 

If you have tasting notes to add please leave a comment.

Cider Review: Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandie Organic 2011: Tasting Journal: Cider52

DupontOrganic

Cider: ETIENNE DUPONT CIDRE BOUCHE´ BRUT DE NORMANDIE ORGANIC 2011

Thoughts On A Bottle: Tasting Journal:

Review Note: Solo tasting. Team tasting review to follow.

In The Glass: Slight POP on opening. Pale, light medium golden with tinges of green and amber. Clear, bright, with miniscule bead, minimal mousse. Aromas of yeast, raw and cooked apple, orchard, sous bois, and tannins. Tastes of red and green apple skins, a tad meaty, band-aid, wet grass, woody, green notes, bark, slightly leathery. Sweetness – caramel, toffee, raisins, warm sugars, honey. Celery, rhubarb, herbal. Sweet and bitter notes, light tannins, not much acidity.

2nd glass: Mineral notes, wet stones. Slate-y, green, moss, deciduous trees, mown hay. Tidal flats, hint of salt, a bit floral, freesia. As bottle warms up acidity is more apparent – now showing some legs/tears. Far off hints of pine, cedar, bark. The green woody notes cut the sweet, sugar, apple, and honey.

More: Resin, freesia, honey, butter, spice.

Empty glass: Honey, wet tanned hides, damp straw. Visible sediment.

Temperature definitely affects experience of cider. As bottle warms up more flavor and aroma qualities are apparent.

Future tastings should utilize beverage thermometer to test temperature of cider being reviewed to see how variations in temperature affect how cider is experienced.

Pairings – The Tasting Lab: None.

Overall Impressions: Sweet grass. Passing pleasing bitter notes. Intriguing perfume. Damp hay and barnyard. Resin, freesia, honey, butter, salt and stones.

Cider: ETIENNE DUPONT CIDRE BOUCHE´ BRUT DE NORMANDIE ORGANIC 2011

Maker: Domaine Dupont

Origin: Normandy, France  website: www.calvados-dupont.com

Importer: B. United International, Inc. website: www.bunitedint.com

ABV: 4.5%  Bottle: 750 ml, champagne cork

Style Notes:  USDA Organic. Unfiltered and unpasteurized. Made with naturally occurring yeasts. The fermentation is controlled by successive racking. Bottled between May and April. No sulfites added.

Fruit: Apples. 100% organically grown apples of the Bisquet, Joly Rouge, Douce Coet and Binet Rouge variety.

Makers Fruit Notes: The apples and the techniques used to make the cider are in conformity with American standards relating to organic agriculture, “N.O.P. Organic”. The apples are entirely untreated.

Note: Domaine Dupont labels each bottling with vintage year.

Makers Notes on Terrior:

www.calvados-dupont.com/en/orchards

The poor soils of the Pays d’Auge region, consisting of marl and chalky marl of the Oxfordian (secondary era) limit the growth of the trees and this leads to the production of small apples. The aromatic intensity is thereby increased and the ratio of skin to pulp helps to favour the extraction of tannins. Nitrogenous fertilisers (which swell the fruit by water retention) are not used – giving priority to quality rather than yield.

From Wikipedia:

Marl: Marl or marlstone is a calcium carbonate or lime-rich mud or mudstone which contains variable amounts of clays and silt. The dominant carbonate mineral in most marls is calcite, but other carbonate minerals such as aragonitedolomite, and siderite may be present. Marl was originally an old term loosely applied to a variety of materials, most of which occur as loose, earthy deposits consisting chiefly of an intimate mixture of clay and calcium carbonate, formed under freshwater conditions; specifically an earthy substance containing 35–65% clay and 65-35% carbonate.[1]  

  1. Pettijohn (1957), p. 410.

If you have tasting notes to add please leave a comment.

Petites pommes, gros cidre.

According to the experts at the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

As a rule the best cider apples are of small size. “Petites pommes, gros cidre,” say the French.

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Cider Review: Wandering Aengus Ciderworks WANDERLUST: Cider52

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Cider: Wandering Aengus Ciderworks WANDERLUST

Maker: Wandering Aengus Ciderworks

Origin: Salem, Oregon

website: www.wanderingaengus.com

ABV: 7.5 %   Bottle: Available in 16.9 oz crown cap bottles, and on draft.

Makers Style Notes: Semi-Dry and tart with a “warm ginger tone”.

Fruit: Apple. From orchards in Hood River & Culver, Oregon.

Makers Fruit Notes:

At Wandering Aengus Ciderworks we press and blend over 20 cider apple varietals to craft our ciders. Our cider specific apples originate from France, England, and pre-prohibition America, but are grown now in Oregon. These heirloom varieties are essential for the depth of flavor, excellent body, and delightful aromatics of our distinctive ciders.”

Tasting Notes: Wandering Aengus Ciderworks WANDERLUST: (2) separate tastings:

In The Glass: On First Pour: Color & Clarity: Radiant brass, bright, shining and clear with clusters of varied bubbles and slight tears.

Aroma: Intense upfront aromas of ‘real’ sugars, suggesting cloying sweetness, followed by cooked apple, maple, honey, toffee, black pepper and hints of orchard. Retro-nasally (aroma on exhale) there are floral-lily notes.

Taste: The fleeting sweetness of caramelized fruit and maple syrup is followed by crisp acidity, salt and a jolt of tannins. Woody and damp, the moderate tannins add complexity and balance, creating a honeyed-mead roundness reminiscent of fall. Like Anthem Cider, Wanderlust entices with sweet aromas, then surprises with a depth and structure beyond the initial sugary nose.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: Gouda, black bean hummus, guava jam, and pickled jalapeño – a favorite grilled cheese from The Queens Kickshaw – this sweet spicy sandwich and cider combination is extremely complimentary. Mesclun greens tossed in jalapeño vinaigrette enhance the sois bois dampness in the cider, and the cider brightens the ‘greeness’ of the mixed lettuces.

Specific Qualities: This cider got us thinking about qualities of  ‘sous bois’, and orchard aromas.

“sous bois“- of the orchard or of the orchard undergrowth. A very particular range of aromas representing the many elements present in the orchard ecological system, from ripe to over ripe or even rotting fruit, fruit flesh and skins, fruit leaves, tree bark, orchard grasses, and soil. Overall very fragrant, pungent, sweet, earthy, and fecund. A unique aromal experience that simultaneously reminds one of both growth and decay.

Wandering Aengus Ciderworks Wanderlust’s aromas and flavors are transporting, vividly expressing the experience of walking through an orchard, bringing the seasonal cycles keenly into consciousness. A quality we find highly desirable, especially in a well crafted cider. Wanderlust possesses a slightly ‘damp orchard’ aroma, a seemingly logical result for a cider coming from the moisture abundant temperate climate of the Willamette River Valley region of Oregon. Is this a distinctly Northwest ‘sous bois’ or a particular Wandering Aengus Cider and Anthem Cider trait? Will this trait emerge as a defining characteristic of Northwest ciders? We can’t wait to find out.

Overall Impressions: Wandering Aengus WANDERLUST is an accessible, intriguing cider, offering the simple seductive allure of sweetness followed by well structured complexity.

If you are interested in the Willamette River Valley regions climate and growing sites details, as they apply to wine grapes, you can read about the regions 7 unique AVAs here and here.

If you have tasting notes, please leave a comment.

Cider Review: ANTHEM CIDER: Cider52

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Cider: ANTHEM ORGANIC TRADITIONALLY FERMENTED CIDER

Maker: Anthem Cider

(Anthem is crafted by the makers of Wandering Aengus)

Origin: Salem, Oregon

website: anthemcider.com

ABV: 5.5 %  Bottle: 22 oz., crown cap

Makers Style Notes: Anthem Cider – offers the tart acidity of the apple’s natural malic acid with a clean fruit forward finish. Anthem Cider is the foundation for all the Anthems. Semi-Dry. Medium Tart. 5.0% to 6.5% ABV.

Fruit: Apple. Washington and Oregon.

Makers Fruit Notes: Anthem Traditionally Fermented Cider, is brewed with Honey Crisp, Gala, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples. 90% Organic. Anthem uses only whole apples, pressed and fermented.

A Few Cider Makers Notes:

The first batch of Anthem Cider was kegged March 10, 2010 on the belief that we at Wandering Aengus Ciderworks can make a great draft cider without compromise.

So what is a great draft cider without compromise? Basically, it is a cider made the way people expect a cider to be made; starting with actual apples, pressing them, and fermenting the fresh juice only days after.

Since the character of apples vary widely between varieties, harvests, terroir, and keeping, our cidermaking is geared to accent those differences, not hide them. We hope you and your palate learn to appreciate and savor the diversity

Read more about Anthem’s goals here.

Our Tasting Notes: May 10, 2013.

In The Glass: Clear, light, bright, brassy gold. Itty-bitty bubbles.

Aroma & Taste: Dessert apples, cotton candy, licorice, apple peel tannins, damp bark and wet wood. A bit of vanilla,  particularly on last sip. Empty glass reverberates notes of sweet and wood. Light body, balanced leaning toward bitter/tannin axis, medium acidity, short to medium finish, no real aftertaste, slight warming effect on tip of tongue.

Taste Scale: From 0 Low – 9 High: ANTHEM Cider gets: Bitter 6,  Sour 4.5, Sweet 3, Salty 1, Umami 1.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: Tried with chorizo sausage and garlicy kale. Nice and chewy with the fiery spice of the chorizo and the bite of the garlic and bitter greens. (As noted in several past reviews – we think cider is a great mate to bitter greens).

Overall Impressions: Very accessible complexity. Cleverly comes on tarted up like a mass market cider, then delivers something quite different. Instead of the saccharine flavors the initial aromas might suggest,  Anthem is surprisingly more complex, with incontestable tannins, distinct bitter notes, and only hints of sweet, sweet apple. Anthem is definitely a gateway cider.  

Reviewers NoteANTHEM Cider possesses a unique damp orchard  aroma. Hints of a distinctly Northwest sous bois or at least a Wandering Aengus/Anthem cidermakers sous bois’. More on this in our review of Wandering Aengus’ Wanderlust, coming up.

Malus domestica: Apple Blossom: Subject Apple Frost Injury

POM00001279

Malus domestica

Artist:
Newton, Amanda Almira, ca. 1860-1943
Scientific name:
Malus domestica
Common name:
apples
Geographic origin:
Woodwardville, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, United States
Physical description:
1 art original : col. ; 17 x 24 cm.
NAL note:
Painting is of an apple blossom; Assigned specimen number
Specimen:
[00010]
Year:
1905
Notes on original:
Subject Apple Frost Injury. Apple blossoms from Woodwardville, Maryland. This shows the characteristic injury by frost which occurs when the apples are in bloom or in bud. The pistils and ovules being partly killed and the floral envelopes wholly uninjured. The stamens are mostly uninjured, some of the inner ones having gone down with the ovary. The youngest blossoms in bud at the time were not injured. The most advanced flowers were hurt the most.
Date created:
1905-04-24
Rights:
Use of the images in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection is not restricted, but a statement of attribution is required. Please use the following attribution statement: “U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705”

Terminology: Defining The Fruit

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Defining the Fruit 

From The National Association Of Cider Makers “The voice of the UK’s cider makers”.

website: cideruk.com 

Cider apple varieties are divided into four categories according to the relative proportion of acidity and tannin:

Sweet varieties are the blandest of the four categories, being low in both components. They are useful to blend with ciders from the more strongly flavoured varieties, which, by themselves, would be too extreme in taste and aroma to be palatable. Typical examples of sweet apples are Sweet Coppin, in use to a small extent, and Court Royal which was used extensively at one time but rarely used nowadays.

Bittersweet apples impart the characteristic flavour of English ciders; as the name implies they are low in acid and high in tannin. The latter is responsible for two sensations on the palate – astringency and bitterness. In the bittersweet apple, there is a whole range of combinations of these two characteristics, varying from little astringency coupled with intense bitterness to very marked astringency coupled with mild bitterness. Typical bittersweets are Dabinett, Yarlington Mill and Tremlett’s Bitter.

Sharp varieties, so called because the predominant characteristic is that of acidity, are encountered less frequently today, possibly because culinary fruit, which has a similar flavour balance, can be substituted for this class. There are, however, recognised full sharp cider varieties, two of which are Crimson King and Brown’s Apple.

Bittersharp is the fourth class of cider apple. These are fairly high in acid and tannin, although the latter component does not show the wide range of flavours exhibited by the bittersweet.  Stoke Red is a good example.

Image: 1860s Cider Apples from The Herefordshire Pomona. Illustrations by Miss Ellis and Miss Bull.

Image and definitions courtesy of NACM. Used by permission.

On (hard) Cider

Cider – An alcoholic beverage traditionally made from fermented apple juice, currently experiencing a craft revival.

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We say cider. We mean a fermented (alcoholic) apple or other pome fruit beverage. We are following the world tradition (and until the early 20th century, the American tradition) of calling a fermented apple beverage cider, and referring to apple and other pome fruit juice, as juice or sweet cider. Part of OUR American Craft Cider Revival effort is helping to revive the use of the word cider as the description for fermented apple juice.

It’s cider, anything else is just juice.

Note: We are aware that the current legal definition in the United States is, in summary: hard cider: a still apple wine of 7% or less alcohol by volume. But things are changing.

For a detailed description of the current legal definitions in the United States see:

Hard Cider, Semi-Generic Wine Designations, and Wholesale Liquor Dealers’ Signs (97-2523) 2001

Inside Cider: Regarding Cider Apple Terminology

LOC apple image

More USEFUL TERMS regarding Cider Apples:

TANNINS: bitter, astringent substances found in some apples. They give bitterness & complex, earthly flavors, plus drying, tautening, & body in the “mouthfeel”.

ACIDS: sour-tasting, or ‘sharp’ substances found in apples. Acids give a refreshing sourness, bright flavor, & a keen, mouth-watering “feel’. To ferment cleanly, raw cider juice needs a strong acid content.

SUGARS: sweet-tasting substances found in apples. Yeast ferments natural fruit sugars into alcohol.

CIDER APPLES: apple varieties that produce superior juice for fermenting. Like wine grapes, cider apples often taste bad. They can be super-bitter, super-sour, sickly-sweet, dry soft or any combination of the above. When a good eating apple works well for cider, or vice-versa, it is prized by Farnum Hill Cider & Poverty Lane Orchard’s as a ‘cross over’.

BITTERSWEETS: a class of cider apple varieties valued for high tannin content & high sugar content.

SWEETS: apple varieties grown for high sugar alone.

BITTERSHARPS: a class of cider apple varieties valued for high tannin content & high acid content.

SHARPS: apple varieties grown for high acid alone.

Adapted from Farnum Hill Cider & Poverty Lane Orchards booklet Inside Cider: Fast Facts for Wholesalers, Retailers, and Aficionados from Farnum Hill Cider © copyright Poverty Lane Orchards 2011. All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

What is a Sport: Darwin, Mutants, Apples & The Red Gravenstein.

LOC apple image

SPORT: 

Spontaneous somatic mutation and mutant cultivars.

Mutations are often called bud variations, bud mutations, somatic mutations, bud sports or briefly, sports.

Darwin (1868) defined bud variations as ‘all changes in structure or appearance which occasionally occur in full-grown plants in their flower-buds or leaf buds’ and in many cases ascribed these ‘changes’ to ‘spontaneous variability.’

source: Mutation Breeding: Theory and Practical Applications 1988

A. M. van Harten, Agricultural University, Wageningen, The Netherlands

SPORT:

A sudden variation in habit of growth or blossom color from the rest of the plant or others plants of its kind. Caused by a genetic change that may be accidental or spontaneous, or intentionally induced.

source: www.botany.com

SPORT: 

In botany, a sport or bud sport is a part of a plant that shows morphological differences from the rest of the plant. Sports may differ by foliage shape or color, flowers, or branch structure. Sports with desirable characteristics are often propagated vegetatively to form new cultivars that retain the characteristics of the new morphology.

source: wikipedia.org

See: Red Gravenstein. This variety is a sport (natural genetic mutation) of the Gravenstein apple.

Species: Malus domestica. Parentage: Sport of Gravenstein. Origin: Washington, United States.

source: orangepippin.com