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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.

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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.

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Cider Review: Aaron Burr BOURBON BARREL CIDER: Cider52

Trained&PrunedAppleTree

Cider: Aaron Burr Cidery BOURBON BARREL CIDER Sparkling

Maker: Aaron Burr Cidery

Origin: Wurtsboro, New York

website: www.aaronburrcider.com

ABV: 7.6 % Bottle: 500 ml, mushroom cork, wire cage.

Style Notes: Sparkling cider. Aged 2 years. Home-tapped and boiled maple sap.

Fruit: Apple. Orange County, New York Apples: Spy, Idared, and Empire.

Cider Maker: Andy Brennan has some interesting thoughts on the American cider revival. See Cider 101:

“Unbeknownst to Americans born in the 20th century, cider is a world-class low-alcohol drink which expresses the character of the land. It also allows for stylistic variation from farmer to farmer. Some cider-makers strive toward refinement and complexity, cultivating for flavor nuances (i.e. tannin and sharpness), while others produce a rough and earthy drink popular in taverns. Think of them as culinary folk artists.”

Makers Notes: Dry and light bodied. Full M/L conversion: buttery with imparted smoke and vanilla from barrel. Drinks like a French-style white when still, less dry and w/ faint maple exhale when carbonated.

Our Tasting Notes: Aaron Burr Bourbon Barrel Cider: Reviews composed over (3) separate tastings.

In The Glass: First Impressions: Beautiful vintage inspired bottle and lovely graphic design with handmade letter-pressed labels. Almost as much fun to pour as to drink.

On First Pour: Prolific miniscule bead. Active, lively, spry bubbles create a pétillant fog in the glass.

Color & Clarity: White gold. Lightly opaque as a result of the exuberant effervescence.

Aroma: Delicate aromas of apple flesh, clean oak and vanilla. Hints of spice, black pepper and citrus.

Taste: Apple custard, cream, oak, vanilla, bourbon, and whiskey, followed by flavors of baked apple, and ‘sous bois’ orchard aromas. Warming medium-long finish, expressing subtle hints of spice, quinine, sulphur, resin, dried apricot and orange peel.

5 Tastes Scale: From 0 Low – 9 High:

Aaron Burr Cidery BOURBON BARREL CIDER scores: Bitter 4, Sour 3, Salty 3, Sweet 0, Umami not noted.

The Tasting Lab: We enjoyed Aaron Burr Bourbon Barrel Cider at The Queens Kickshaw, one of our favorite spots for imbibing, alongside a few of their menu items that practically begged to be paired with cider.

The spiciness of the blue mold in the Great Hill Blue grilled cheese sandwich (with prune jam and fresh pear salsa), comes alive when mingled with the varied whiskey flavors present in the cider.

Bread pudding with caramel sauce was caramel-apple whiskey perfection. A whipped cream smothered warm apple cobbler accentuated the ciders pure apple flavors, revealing tannins, and creating an explosion of flavor.

Cheesemonger’s Notes: Pair this cider with aged cheeses: Goudas, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Catamount Hills, or Sartori Gold.

Overall Impressions: A unique example of the beneficial effects of barrel aging on cider. An extremely refined, lean, sophisticated cider, Aaron Burr Bourbon Barrel Cider pairs exceptionally well with sweets, complex cheeses, and has enough depth and substance to be enjoyed simply, by itself. The finesse and quality of Aaron Burr Bourbon Barrel Cider signals this is a cider maker to watch.

Makers Cider Stats:

Bourbon Barrel Cider (2010-2011) 31 cases made  

Specs: Dry and light bodied.  Full M/L conversion: buttery with imparted smoke and vanilla from barrel.

Source: Orange County (NY) Spy, Idared, Empire apples, home-tapped and boiled maple sap.

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

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Cider Review: Val d’Ornón Sidra de Asturias Natural: Cider52

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Cider: Val d’Ornón Sidra de Asturias Natural

Maker: Sidra Menéndez

Origin: Asturias, Spain

website: www.sidramenendez.es

ABV: 6%  Bottle: 700 ml, with cork

Makers Style Notes: Product certified by the Council of the “PDO Sidra de Asturias”. Hand picked apples. Fermented using indigenous yeasts. Fermentation in chestnut wood barrels. Tasting Notes: Straw yellow, clean and fruity scent reminiscent of the origin of the fruit.

Fruit: Apple.

Makers Fruit Notes: Selection of some of the 22 varieties permitted by the Regulatory Council, including Raxao, Regona, Perico, Carrio, seeking a balance between those that are acidic, bitter and sweet.

Our Tasting Notes: May 10, 2013.

In The Glass: Cloudy, unfiltered, straw. Tiny bubbles visible only on the surface.

Aroma & Taste: Flavors: From 0 Low – 9 High:  Val d’Ornón Sidra scores: Sour Butter 7-8, Leather/Tanned Hides 6, Hay 5, Latent Acidity 4, Fresh/Raw Dessert Apple 3.

5 Tastes Scale: From 0 Low – 9 High: Val d’Ornón Sidra scores: Salty 5-6,  Bitter 4.5, Sour 3, Sweet 2, Umami 1.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: Classic match with fiery chorizo and garlicy bitter greens, followed by sweet creamy blue & salty pressed rind cheeses, charred toasts and raw Granny Smith apple slices. Val d’Ornón Sidra is right at home with this simple, rustic country fare.

Overall Impressions: Funk forward with blossoming apple flavors. Old World style with balanced astringency and acid. Another cider that got us thinking about the similarities and differences between Spain’s Asturian sidras and the UK’s 3 Counties ciders, pondering the presence, quality, and unique expression of acidity in these two traditional regional cider styles.

To explore further: Why traditional Asturian sidras do not explore or develop the ‘sweet’ aspect of the pome fruit, instead embracing acidity without the tannic/bitter balance found in traditional UK ciders. Is this solely a result of the properties of Asturian cider apples? Or something else? Perhaps a Spanish chef, cidermaker, or Asturian/Basque food culture historian can provide insight.

Apple images from www.sidradeasturias.es  Apples shown: Carrio (top) Perico (below)

Sidra Menéndez Val d’Ornón Sidra de Asturias Natural video:

Perico servicios_1242951270_450

 

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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.

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Cider Review: Breezy Hill Orchard Barrel Tasting. Cider Salon: Six Samples and Ciders. Cider 52

Trained&PrunedAppleTree

Cider: (6) Various ciders and barrel samples.

Maker: Breezy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill

Origin: Staatsburg, New York

website: www.hudsonvalleycider.com

Fruit: Apple. Various orchards.

Cider Maker: Elizabeth Ryan


Cider: Hudson Valley Farmhouse Stone Ridge Scrumpy

Maker’s Style Notes: It’s alive! Fresh apple flavors and the aromas of yeast, some residual sugar, and natural carbonation in the bottle bring you a drink for all seasons. No sulfur, very unfiltered.

Our Impressions: A full round mouthfeel, yeast and honey aromas, apple syrup sweetness, effervescent.


Cider: Hudson Valley Farmhouse Farmhouse Cider

Maker’s Style Notes: American apple varieties grown in the Hudson Valley and a bit of sweetness make a refreshing beverage that can be sipped by itself or with a meal. No sulfur, not filtered.

Our Impressions: A favorite old friend that we always enjoy visiting. Zesty and alive, a refreshing anytime cider. Provokes rustic 18th century thoughts.

Cider: Hudson Valley Farmhouse Apple Seed Cider

Maker’s Style Notes: A blend of American and European cider apples creates rich, more complex aromas. Strong acidly like crisp white wine means you can pair this cider with any meal. Barrel samples, unfiltered.

Our Impressions:  Winey. Reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc. Crisp and silky.

Cider: Hudson Valley Farmhouse Lady Apple Cider

Maker’s Style Notes: A single varietal. Unfiltered. Made by the ancient Pomme d’api. Brought by the Romans to England.

Our Impressions: Easy drinking. Mellow apple flavor. More sweet than tart but balanced. A fine lady indeed.

Cider: Dabinett Blend -Barrel Samples

Maker’s Style Notes: A beloved French variety. Complex flavors and more tannins. Unfiltered.

Our Impressions:  Pleasing subtle structure with soft tannins and a smooth light sweetness.

Cider: Ellis Bitter Blend – Barrel Samples

Maker’s Style Notes: A unique blend of bitter and acidic apples. Unfiltered.

Our Impressions: Complex and intense. A diverse array of bitter flavor elements are present more so than we have ever experienced as most commercially available ciders tend to have one or two bitter notes if any at all. Symphonic with lots of tannins and acid that support and supply structure. Delectably illustrates the concept of blending for structure and balance and unique fruit expression. Makes us curious to find out more about the old English cider apple, Ellis Bitter, used in this blend.

Note: All of these ciders and barrel samples were tasted May 10, 2013 at the Cider Salon hosted by Jimmy’s No. 43 to benefit Breezy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill and their campaign to raise funds to Rebuild Historic Cider House at Greenmarket Farm Breezy Hill. Find more about funding and rewards via Kickstarter.

Cider Knowledge: This type of tasting is a terrific way to get a glimpse into the growers and cidermakers process and learn a bit about how they approach fruit choices and utilize blending in the development of their fruit and cider portfolio.

Note on fruit sources: Elizabeth Ryan is the primary grower and principle cidermaker. Multiple orchards supply the fruit for these ciders.

 

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Cider Review: Crispin BARE NAKED: Cider52

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Cider: Crispin BARE NAKED 

Maker: Crispin Cider Company

Origin: Minneapolis, MN & Colfax, CA

website: www.crispincider.com

ABV: 6.0 % Bottle: 22 fl oz. 650 ml.

Fruit: Apple. Uses fresh juice and concentrate.

Cider Maker: Bruce Nissen, Head Cider-Maker, Crispin Cider Company.

Maker’s Style Notes: USDA Organic certified hard ciders. Double fermentation process. Natural fermentation without chaptalization. American organic apple juice and “Forbidden Fruit” wit yeast. Following full fermentation, a second fermentation is initiated with the addition of new raw organic juice and sparkling wine yeast.

Our Tasting Notes: In The Glass: Crispin BARE NAKED:

In The Glass: Unfiltered, slightly opaque, golden amber. Tiny bead/bubble.

Aroma: Very confectionary, “real” candy – not synthetic – sugar aromas.

Taste: Flavors of sweet and sugary dessert apples, warm spun sugars, with a soft mouthfeel. No real “crispness” or acidity. Slight bright, green and grassy notes. A light spice finish, soft on the palette, no astringency.

Final Glass: Estery, with aromas of bananas and spice, and noticeably more opaque, creamy, milky, than earlier pours, with some residual sediments.

Overall Impressions: Sweet apples and spun sugar, with hints of spice and a bit of green grass brightness.

Note: Drank up-chilled, not over ice as maker recommends. Will try again over ice as suggested to see how and if that alters the flavor profile and cider drinking experience.

And: This is another Crispin cider that is fermented using beer yeasts (AND wine yeasts). Beer yeasts and cider making will be discussed in an upcoming post.

Pairing Notes- The Tasting Lab: We tried with curry spiced pumpkin seeds. The cinnamon, clove, and peppery spices of the seeds matched well with the sugar apple sweetness of the cider. Crispin Bare Naked cider will pair smoothly with spicy Thai food, Swedish meatballs, and Indian vindaloos and curries, as the straight ahead sugars and hints of spice in this cider will accent and compliment the complex flavors in a variety of highly seasoned foods.

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

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Cider Review: Crispin THE SAINT: Cider52

Cider: Crispin THE SAINT Trained&PrunedAppleTree

Maker: Crispin Cider Company

Origin: Minneapolis, MN & Colfax, CA

website: www.crispincider.com

ABV: 6.9 % Bottle: 22 fl oz. 650 ml.

Maker’s Style Notes: Super Premium cider. Naturally fermented with Belgian Trappist yeasts. Organic maple syrup added. An homage to American craft beer makers pioneer spirit. Designed to be enjoyed over ice.

Fruit: Apple. 

Cider Maker: Bruce Nissen, Head Cider-Maker, Crispin Cider Company

Our Tasting Notes: Crispin THE SAINT

In The Glass: Golden, creamy, milky, opaque. Lots of tiny very active effervescent bubbles.

Aroma: Very strong confectionary aromas on the nose, with a slight maple sugar note.

Taste: Culinary apples, spun sugars, honey syrup, with hints of maple in the finish.

Overall Impressions: This cider has one dominant consistent note: sweetness. Smooth, sweet, uncomplicated.

Note: Drank this cider up and chilled, not over ice as maker recommends. Next time we will try over ice and see how that affects the cider drinking experience.

And: Beer yeasts used in cider making. We’ll discuss that topic in an upcoming post.

Pairing Notes-The Tasting Lab: Drank solo.

For more about Crispin Cider Company, read this informative interview from Heavy Table with Crispin Cider Company founder and CEO Joe Herron, written by Joe Norton, 2009.

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

Further Reading:

www.randomhouse-1

For an interesting read on apples and the human quest for sweetness: see Botany Of Desire: A Plants-Eye View of the WorldMichael Pollan’s fascinating look at how plants have directed our desires.

“Pollan illustrates how the plants have evolved to satisfy humankind’s most basic yearnings. And just as we’ve benefited from these plants, we have also done well by them. So who is really domesticating whom?”

 

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CIDER REVIEWS: A Cider A Week UPDATE: 52 AMERICAN Craft Ciders To Be Reviewed in 2013

On January 3, 2013 We Announced:

Part of our 2013 Year of Cider campaign here at United States of Cider is

Cider52, or A Cider A Week.

One new cider featured each week. Tasting, profile, or pairing.

Cider52. A Cider A Week.

Update: We HAVE posted  reviews for 16 ciders in 18 weeks. Weekly postings?  No.

As of today we have revised our plan.

YES to reviewing at least 52 Ciders in 2013. Hopefully more.

The NEW Goal:

CIder52: A Cider A Week : 52 American Ciders To Be Reviewed in 2013.

We will review North American (Hello Canada & Mexico) ciders too (if we can get our hands on some) but they will not count toward our goal of 52 American Made Ciders Reviewed in 2013.

We will continue to explore and review World Cider.

But the 52 Ciders in 2013 goal is now CIDER USA.

United States of Cider. 9.5* American Craft Cider Reviews. And Counting.

Rhode Island Greening - detail

* The ruling on the status of the Pomona cider/braggot is pending

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Cider Review: West County REINE de POMME: Cider52

tumblr_mlmwdeuXBU1s240hto1_500Cider: WEST COUNTY REINE DE POMME

Maker: West County Cider Origin: Colrain, Massachusetts

website: www.westcountycider.com

ABV: 7.3% Bottle: 750 ml, champagne cork

Style Notes: Small batch varietal hard cider. Primary apple is the Reine de Pomme, blended with Dabinett and Redfield.

Fruit: Apple.

Makers Fruit Notes: “Reine de Pomme is an archaic French Apple. We found it in the Geneva Reference Orchard. In 1987, in France, the only reference to it we found was a listing in a nursery catalog from the 1920’s at an apple museum in Normandy. No one seemed to know of it. But, forgotten or not, we were struck by the taste- tannins and iron- that made it inedible, but intriguing for a cider. As a cider it has a deep, dark-fruit, honeyed taste. We blended it with our Dabinet to round out the tannins, and Redfield to add bright fruit and to balance the bitter-sweets. Though blended, Reine de Pomme leads the taste, and the Dabinet and Redfield fall in nicely as supports. It is the fullest-bodied cider we have made. And the closest in taste to a French Cider”.

Bottle Notes: The Reine de Pomme – ‘Queen of Apples’ is a classic French ‘bittersweet’ apple. The strong tannins give complexity to this cider. This cider stands up well to robust tastes at the table. Dry.

Tasting Notes – In The Glass: Pale, clear, and bright rose gold. Tiny surface beads. Some legs/tears. Sweet dessert apple, sous bois, malted sugar, vanilla, tropical fruit, pineapple, ‘bright’ green notes of pepper and grass. Some leather, hints of spice, white pepper, and wood. Iron. Long tannic finish with medium acidity. Winey with a light, silky, smooth mouth feel.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: This queen becomes humble when matched with food, elevating the flavors in the food to heights beyond her own. As a supporting player she does her best work with intense aromatics (garlic, lemon zest, oregano) but we found little that enhanced her own qualities or produced a completely new experience through pairing.

Cheesemonger’s Notes: We tasted this with St. Nectaire which brought out a caramel note that was undetected in the cider on its own or with our other flavor pairings. Other fairly mild washed rinds would probably produce the same delicious effect. Consider Hudson Red or Rougette.

Overall Impressions: Another beauty pageant contestant this pretty in golden pink cider boasts a powerfully sweet aroma that is perfectly balanced by complex tannins and bitter flavor elements. Pair with zesty Mediterranean dishes for a regal match or enjoy Reine de Pomme on its own to appreciate her unique variety of flavor notes.

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

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Cider Review: Breezy Hill Orchard Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider: Cider52

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Cider: BREEZY HILL ORCHARD HUDSON VALLEY FARMHOUSE CIDER

Maker: Breezy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill

Origin: Staatsburg, New York

website: www.hudsonvalleycider.com

ABV: 4.5% ABV Bottle: 2 litre growler, screw cap

Maker’s Style Notes: Produced by Elizabeth Ryan of Breezy Hill Orchard. Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider is fresh, unfiltered, unsulphited, authentic artisan farmhouse cider. It has a shelf life of 2-4 weeks and must be kept refrigerated. Slightly effervescent…a rare opportunity to enjoy a truly authentic beverage.

Fruit: Apples.

Tasting Notes – In The Glass: Opaque golden amber. Effervescent with mostly tiny bubbles. The primary flavors are all fruit but of various types: Pear, Tropical Fruit, Banana, Citrus, Culinary Apple. Vegetal and floral notes. Grass and Vanilla. Medium body with a silky mouthfeel. Sweetness balanced by salinity. Acid and bitterness are present but in low levels.

Rustic and easy drinking like a Saison.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: Drank solo (before breakfast!) – but mused on cured meats, bitter greens, fudgey blue cheeses and best pairing of all – Maple Bacon Donuts. This one makes us think of our colonial forebearers. Surely Ben (Franklin) quaffed a beverage like this before bustling off to invent something extremely useful.

Red Flannel Hash (hash with beets) just begs to be paired with breakfast cider – channel your inner lumberjack.

Overall Impressions: This IS Breakfast Cider. Of course discerning cider drinkers may certainly find other times of day to enjoy this most wholesome and refreshing drink.

Tasting was over a period of days and the cider is so fresh and alive that each day it offered a different profile and was SO lively. Sweet, silky, astringent, slightly effervescent, and bursting with all kinds of apple cider goodness. We love this cider. High marks for transporting qualities.

If we were having Breezy Hill Orchard’s Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider with donuts for breakfast we might try something like:

Dynamo Donut Maple Glazed Bacon Apple Donuts – AND they make a Quince Crumb Donut.

EVERYDAY is Bacon Donut Day.

Donut Plant‘s Ginger Donut – Cake or Yeast.

For further reading while enjoying your Breakfast Cider:

Donut Planet: the History of the Donut by Michael Krondl at Savuer.com

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Cider Review: Cider52: Harvest Moon Cidery Heritage Hops Hard Cider with Hops

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Cider: HARVEST MOON CIDERY HERITAGE HOPS HARD CIDER with Hops

Maker: Harvest Moon Cidery

Origin: Critz Farms, Cazenovia, New York

website: harvestmooncidery.com

ABV: 6.75% Bottle: 22 oz bottle, crown cap

Style Notes: Hopped hard cider. Made from fresh sweet cider, with champagne yeasts, lightly carbonated.

Fruit: Apples.

Makers Bottle Notes: “Our Heritage Hops Cider is a tribute to the early hop growing history of Madison County, dating back to the mid 1800’s. Using a strain of locally grown hops, propagated from those originally grown nearby, we “dry hop” the cider after fermentation. It is aged for several months, then lightly carbonated”.

Tasting Notes: In The Glass: Clear, bright, pale straw. Initially lots of large bubbles, some legs, settles into a tiny mousse ring. Piquant, slightly pungent, winey, Sauvignon Blanc, steel, hoppy, herbaceous, asparagus, green pepper. Tannic, slightly bitter bite from the hops, medium long finish, somewhat drying.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: Liddabit Sweets Sweet Potato and Black Pepper Caramels. Cider enhances the caramel’s flavors and the caramels intensify the bitter crisp acidity of the hoppy cider.

Cheesemonger’s Notes: Any bloomy rind goats milk (Humboldt Fog, Coupole, Valencay) will pair exceptionally well with the bright flavors in this cider. Spicy Blues such as Valdeon or Blaue Geiss would also be lively companions.

Overall Impressions Refreshing flavors of fresh cut grass, minerals, green pepper, nettles and of course hops. If you love American IPAs this is a cider for you.

Note: Harvest Moon Cidery, Critz Farms “plans to establish a new orchard dedicated specifically to growing cider apples. A mix of European cider apple trees and other dessert apple trees will be planted in the spring of 2014.”

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

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Cider Review: Cider52: West County Cider Redfield

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Cider: WEST COUNTRY CIDER REDFIELD

Maker: West County Cider

Origin: Colrain, Massachusetts website: www.westcountycider.com

ABV: 5.9 % Bottle: 750 ml. clear bottle, champagne cork

Style Notes: Small batch varietal hard cider, made with Redfield apples and Golden Delicious apples.

Fruit: Apple

Makers Fruit Notes: Bottle Notes: The Redfield is a rare, red-fleshed American apple, both tart and tannic. It makes a cider of vibrant color and fruit. Mid-dry. 2011 harvest 350 cases. From fresh pressed apples, contains sulfites. 75% Redfield, Apex Orchards, Shelburne, Mass. 25% Golden Delicious, Wheelview Orchard, Shelburne, MA.

About the Apple: From Vintage Virginia Apples “REDFIELD is a highly unusual cross between Wolf River and Niedzwetzskayana Red Crab. The fruit is medium to large, waxy-pink to red. The deep-red flesh is slightly dry, making it a superb baking apple that also produces an exceptional jelly, blood red cider, or vinegar. It is high in pectin, but is not for fresh eating, and has a short storage life. Extremely hardy tree is disease and pest free. Heavy annual bearer. Highly ornamental with bronze leaves and red blossoms. Ripens in October. Zones 3-4. Developed at the New York Station, 1938″.

Tasting Notes – In The Glass: Clear bright lively shine. Pale rose – light copper in (clear) bottle and glass. Light mousse ring, slight legs/tears. Aroma of red fruit, berries, hints of licorice, confectionary, culinary apple, sugar, honey, fresh apple fruit, red apple skins, hint of balsa wood, grass, anise. Winey and full of tannins.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: This cider drinks well on it’s own but we wouldn’t hesitate to serve it alongside Lamb, Duck, or any citrus or berry based desserts.

Cheesemonger’s Notes: Aged cheeses with a hint of sweetness and intensity will compliment the fruit and anise notes of the cider. Try Midnight Moon (aged goats milk Gouda) or Cabot Clothbound Cheddar (by Jasper Hill).

Overall Impressions: Oh so pretty in the glass, if there were beauty contests for cider Redfield would be a top contender! It’s not lacking in personality either- pleasing acidity, crisp, slightly tannic, yet juicy. Semi dry with a very fleeting sweetness and a tad bit of salinity. Drinks like a wine- the Pinot of cider.

Note: Here is a cider that uses 25% Golden Delicious apples to great effect.

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

EteinneDupont8407003885_4465493947_bCider: ETIENNE DUPONT CIDRE BOUCHE´ BRUT DE NORMANDIE 2011

Maker: Domaine Dupont

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

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

ABV: 5.5%  Bottle: 750 ml, champagne cork

Style Notes: Unfiltered, unpasteurized Normandy style cider.

Fruit: Apples

Makers Fruit Notes: “Domaine Dupont uses no less than 13 different varieties of cider apple, all perfectly adapted to the Pays d’Auge terroir. Terroir consists of nutrient poor clay and marl soil, perfect for giving small fruit. The aromatic intensity is thereby increased and the ratio of skin to pulp helps to favour the extraction of tannins.”

Tasting Notes – In The Glass: Glowing soft slightly opaque amber. Yeasty, hints of leather, orange citrus, spice, vanilla, and apple custard. Frothy effervescent cream soda, Orangina quality. Smells of the orchard and barnyard.

Parings Suggestions & Flavor Compliments: Traditional buckwheat savory crêpe, a galette (David Lebovitz has a recipe here), perhaps with ham and Gruyère, maybe something a bit mushroomy and earthy. Try with a fruit and cheese, or classic tart tatin.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: Paired with braise of turkey sausage, savoy cabbage and roasted root vegetables, and whole grain cranberry and citrus applesauce bread. Tartness of cranberry and the caramelized roasted roots paired well with the sweet, tart, frothy cider.

Cheesemonger’s Notes: On the softer side, the richness and truffle essence of Fromage de Meaux will balance the fruit and effervescence of the cider. Nutty aged cheeses such as Comte, Pleasant Ridge Reserve, or Cabot Clothbound Cheddar with its butterscotch undertones, will all be excellent mates as well.

Note: Domaine Dupont labels each bottling with vintage year.

Overall Impressions: Rustic, earthy, effervescent, slightly sweet, hints of leather, and lovely in the glass.

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

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Cider Review: Harvest Moon Cidery Four Screw Hard Cider with Maple Syrup: Cider52

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Cider: HARVEST MOON CIDERY FOUR SCREW HARD CIDER with Maple Syrup

Maker: Harvest Moon Cidery  Origin: Critz Farms, Cazenovia, New York

website: harvestmooncidery.com

ABV: 6.25%   Bottle: 22 oz bottle, crown cap

Style Notes: Dessert apples, champagne yeasts, maple syrup added.

Fruit: Apples.

Makers Fruit Notes: “Our hard cider is crafted from a special blend of sweet and tart dessert apples pressed on our 1890′s rack and cloth Four Screw Press.”

Tasting Notes: In The Glass: Bright, clear, light gold. Big bubbles. Winey, culinary apple, hint of lime zest. Maple provides a light candied sugar flavor. Sweet, tart, balanced, with a slight warming finish.

Parings Suggestions & Flavor Compliments:

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: We tried Harvest Moon Cidery Four Screw with Belgian ginger cookies and gingerbread caramels. Tasty. Four Screw’s subtle nutty notes suggest it would pair well with roasted and caramelized foods, bitter greens, roast fruit.

Cheesemonger’s Notes: Any cheese with a nutty, caramel profile, some crunch, and a bit of age would pair well with Four Screw.

Overall Impressions:  This cider was a surprise, “with maple syrup” suggested a sugar bomb and darker color. The maple gave the cider just a hint of candied sweetness that balanced the tartness and acidity. Thanks Maple Syrup!

Note: According to their website Harvest Moon Cidery, Critz Farms “plans to establish a new orchard dedicated specifically to growing cider apples. A mix of European cider apple trees and other dessert apple trees will be planted in the spring of 2014”.

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

 

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