Cider Review: Españar Sidra de Asturias 2011: Cider52

servicios_1242950537_450Cider: ESPAÑAR SIDRA DE ASTURIAS  2011

Maker: Llagar El Gobernador  Origin: Viadi (orchards), Asturias, Spain


Importer: Rowan Imports  website:

ABV: 6 %   Bottle: 750 ml, cork

Style Notes: Asturian cider, naturally occurring indigenous yeasts used in fermentation.

Fruit: Apples.

Makers Fruit Notes: A blend of three hand picked DOP/PDO (Denominaciones de Origen Protegidas-protected designation of origin) certified heirloom cider apples varietals: Raxao, Regona, and Durona de Tresali (pictured). Apples are allowed to fall and mature on the orchard floor before processing.

Tasting Notes: In The Glass: Bright, clear, golden, green. Tart green apple, grass, wet straw, citrus, winey, yeasty, slightly tannic.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: We tried with Jasper Hill Farm’s Winnimere, a raw cows milk washed rind cheese from Vermont.*

Note: An earlier tasting successfully paired Españar Sidra de Asturias with spicy marcona almonds, and Asturian cheeses: Queso de Valdeón, Afuega´l Pitu, and Ahumado de Pria, a smoked mixed milk cheese, and walnut date cake. Read more about Asturian Cheeses at Quesos de Asturias.

Overall Impressions: A clean, crisp, Asturian cider that drinks like a light, white wine.

*This cider was part of a Murray’s Cheese tasting class This Cider House Rules: Paring Cider and Cheese, in January of 2013.  Rowan Imports was on hand to discuss this cider and Asturian cider making practices.

Apple images from

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Cider52: Cider Review: POMONA cider/braggot at Birreria Eataly NYC

Cider52: Cider on the Go – Birreria at Eataly NYC

Eataly’s rooftop restaurant and brewery Birreria features an assortment of on site brewed cask ales.

Cider: POMONA cider/braggot on cask at La Birreria NYC.

Maker: “Head brewer Peter Hepp is brewing unfiltered, unpasteurized and naturally carbonated Cask Ales just 30 feet from where you sit, eat and drink. Each is served through traditional hand pumps, at the perfect temperature, so you can enjoy our beers in the most natural and traditional way.”

Origin: Birreria at Eataly NYC

ABV % Unknown

Fruit & Style Notes: Breezy Hill Orchard apples and Catskills Provisions honey

Tasting Notes: SEMI DRY and extremely light with a slight sourness.

Overall: Beer meets Cider meets Mead.

Note: From The Oxford Companion to Beer:  “Braggot, a drink that was popular in parts of medieval Europe. Braggots are beers containing large amounts of honey in the wort, sometimes more than 50% of the original gravity. As such they are technically not necessarily considered beer at all, but beverages on the border between beer and mead.”

Cider Review: CASTAÑÓN Sidra Natural 2011: Cider52

mundo_de_la_manzanaCider: CASTAÑÓN SIDRA NATURAL 2011

Maker: Castañón Sidra Natural  Origin: Asturias, Spain  website:

Importer: Rowan Imports website:

ABV: 6%  Bottle:  750 ml, cork

Style Notes: Traditional Asturian sidra, fermented with native yeasts.

Fruit: Apples

Makers Fruit Notes: Blend of Regona apples and 21 other PDO certified native varietals.

Tasting Notes: In The Glass: Pale straw, hints of green, unfiltered, unpasteurized, visible sediments. Bracing acidity “amargo”, tart fresh apple fruit, dry, tannic, effervescent.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: We tried with Salva Cremasco, an Italian cows milk cheese*. Try pairing with melted cheeses and fruit jams, or rustic garlicy onion jams, hearty salads, kale, bitter greens, cured meats, sausages, aged cheeses. When in doubt pair with Spanish tapas.

Cheesemonger’s Notes:  The zingy acidity of this cider will nicely match that of a goats milk cheese such as Montenebro or Humboldt Fog. For those who prefer things on the stinkier side try this with Hudson Red or Cowgirl Creamery’s Red Hawk.

Overall Impressions: (We) could drink this with anything. Sweet or savory. Fresh, tart, full of “amargo”, about 80 calories a bottle, and just this side of vinegar, it’s clear why Asturianos favor this drink throughout the day. Traditional Sidra de Asturias may not be what you were expecting from a cider, but it is certainly worth trying.

Note: June, 2012 marks Castañón’s first export shipment to New York.

*This cider was part of a Murray’s Cheese tasting class, This Cider House Rules: Paring Cider and Cheese, in January of 2013.  Rowan Imports was on hand to discuss this cider and Asturian cider making practices.

Apple images from

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Cider Review: EM Emilio Martinez Signature Cider 2011: Cider52

servicios_1242950584_450Cider: EM EMILIO MARTINEZ SIGNATURE CIDER  2011

Maker: El Gobernador  Origin: Villaviciosa, Asturias, Spain


Importer: Rowan Imports  website:

ABV: 8%  Bottle: 750 ml, champagne cork

Style Notes: Asturian sparkling cider, champagne method.

Fruit: Apples

Makers Fruit Notes: A blend of three hand picked PDO  (Denominaciones de Origen Protegidas-protected designation of origin) certified heirloom cider apple varietals: Raxao (pictured), Regona, and Blanquina.

Tasting Notes: In The Glass: Pale straw, sparkling, dry, yeasty, winey, crisp green fruit, with “amargo”- a pleasant tart astringency.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: We tried Saint Maure, a French Loire Valley goat cheese*

Cheesemonger’s Notes: Goat milk cheeses are an excellent choice. Try pairing with a tangy Boucheron, Vermont Butter and Cheese’s mixed goat and cows milk Cremont, a Catalonian Nevat, or an ash coated Mont Enebro, from Avila in Castilla y Leon. Don’t feel like goats milk cheese ? Try a young, supple, caramelly Gouda.

Overall Impressions: A sparkling cider traditionally served in Spain for holidays and celebrations. Try this instead of a cava, prosecco, or other sparkling wine. A festive drink with tapas, or mix it with blood orange juice for Spanish influenced take on a mimosa.

*This cider was part of a Murray’s Cheese tasting class, This Cider House Rules: Paring Cider and Cheese, in January of 2013.  Rowan Imports was on hand to discuss this cider and Asturian cider making practices.

If you want to read a bit about apples used in Asturian cider visit this link

Apple images from

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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:

Importer: B. United International, Inc.  website:

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.

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




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


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.


Cider Review: Domaine Christian Drouin Poire Pear Cider: Cider52

Maker: Domaine Christian Drouin  Origin: Rouen, France website:
ABV: 4%   Bottle: 375 ml half bottle, champagne cork
Style Notes: Traditional Normandy pear cider or poire cidre, sparkling, unfiltered, unpasteurized, and bottle conditioned.
Importer: B. United International, Inc. website:
Fruit: Pears. Plant de Blanc, Muscadet, Tricotin, Avenelle and Poire de Grise.
Makers Fruit Notes: Pear is a fruit of patience! A pear tree needs 50 years to reach its maturity but will live for more than 200 years.”
Tasting Notes: In The Glass: Clear, pale, sparkling. Perfumed, inviting, complex. Tastes of fresh pear fruit, hints of melon and citrus, natural sediments in glass, rustic with a clean pure sweetness, balanced by refreshing acidity.
Parings Suggestions & Flavor Compliments: Shellfish, Dungeness crab, oysters, poached fish, young greens, endive, artichokes, leeks, fennel, fresh herbs, citrus, rustic tarts, zabaglione and berries, fruit ices. 
Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: We tried Poire with French pâtisserie, plum and apricot tarts, chocolate covered almonds and orange jellies. Excellent with all, especially well paired with the citrus candy- creating a delicious creamsicle flavor.
Cheesemonger’s Notes: Try Poire with young, soft, bloomy rind, double or triple cream cheeses, such as Fromager d’Affinois, St. Angel, Brillat Savarin, Cowgirl Creamery’s Mount Tam, or even a lavender and goat cheese fondue.
Overall Impressions: Extremely pleasing apéritif, perfect to pair with cheese or sweets. Well balanced, well structured. Elegant, festive, and refreshing, with an incredibly alluring pear perfume. 
If you have tasting notes to add please leave a comment.

Cider Review: Original Sin Newtown Pippin Cider: Cider52



Maker: Original Sin Hard Cider  Origin: New York* website:

ABV:  6.7%  Bottle:  750 ml, crown cap

Style Notes: Sparkling single varietal heirloom apple cider made with champagne yeast.

Fruit: Apple. Newtown Pippin.

Makers Fruit Notes: “The Prince of Apples. First discovered as a seedling in Queens, New York in 1730, the Newtown Pippin earned a reputation as one of the finest apples of its day and was cherished by both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who cultivated it in their personal estates. Commonly used in hard cider production, this storied apple was sold to the United Kingdom in large quantities, helping to establishing the United States fruit export industry.”

Tasting Notes: In The Glass: Pale yellow straw. Fresh apple aroma. Fast sweet start, with hints of caramel, balanced by juicy tart acidity, “green apple in a glass”.

Parings Suggestions & Flavor Compliments: Fried foods, spicy  foods, think Thai, Indian, Chinese, spring rolls, pork dumplings. Good “small plate” and appetizer-pairing cider.

Our Pairings – The Tasting Lab: We tried Newtown Pippin with Dirty Bird takeout fried chicken, garlic kale, and cornbread. Perfect lunch pairing. The cider was even more enjoyable with food.

Cheesemonger’s Notes: Try pairing Newtown Pippin with Alpine-style or mountain cheeses, such as Appenzeller or other washed rind cheese. Would be great with a grilled cheese sandwich, or fancy slice.

Overall Impressions: Easily drinkable Original Sin Newtown Pippin cider is a single varietal apple cider that is enhanced by pairing. Fresh, crisp, juicy, tart, and clean. Tastes just like we imagine a Newtown Pippin in a glass would. Raise a glass and celebrate New York’s Newtown Pippin. Hurray for the return of an important heirloom apple as a New York made cider!

*Note: Listed as a New York company. This bottle of Original Sin Newtown Pippin was bottled in Milton Freewater, Oregon.