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.

Cider CSA – Community Supported Cider

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.

  • CSA allows members direct access to high quality agricultural products grown and crafted locally.
  • CSA members buy a “share” of regional producers goods.
  • Members get regular share allotments, usually via pick up or at drop-off location near by.
  • CSA members generally pay for the seasons produce upfront. This advance payment helps your local producer plan and prepare for the season, and as a member you directly support your local producer.
Read more about the concept and practice at Just Food.

Some US cider makers are adopting the CSA model, creating a new Community Supported Cider, an apt turn of phrase coined by Whitewood Cider, (though they opted to go with the more recognizable term – CSA).

A few Cider CSAs:

In the Northwest, Whitewood Cider of Olympia, Washington has a 2012-2013 Whitewood CSA Subscription. Check their site to see if shares are still available and to see what ciders are on offer.

Charlton Orchards Farm & Winery in Charlton, Massachusetts, offers several CSA options, including a Farm Winery CSA which includes ciders.

Redbyrd Orchard Cider in Burdett, New York is offering a Spring Cider Share for 2013. Check their site to see if shares are still available. Options include bottle shares and keg shares.

Check with your local cider maker to see if they are offering a Cider CSA option this year. Support Community Cider.

If you know of other Cider CSAs please leave a comment.