Saturday, September 26, 2015

Cider Review: Good Life Cider's Cazenovia Plus their Call to the Barrel Dinner

 Now that we're so close to the start of Finger Lakes Cider Week, I'm reviewing ciders by local participants. This will be my first year living here when I can really participate in cider week as a cider drinker and not just a cider pourer. Though I'll miss getting to see hundreds and hundreds of reactions to quality craft cider in one cider week, I'm excited to experience it more for myself. This leads us to...Good Life Cider!

Good Life Cider hosts and anchors the new Finger Lakes Cider House along with a handful of other Finger Lakes Cideries. Garrett and Jimmy Miller and Melissa Madden create the cider and care for their larger farm enterprises. 

You can read a bit more about their cider here:

I found only a limited amount of information on this cider online, cobbled together from beer review sites and stores selling the bottles. I do know that it is named for a soil type: one present on the Good Life Farm.
Dry. Champagne style. Austere acidity backed with soft round tannins, coming from European bittersweets; Dabinett and Chisel Jersey. Aromas of ripe pear and caraway. Rich, creamy mouthfeel with a long sparkling finish. (8.3% ABV, 0.3%RS) Secondary fermentation lasted three months in bottle
Aromas of Bosc pear and red apple skin float alongside citrus fruit and distinct minerality.  The palate shows a pleasant tartness with round and rich mouthfeel and persistent sparkling finish.

Appearance: pale lemon, visible bubbles, brilliant

The most striking thing about the appearance of this cider is how the bubbles both gather at the bottom of the glass and race upwards. It's beautifully exciting!

Aroma: spicy, cooked apple, caramel

From the smell, I would expect some inclusion of Russet varieties or Northern Spy or Greenings, but that's far from precise. This cider smells lovely and like it will have both tannic and acidic activity in pleasing levels. That edge of soft spiciness is often a good sign.

Dryness/sweetness: dry to off dry

There's almost no percievable sugar or sweetness in this cider. In my book that makes it dry. What I do get though is enough various fruit notes to round it out and make it more lush than austere. There are dry ciders that feel more aggressive or severe than this. There's so much more to a cider like this than its level of sweetness OR dryness.

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, medium tannins, strong sparkle,

The high acidity comes across as a bright punch of citrus and pineapple in the mid palate. I'm also getting a lot of cherries and raspberries. The whole experience is taut with acid. Bottle conditioning leads to a high level of sparkle, but not a lot of additional body in this case. Like the smell, the flavors include some on the subtly appley spicy side. 

It's not very yeasty or funky when cold, but hints of farminess became apparent when the cider reaches a cellar temperature rather than the more chilled white wine temperature. When reviewing, I like to taste a cider at both just to see what differences emerge. 

I paired this cider with an evening of relaxing conversation and a Mexico-inspired soup with beans, chickpeas, tortillas, peppers, tomatoes, rice, and avocado. I'd recommend this pairing, or taking it with you on a last picnic before this beautiful mellow fall gets too cool. Enjoy!

And don't forget! Finger Lakes Cider Week is coming up!

This event: Call to the Barrel Dinner will feature Good Life Ciders among others along with tapas inspired dishes and lots of cider toasts! Happening soon: October 6th at 6:30pm. Tickets available online for $50 and include food and drink the whole night through.