Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cider Review: Foggy Ridge Cider's Serious Cider

I love living in cider country. There are many quality cider makers working less than an hour from my porch. They release new cider several times a year. We have a most excellent cider week.There's a lot of be grateful for, but its no excuse for me not to know about serious cidermakers from other places. So, I'm excited to share my review of a cider I tried on a trip to New York City a while ago. 

To set the scene, it was an unseasonably cool and gray day for being a tourist, and I knew someplace that would feel warm and welcoming and gorgeous while having a stellar cider selection. So, I made plans to meet up with a friend at Gramercy Tavern (http://www.gramercytavern.com/) to get to know the cider menu. 

Gramercy Tavern is everything I hoped it would be: comfortable and welcoming yet decadent. There, I was able to try a few cider I'd not seen elsewhere. This is how I got my hands on a Foggy Ridge Cider. The only downside was that the lighting was not very conducive to reasonable pictures. Please accept some my one relevant picture with mercy.

Foggy Ridge Cider makes serious cider, so much so that they've named one of their ciders that. Diane Flynt grows cider apples in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and Foggy Ridge has been her cider company since 1997. For them, its all about apple variety and bringing out what's inside the apple rather than additional flavor notes from any other source. You can read more about Foggy Ridge on the website here:


I'm including the "Cidermaker Notes" on Serious Cider so we can know how it is being introduced: "Rich apple and citrus aroma with a touch of apricot and jasmine blossoms. Serious Cider is bright and lively with a creamy mid-palate. Full bodied with soft minerality and hints of peach skin and lime zest. Focused acidity combined with textured, dusty tannin create a long and pleasantly dry finish."

Here's a bit more background, including apple varieties:
Foggy Ridge Cider grows many "spitters"—high tannin apples that taste like unripe persimmons but contribute tannin to all our cider blends, especially Serious Cider, our most dry hard cider. Classic English cider apples like Tremlett's Bitter and Dabinett combine with fruity aromatic varieties such as Grimes Golden, Newtown Pippin and Gold Rush to create a cider that drinks like Brut Champagne.
Some cider geeks might experience some mouth watering just at reading those variety names. I am definitely in that group, so my expectations were pretty elevated before a glass even reached my table.

Appearance:  brilliant, no visible bubbles, yellow green

I enjoy this pale shade of greenish yellow. Its the paler version of chartreuse. Or how I imagine undersea treasure to look.

Aromas: savory, peppery, warm applesauce

It is obvious that this cider will have high levels of tannin from the fascinatings smells. Its so savory! Do I smell pepperiness or even something like smoke? All this amid gentle warm applesauce aromas. Even if I hadn't read the apple varieties, these scents say russets and bitters.

Sweetness/dryness: dry

Serious indeed! This cider is dry and just so filled with flavor! This might be a bit much for someone new to cider, but what a delight!

Flavors and drinking experience: high tannin, balanced, just a little funky

Quite high tannins and piquantly strong acid make this cider decadently exciting. The  astringence is pleasant and the finish lasts forever. I'd say its almost assuredly bottle conditioned in that its gently sparkling but very finely so. The finish remains unchanging for a very very long fade of flavor. This just lingers forever. Wow! As Alex said, it makes memories  

In terms of flavors, there's a friendly ghost of apple bitterness peel and core. The Serious Cider remains interesting and well balanced if a slight challenge for someone who doesn't like intensity. The acidity makes it a bit more than tart and maybe even ever so slightly funky but neither farmy nor off kilter.

Yes, this cider is serious. It would be sorted into house Ravenclaw. But so deliciusly appealingly serious. Drink this with a good book or a smart companion. This cider deserves it.