Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Cider Review: Left Foot Charley's Henry's Pippin

Today, I'm sharing my last post before holiday travel.

Left Foot Charley started as a small winery in Michigan in 2004. The website offers more information on the winery and tasting room than the cider. What I do see mentioned is a very tempting cider club that includes two cases of cider a year and ongoing discounts and fringe benefits the rest of the year. If folks reading know more, please chime in!

What's there is accessible at http://www.leftfootcharley.com.

My access to Left Foot Charley hard cider is through a bottle swap I did with wonderful Darlene Hayes of Turn them All Into Cider. She visited them and had great things to say. Thanks again for the trade, Darlene.

I had a little bit of a hard time finding copy that describes the Henry's Pippin, but one one reseller page I did find plenty of information.
Apple Varieties: Northern Spy, Smith’s Cider, Arkansas Black, Greening, Winesap, Jonathan, York Imperial, Baldwin, Ida Red, Golden Delicious

Pippin is an old word for apple. It was also used to describe someone or something that is excellent. We think this cider is pippin indeed. We blended several different fermentations from our multitude of options in the cellar. Some were fermented in barrels, some in oak tanks and some in stainless steel tanks. Months after fermentation and settling we tasted through and found this blend worked very well.

One of the lots had stopped on its own and we used that tank to add the volume in the palate. Another had a whiff of wild fermentation and we thought that brought great complexity. The rest were chosen for their aromatic and textural contributions.

We use a Solera Method to blend this cider. This means portions of the blend are also from different vintages. This allows us to maintain a complex profile in the cider that combines the freshness of a new fermentation with the aged mellowness that only time brings. Because we have already aged the cider it is ready to drink today. 
I found the above at: https://vinoshipper.com/wines/left_foot_charley/henry_s_pippin_hard_cider_10,475 but if my information is incomplete our out of date, my sincere apologies!
One tidbit that intrigued me is the mention of Solera Method, which was not a term I had heard before. Aha! A little research shows me that this is a method by which a beverage is blended with other iterations of the same beverages such that effects of aging are very adjustable in the finished product, but I admit this concept is more common in brandies and mistelles than in ciders. I have no idea what effect this will have, but I am curious.

Appearance: brilliant, pale gold

The Henry's Pippin pours with a quick to dissipate head. The color makes me think of many of my favorite heritage fruit ciders because it is a restrained pale gold. The clarity is brilliant, showing off lots of active bubbles in the glass.

Aromas: ripe apple, dusty, citrus just a hint of spice

Oh! This smells familiar. Lots of ciders that I really like start off this way. I do enjoy that spicy, appley, mellow dusty smell. Lots of my favorite heritage apples (often sharps) give these sorts of aromas.

Sweetness/dryness: semi-dry

The Henry's Pippin is a relatively straight forward semi-dry in perception, but based on the intensity of the acidity I'd be curious to learn what the residual sugar actually is.

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, fruity, balanced

This cider struck me first as an acid bomb, but it remains well balanced none the less. It did cause quite salivary reaction as it tasted so very fresh and tart. The fruitiness came across as both green appley but also like fresh ripe peaches. Overall it was very tart, very bright.

The cider has medium to medium-low tannins; the taste reminds me of a few other ciders made from american heritage cider varieties. To use GLINTCAP terminology, this is a fine example of a New World Modern Cider. I found Henry's Pippin noticeably crisp and refreshing, partly because of the combination of strong bubbles and high acid. And I looove strong bubbles. Let me emphasize, this cider is super tasty.