Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Cider Review: 2 Towns Ciderhouse's Cidre Bouché French Style Keeved Cider

Today, I want to raise my glass to a cidery stretching its own boundaries and doing a lot with its multiple different lines of ciders. To this end, today's review is of 2 Towns Ciderhouse Cidre Bouché from the Traditions line.

2 Towns Ciderhouse is a cidery based in Oregon, started by Lee Larsen and Aaron Sarnoff-Wood . They've been producing ciders since 2010. Their focus is very local and process oriented. I've had the honor of meeting lots of folks from 2 Towns at various cider event over the past five years. When describing their approach to making cider, the website emphasizes that 2 Towns Cider house does not use any artificial flavors, concentrates, or processed sugars. 

To focus in a bit more on the Traditions lineup, I read more about it on the company website, learning that it focuses on heirloom apples, barrel aging, and other historically inspired cider-making techniques. I received this sample of the Cidre Bouché for review and didn't pay for it. But, when i get the chance to buy 2 Towns Ciders, I also do.

Find out more about the Traditions line, as well as their Flagship and Seasonal ciders online:

My previous reviews for 2 Towns Cider House have included:

and the Brightcider was part of my roundup of vacation ciders: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/07/cider-review-roundup-common-cider-co.html

To be prepared for the Cidre Bouché, I read the official description to see exactly what french style means to 2 Towns Ciderhouse. Here it is:
Inspired by the bittersweet ciders of France, Cidre Bouché is made using an old-world process called keeving. Starting with 100% traditional cider varieties like Kingston Black, Michelin, Reine des Pommes, Dabinett and Muscat de Lense, we let the fruit ‘sweat’ and intensify in aroma. The apples are crushed and left to soak on the skins before the juice is fermented slowly over the course of a year, and aged in French oak casks. When finished, this keeved cider is rich, thick, and brimming with overripe bittersweet apple character. 6.9%ABV

Appearance: dark red, hazy, very very bubbly

This photo is totally unfiltered. The cider really is this dark and intensely autumn colored. The shade reminds me of strong tea and falling leaves. I'd call the cider slightly hazy and very very bubbly, which I hope comes through in the picture.

Aromas: overripe apples, leather, hay

I smell those bittersweet apples like whoa. Notes include leather, overripe apples, lemons, hay, and something woody. You could also say applesauce and a cedar aftershave. This is a gentle mellow and rich set of smells. Holy anticipation.

Sweetness/dryness: semi-sweet

This semi-sweet cider still has bitterness, and in the best possible way. I think folks who like semi-sweet ciders will enjoy it, but as a habitual dry drinker, I also find it very satisfying.

Flavors and drinking experience: rich overripe apples, bubbles, full mouthfeel

Wow! Wow wow wow. I know, that's not terribly informative or articulate, but I need to lead with that holistic first impression.This cider offers up high tannins, medium low acidity, and a rich full mouthfeel. The Cidre Bouché is very much like a french cider, but somehow just a bit more balanced with acid and very freshly bubbly.

I paired this cider with a rustic bean and vegetable stew topped with fresh green onions. The stew emphasized acidity and strong salty, earthy flavors. The rich and sweet cider made for the perfect counterpoint. To say I recommend this pairing, or something like it, would be an understatement.

This is without any doubt my favorite cider from 2 Towns Ciderhouse. They consistently make innovative and drinkable ciders, but this one stands head and shoulders above the rest. They really knew just what to do with those bittersweet apples. Yum!