Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Cider Reviews: Redbyrd Orchard Cider Workman Dry and Grisamore Ciderworks' Currantly

We are now in the midst of Finger Lakes Cider Week 2018! I started my cider week celebrations at Ithaca’s Apple Harvest Festival on September 28th, but the fun will go on through October 7th all over the region. 

Find out what events are featuring your favorite ciders here: https://ciderweekflx.com/flx/events/

My highlight so far was enjoying Cider Sunday at Cornell. There were two walking tours of Cornell Orchards as well as the chance to taste and blend soft ciders on site and taste the finished products of eight different Finger Lakes Cider producers, paired with beautiful bites of food from Cornell Catering. I tasted a few ciders there and wanted to share impressions of two local ciders for this week’s blog post.

I’m starting today with the Workman Dry by Redbyrd Orchard Cider. This cider comes from Trumansburg, New York. It was founded in 2010 by Eric Shatt and Deva Mass. This cidery focuses on developing their own biodynamic orchard and farm. 

Visit Redbyrd Orchard Cider online: https://redbyrdorchardcider.com

I’ve reviewed several Redbyrd Orchard Ciders over the years:

The Wild Pippin was my favorite cider of 2014: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/12/cider-review-redbyrd-orchard-ciders.html

I tried their North Star in 2015: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/01/cider-review-redbyrd-orchard-ciders.html

A long while ago I enjoyed the Harvest Dry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/12/cider-review-reddbyrd-2013-harvest-cider.html

And my first review of anything by Redbyrd Orchard Cider was their Starblossom: https://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/10/finger-lakes-cider-week-special-review.html

But today I’m sharing my impressions of one of their core ciders the Workman Dry (the 2017 batch).

It’s official description focuses very much on the apples used for the cider.  

Workman Dry ’17 – A floral nose of Rose, Honeycomb and Palo Santo.  Mineral, Slate, Lemongrass and Ginger, finishing with bright Citrus and Lemon Zest. Bright , Crisp, Playful. 20% Cox Orange Pippin, 14% Goldrush, 10% Margil, 9% Newtown Pippin, 9% Spigold, 8% Dolgo Crab.  Also containing – Rhode Island Greening, Roxbury Russett, Rubinette, Zabergau Reinette, Baldwin, Freedom, Macfree, Honeycrisp, Zestar, Browns Apple, Dabinett, Brown Snout, Bulmers Norman, Ellis Bitter, Somerset Redstreak, Harrison Crab, Tremblitts Bitter and unnamed wild apples.

Appearance: Transparent, straw, fine bubbles

This cider looks transparent rather than brilliant with a clean straw color. I see some bubbles at the top of the glass. 

Aromas: Peanuts, white grape, ripe apples, meadow flowers

What delightful and surprising aromas! This cider not only smells like fruit in the form of ripe apples and white grapes, but it also smells like delicate meadow flowers, and peanuts. 

Dryness/sweetness: Dry 

This is a dry yet fruity cider.

Flavors and drinking experience: tart, wine like, balanced

I like how this extra tart tastes dry but fruity for every microsecond I am tasting it. The cider has a distinctly vinous finish that reminds me both of crisp white wines and freshly cut nectarines.It has a medium body with good balance. Though there’s some tannin present, the primary driver of the drinking experience is the acidity.

In terms of texture the Workman Dry has a deeply pleasurable bubble. I so enjoy fine and tiny bubble like these. The overall intensity of sparkle comes across as on the higher side of medium. It’s a flexible and approachable cider for one as dry as it is. I’ve had several batches of the Workman Dry and this is definitely the best one I’ve tried yet.

Grisamore Ciderworks Currantly

I like how Grisamore Ciderworks introduces themselves on the cider labels. “In 1975 Paul and Christine Grisamore planted their first apple orchard. As their grandchildren we are using the same apple trees to make Grisamore Cider Works hard cider today. We are fermenting small batches including a wide variety of flavors. Our goal is to provide an affordable hard cider for all to enjoy.”

Check out the website for lots of picture of orchards and cidermaking: http://grisamoreciderworks.com

Or, you can also find them on Facebook for product updates and the most up-to-date information: https://www.facebook.com/grisamoreciderworks/

Previously I reviewed their 24.4: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/04/cider-review-grisamore-cider-works-244.html

I was able to taste the newest release Currantly at Cornell’s cider event.

Grisamore’s official description is brief, “An aromatic semi-dry cider aged on our astringent currants.”

Appearance: hazy, pearly pink, bubbly

This cider looks hazy and delicately pink. It’s charming and different, not as intense as a rose hue but something distinct. I can also see lots of bubbles in the cider. 

Aromas: Cool, peppery, fruity

This cider greets me with a bracing salivary reaction. It smells like fresh apples, but it’s a blended with cool and herbal aromas. Something reminds me of mint, rosemary, and pepper.

Dryness/sweetness: off-dry

This cider is off dry but will come across to many people as dry. Read on to find out why.

Flavors and drinking experience: Astringent, savory, high acid, 

This cider is exciting! That’s my overarching impression as I drink it. Though it’s just off-dry, I think many folks will taste it as dry because it’s both high in acidity and astringent. That doesn’t mean the Currantly is simply austere. The cider has lots and lots of flavor ranging from fruit notes including quince, orange, and currants but also spicy and savory like peppercorns. The acidity powers an intense experience.

 Something about this cider encourages me to pair it with rich cheeses and dried fruits. I enjoyed it tremendously. The currants only come through relatively indirectly, but they add something special with that tart astringence.