Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Very Perry May with Windfall Orchards Perry and Champlain Orchards Cranberry Cider + GLINTCAP Results

How can it feel like summer so soon after cold nights and chilly mornings? We worried about apple blossoms so recently that it scarcely feels real to be mowing, weeding, and grilling already. This is the magic of May. Today marks my last official entry into 2019’s Very Perry May (though I do have a couple more interesting perries up my sleeve that I’ll be reviewing soon).

I was able to get a bottle from a very small run of perry from Windfall Orchards over the winter, so I’ve been waiting on break this open. This past week, I had the perfect opportunity when doing pescatarian hot pot with some dear friends.

Cornwall, Vermont is the home of Windfall Orchards.I’m not finding out a lot about this small cidery online, save that the company has been making cider, perry, and ice cider since 2009. Windfall Orachards grows a large number of apple and other fruit varieties on a small Vermont farm.

Visit the website to learn about the products Windfall Orchards makes: https://windfallorchardvt.com

The run was small, but the labelling makes clear that the perry is 9% ABV. Elsewhere online, I was able to see that the Farm House Perry uses 12 types of pear to create this perry.

Appearance: hazy, bubbly, warm straw

Like many American perries, the Farmhouse Perry has a mild warm straw color and just a hint of haze. I could see lots of bubbles in the glass when it was poured.

Aromas: pear flesh, dust, hay, flowers, salt
Windfall Orchards’ Farmhouse perry smells enticing and delicate at once. I get notes of pear flesh, dust, hay, Daffodils, and salt. I cannot quote predict what this perry will taste like based on such a range of aromas, and that’s exciting to me!

Sweetness/dryness: off dry

The Farmhouse Perry tastes off dry but only just. The sweetness that’s there is very directly like pear.

Flavors and drinking experience: burstingly bubbly, green tea, fresh pear, grippy

Oh wow! This is such a delightful perry. It’s bubbles are so plentiful and active that it splashes into your face when you are sniffing it. I love that this perry reminds me of delicate herbal notes like green tea and lemongrass while also tasting like fresh pears and a bit of squash.

This off dry Perry is high acid with medium tannins and a tiny bit of funk. I relish it’s delightful big fruit flavors. It’s most rewarding in large sips that show off it’s good grippy toothsome texture and fruity finish. This is a complete delight! I loved having this with hot pot too!

Champlain Orchards Cranberry  Cider

I want to stay with Vermont beverages this week and share my experience with Champlain Cranberry Semi-Dry. I’ve tasted a few ciders by Champlain Orchard but not nearly as many as I’d like based on how much I’ve enjoyed those I’ve tried. 

I reviewed (and loved) the Heirloom (it made it to my #5 favorite cider that year): http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/09/cider-review-champlain-orchards-cidery.html

I included Champlain Orchard’s Single-Varietal Honeycrisp Ice Cider Library Edition in a pairing dinner last year with dessert: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/09/my-dear-friend-el-just-had-birthday.html

My first encounter with Champlain Orchards was when I visited on the 2nd day of my Vermont cider trip: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-great-vermont-cider-tour-day-2.html

I recommend Champlain Cidery’s website to learn  more about all the different ciders Champlain Orchards makes: http://www.champlainorchardscidery.com

Champlain keeps the official description short and sweet, "Delicious and refreshing, our Apple Cranberry Hard Cider balances the sweetness of apples with the tartness of Vermont cranberries. ABV 5.6%"

Appearance: brilliant, true ruby, no visible bubbles

I love the look of many fruit ciders, and the Cranberry Semi-Dry is no exception. It’s too pretty to be sold in a can! I’d call the color true ruby and it appears brilliant.

Aromas: dusty, cranberries, almonds

Oooh! I can smell that dusty, mineral aroma that I find on lots of tannic ciders. This one also smells very directly of cranberries. The last note I get reminds me of granola with almonds.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-dry
This semi-dry cider needs both the dry and sweet elements to keep it well rounded and balanced. I’ll explain more below. 

Flavors and drinking experience: tart, astringent, good body, balanced

The Cranberry Semi-Dry tastes almost alarmingly tart, but because it’s semi-dry, the overall experience balanced out into pleasant tartness, sweetness, fruit, and astringence.  I apprecaite the heft to this cider’s body, the clean fermentation and the tannins from the cranberry. The whole drinking experience feels admirably balanced and hangs together nicely. 

I had the Cranberry Semi-Dry with black bean burritos and found it delightfully refreshing.  The cider has medium-rich mouthfeel and a good strong sparkle. I appreciate that it has just the right amount of sweetness—not so much that it loses interest.

This lovely cranberry cider also tastes more appealing when poured into a glass.  The cranberry in the can, without being aerated, tastes a bit more like juice. I know canning is totally practical, but when you can pour your cider into a class to access all of it’s delicious aromas!

And for those who have been following GLINTCAP, the full medal results are up! Check them out here: https://glintcap.org/