Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Cider Review: Bauman’s Cider Mountain Rose and Wheel Line Cider's Mainline

I hope everyone reading this is healthy, doing what they can to stay that way and keeping others healthy too. If you’re stuck at home, working way too many hours at an essential job, unmoored in a land with no time and only pajamas, or attempting to just keep your own livelihood afloat, you are not alone. I want to offer what support I can from a safe distance, so stay tuned for some extra fun cider content and activities coming soon. But for today, two reviews from cideries I’ve never reviewed before!

I want to start Bauman’s Cider. I was lucky enough to receive a review sample in the mail recently. And let me say, getting cider samples has only increased in excitement in these days of staying at home.

Bauman’s Century Farm Cider was founded by Christine Walter who combines her science expertise with her farm familiar upbringing to make the best cider she can. The cidery’s name hearkens back to the homesteading days of the 1890s when the Oregon farm was founded.The orchard is part of a now 5th generation family farm.There are many mentions of the farm’s first cider maker Christine’s great-grandpa Stephen, but the brand speaks clearly about both appreciating tradition and looking forward for the possibilities of progress.

Visit the cidery homepage to learn more.

The cider I want to share first is the small batch Mountain Rose.

Here’s Bauman’s official description.

Mountain Rose apples have a delicate red flesh, that glows the perfect blush hue when fermented. They have lots of acid and aromatics. We fermented just these apples, with a white wine yeast to puckeringly dry, then aged in French Riesling barrels for a month. This blush cider is dry, but with lots of mouth feel from the time in oak. 6.9%aBV.

Appearance: flamingo pink, bubbly and brilliant

This cider’s pink hue reminds me of flamingos. The Mountain Rose is brilliant and shows off some fun bubble action in the glass. (Apologies for the fuzzy picture!)

Aromas: Grape, ripe apple, red currants

The Mountain Rose smells like newly washed graped, red currants, and ripe apples. There’s the barest whisper of volatile acidity, but only enough to perk up the anticipation of tartness.

Sweetness/Dryness: Semi-dry

The Mountain Rose manages to create a lovely and lofty balance as a semi-dry cider. What sweetness is present is that of berries and fruit.

Flavors and drinking experience: high acidity, berries, citrus and zest

It's true that color can change our perception of flavor, but whatever is working on my brain and palate, I can taste berries, citrus and apple in this cider. The Mountain Rose does bring the super high acidity that I expected after its aromas. The acidity plus the light semi-dryness makes for a light bodied and very zippy cider. It’s not without tannins though!

This fruity, berry forward cider just keeps pleasing me with its bubbles, balance, and beauty. We paired this with a sauteed grouper, potato pancakes, and asparagus. The cider was a mouth-watering accompaniment for this light and springy meal. I loved it.

And my next cider is one I got from Press then Press. I’ve been wanting more access to west coast ciders (an ongoing issue for me). I emailed Chris at the company, let him know my general profile preferences, and he created a custom case for me. It was a great experience! 

Learn about all the ciders and your purchase options here:

Here’s a video of me unboxing my order:

My first cider from that box is Wheel Line Cider’s Mainline! This cidery is a family business and orchard in Washington State. I appreciate how much I read about fruit and apple varieties when I peruse the website. Apples make cider, and it matters what apples people use for their blends.

Here’s how the cidery describes the Mainline.

This cider features the Harry Masters Jersey apple that has been partially aged in white oak barrels, with partial spontaneous ferment and then blended together creating a unique smell and flavor profile. The aroma has hints of toffee, caramel and vanilla, with a tasty tart, crisp green apple flavor that will leave you pallet craving more!  ABV: 7%.

Once I had the honor of knowing a cat named after the Harry Masters Jersey apple, so I have a particular fondness for seeing that apple in cider.

Appearance: deep saffron color, hazy, some bubbles

This cider reminds me so much of some french and english style ciders based on its appearance. The color is warm and deep like threads of saffron. It’s just a bit hazy with some visible bubbles.

Aromas: fruity, white grapes, pears, mild oxidation

Wow! I am totally impressed with how fruity and juicy this cider smells. The Mainline is just brimming over with notes of pear and white grape. The aromas are very juicy and just a little oxidized. It smells like the tiniest drizzle of hot caramel over a dessert of fresh fruit.

Dryness/sweetness: Semi-dry

This shocked me, because I expected a sweeter cider based on those aromas. While the Mainline isn’t fully dry, it’s close.

Flavors and drinking experience: funk, minerals, acidity, stone fruit

The Mainline cider is much funkier, drier, and higher acid than I expected from those aromas. I was really thinking I’d get a fruit salad in a glass, but this is more like minerals, fusel oils, and farmy funk. This cider will wake you up!

I appreciate intense minerality and acid, so I’m super happy with this surprise. Fans of funky, super tart ciders should take notice. My initial notes for acidity were, “Yowsers, ear curling acid!.” 

The cider isn’t strongly sparkling, I’d describe it as more mildly petillant.

The Mainline does bring some fruit to the drinking experience. My co-taster noticed and remarked upon a note of under ripe nectarines on the finish. Since those are his favorite fruit, consider this high and specific praise. We enjoyed this cider with our last frozen flatbread pizza dressed up with yellow bell pepper and extra Parmesan. It was a strong pairing, but I get the feeling that the Mainline could lighten much heavier foods with ease. I think I’d choose to put it with a baked macaroni next time!

Stay safe folks and break out the good stuff!