Monday, September 6, 2021

Cider Review: Presque Isle Farm's Farmhouse Hard Cider 2020

I’ve not seen a bat in my house for more than a week now! And the summer’s heat has been (at least temporarily) replaced by cool mornings, golden evenings, and the freshest breezes I can remember. I’m so grateful. My weekend celebrations involved orchard time and so much fresh produce. And I love bringing out an exciting new cider to pair with my favorite recipes. That’s how I decided to open my bottle of Presque Isle Farm's Farmhouse Hard Cider 2020.

This is how the folks at Presque Isle Farm describe the project and its goals. 

Presque Isle Farm is a small centennial farm in northern Michigan. Our mission is to grow nourishing food, a healthy community, a vibrant local economy, and an ecologically flourishing environment. As the local and sustainable food movement grows nationally, we are working to bring that momentum to northern Michigan and build a foundation for health in our community and the world.

You can learn more about Presque Isle Farms online here:

This cider was shared with me at GLINTCAP by the cidermaker, after learning of its fantastic gold-medal performance in the competition. Many thanks! This is my first review of anything by Presque Isle Farm.

Here’s the cider’s official description.

6.9% ABV

Apples: 46% Kingston Black, 20% Northern Spy, 10% Bulmer’s Norman, 8% Brown Snout, 7% Idared, 6% Wild, 3% Rome

Tasting Notes: earthy, apple skin, over-ripe apple, dried fruit

The Farmhouse cider is our table cider blend. It is an everyday cider to drink with foods ranging from steak to seafood, to salads and greens. It contains about 20% bittersweet varieties of apples and 50% bittersharps which give it complexity, body, mellow tannins, and a small amount of perceived sweetness. The other 30% includes apples that add a balanced acidity bringing a crisp and refreshing finish. It tastes and smells of apple orchards.

And now for my experience with Presque Isle's Farmhouse 2020!

Appearance: transparent, mellow straw hue, few visible bubbles

The color of this cider reminds me of late summer dried grasses; it’s a mellow shade of straw. I’ll call the Farmhouse 2020 transparent. I can see a few stray bubbles in the glass but not many.  

Aromas: overripe apples, dried orange, leather

The Farmhouse 2020 smells absolutely mouthwatering to me. I’m awash in notes of leather, overripe apples, and dried orange. The cider just wafts up to my face and offers me many of my favorite cider aromas and creates a strong salivary reaction.

Sweetness/dryness: Dry

I love a dry cider. This cider brings flavor and dimension while remaining dry in a very satisfying way!

Flavors and drinking experience: overripe apples, fried lemon, caramel, tannic

The Farmhouse Cider 2020 evokes many of the same flavor notes in its flavors that I noticed in its aromas. This cider blooms with overripe apple, dried orange, and leather flavors. Additional dimensions like  candied orange peel and fried lemon arrive just on the palate. The cider bursts with high tannins and high acidity.

Everyone at the table was oohing and ahhing over this dry, perfectly balanced cider. The Farmhouse 2020 arrives with heft, and structure, lifted up by tiny active bubbles. Though it’s dry, somehow subtle flavors remind me of caramel and nuts; I suspect this comes from the partial barrel aging in the blend. 

I love this cider’s creamy full body, luscious fermented flavors, and balanced excitement. It was served with tomato pie, corn on the cob and a pepper cucumber salad. The pairings were seasonal and lovely.