We’re almost a month into Fall here in the Northern Hemisphere, but sunny days with highs in the 70s are still occasionally surprising us. Since so much of the summer was cool and rainy, I’m not going to complain overmuch. These sunny days are tremendously pleasant, and I find them perfect for enjoying a cider on my porch. That’s exactly what I did with Wild State Cider’s Semi-Dry.
Wild State Cider comes from Minnesota. The cidery is based in Duluth with a spot that hosts both production and a tap room. You can visit the cidery seven days a week. The company takes its identity from the notion of wildness. The founders Adam Ruhland and Andrew Price both make a point to speak about their connections with nature in their professional bios on the Wild State website. And the company’s most prominent slogan is “Naturally good cider” going on to emphasize what they do not add to their cider: concentrate, sweeteners, sorbates, and interestingly, compromises. It’s a clear vision, and I’m excited to see how that translates to taste.
I’m starting with the Semi-dry as it’s one of the flagship ciders. It was shared with me for review, so my thanks to the folks at Wild State! This is my first Wild State Cider review.
Read more for yourself online here: https://www.wildstatecider.com/ciders
Here’s how Wild State describes the Semi-dry online, “This is where it all started - a crisp cider with champagne vibes. 6.4% ABV, 165 calories and only 3g sugar.” And I was able to find just a bit more description elsewhere online, “Our original cider, Semi Dry is a staple in the taproom. Light floral, crisp, hint of spice.”
Appearance: brilliant, goldenrod, bubbly
The color reminds me of the goldenrod blooms that I’m still seeing in the edge of gardens and forests. The cider is brilliant and bubbly with a medium intensity of color.
Aromas: mineral, ripe apple, anticipating tannins
I’m tantalized by the limestone mineral aroma, it’s slightly bitter. I get instant acids and tannins on the smell. It’s not exactly that I smell them directly, but something about what I smell leads me to expect them. I wish I could articulate that better. What I do smell are notes of sun-warmed apples. It’s approachable and appealing.
Sweetness/dryness: off dry
Wild State says semi-dry, and it's legitimately off-dry. Nice work. I am very used to hearing that a cider is quite a bit drier than what I taste. I appreciate that it doesn't have the usual commercial inflation of dryness.
Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, high tannins, spruce, woody
Oooh, complex! The Semi-dry tastes bitter but pleasant! The whole experience feels full and low in the mouth. The cider brings a different acid profile than I'm used to. These acids are present and blend with carbonation effortlessly, but are not the bright pointed malic notes that I taste most either in canned ciders or the more austere sharp acids of northeastern dry ciders.
I taste no sourness; the Semi-dry is beautifully clean in its fermentation. There are woody notes and a little spruce too. The cider has a very nice filling mouthfeel and a clean, tannic finish.
I paired this cider with veggie pizza and it cuts through fats like a knife. What a wonderful pairing for anything cheesy. I cannot recommend that enough! This is a lovely cider, and I’m excited to taste the rest of what Wild State makes!