Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Cider Review Open Spaces Cider's Early and Wild

Friends and family sometimes share ciders with me, and I always appreciate it. When they share ciders that are hard to come by or unusual in some way, I treasure the kindness all the more. Recently, some dear friends came over and brought this cider for sharing. I made my first veggie pot-pie, so we’d have something for pairing. My friends shared Open Spaces Cider’s Early and Wild with me, and I’m so grateful.

Here’s how Open Spaces Cider introduces the project, “Open Spaces Cider is a tiny, art-driven project foraged and fermented by a willing group of collaborators, focused on access to the bounty of public and marginal lands. OSC is made in service of reparations and reconciliation for stolen land and lives, with an agricultural and access focus.”

Open Spaces Cider is based out of the finger lakes region of New York and makes a point to start by acknowledging that the land that grows apples for the cider is Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ land. If you’d like to learn more about the indigenous people of this area, I think this is a good start: https://cayuganation-nsn.gov/tribal-history.html.

The partner collaborators are listed as: Melissa Madden, Rachel Freier, Pete Messner, and Jenn Smith. There are additional collaborators including other Finger Lakes Cideries, artists, and non-profit organizations. 

Right now, these ciders are only available in the seasonal reparations packages from Open Spaces or sold through the cider clubs of partnering ciders like Redbyrd Orchard Cider and Eve’s Cidery.

Learn more about Open Spaces Cider online: https://www.openspacescider.com/

That’s a lot of intriguing background for a cider producing group that’s more than a little unusual, but now for the cider itself. Here’s info from the label.

100% foraged apples from public space

Cold settled and racked before wild fermentation

In October 2021

Bottled during primary fermentation in November 2021

Disgorged in January 2022

Open Carefully and cold!

7.5% ABV

Produced and bottled by Eve’s Cidery, Van Etten, NY

The cider is also described as Petillant and Dry.

Now for our collective cider tasting notes.

Appearance: intense tawny orange, cloudy, bubbly 

Because the Early and Wild is bottled in clear glass, I knew it would have a rich intense color. It’s tawny orange like some earthy teas. The glasses all poured with a mousse, so I know there will be awesome levels of bubble. The cider is cloudy with some sediment pouring in the final glass of the bottle.

Aromas: olive bring, wild tang

The Early and Wild does smell wild. I get notes of olive brine, savory spices and it’s  mildly reductive. I have a feel this cider will be plenty tart and tasty.

Sweetness/Dryness: Dry

Petillant Naturels end up dry as fermentation feeds sugar to yeast and pet nats complete their fermentation in the bottle. The interventions taken to make a cider sweet aren’t really compatible with this method of cider making. 

Flavors and drinking experience: tangerine, tannic, fine bubbles

Delicious! Oh what a treat. I love when a cider can be dry and yet still substantially fruity. The Early and Wild does exactly that. It manages to be strongly reminiscent of sweet citrus, particularly tangerines, while remaining dry and crisp. Everyone agreed on citrus notes immediately! I think the reactions went like, “ So lemony and orangey—no, tangerine!”

It tastes acidic in such a refreshing way. The Early and Wild comes across as quite different in taste than in its aromas. I love how unusually fruity (though not actually sweet) this tastes for a pet nat. It’s simply a delicious cider with medium tannins, high acid, and very fine bubbles.

We enjoyed this with veggie pot pies and excellent conversation, and I’m excited to keep my eyes on Open Spaces Cider to see where they go from here.