Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Cider Review: Virtue Cider's Northern Spy

I’ve just been to Kentucky for a week to visit my family. It was wonderful and oh so summery! Read all the way to the bottom of the post to see a picture of what some of my time was like. Now that I’m back home, I’m looking forward to settling into a summer routine. Garden work, eating outdoors with friends, evening walks and appreciating the flavors of the season are my top priorities! And I’m excited to include cider into some of those plans! To start, here’s my review of the Northern Spy from Virtue Ciders. It was enjoyed as part of a lovely evening meal, enjoyed on a beautiful front porch evening.  

Full disclosure, this cider was shared with me for review by Virtue Cider. Nonetheless, my thoughts on it are mine.

I’ve reviewed no shortage of Virtue Ciders. I’ll include the lineup here. Additional background information about Virtue Cidery appears in these earlier posts. What I’ll say again here, Virtue Cider comes to us from Michigan and includes a wide variety of cider styles and taste profiles! 

Baldwin: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2022/03/cider-review-virtue-ciders-baldwin.html

Spitz: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/10/cider-review-virtue-ciders-spitz.html

Pear: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/05/cider-review-virtue-ciders-pear-and.html

Michigan Apple: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/02/cider-review-1911-rose-and-virtue.html

Rose: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/02/cider-review-1911-rose-and-virtue.html

Brut: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/02/cider-review-citizen-ciders-tree-tapper.html

The Mitten Reserve: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/03/cider-review-whitewood-cider-cos-olivia.html

Percheron: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/10/cider-review-virtue-ciders-percheron.html

Ledbury: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/02/cider-review-roundup-virtue-slyboro.htm

The Mitten: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/05/cider-review-virtue-ciders-mitten-and.htm

Red Streak: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/06/trying-virtue-and-olivers-ciders-at.htm

Virtue’s website with tons of information can be found here: https://www.virtuecider.com

Here’s what Virtue Cider says about the Northern Spy 2021.

What happens when you blend a little bit of cider from one apple varietal and a lotta bit of cider from another apple varietal? This cider is more Northern Spy and less Yarlington Mill, but all Michigan greatness.

STYLE: Dry Cider

SIZE: 750mL



REGION: Michigan


VARIETAL: Double Varietal Cider

FRUIT: Apple

Northern Spy 2021 Tasting Notes - Overripe Apple, Floral, Vanilla, Complex

TASTING NOTES: Baked Apple, Citrus, Tropical, Stone Fruit, Honey


2021 GLINTCAP – Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition: Silver - Heritage Cider - Dry

I love how thorough this info is! I’ll be curious to compare my thoughts to the tasting notes provided by the cidery.

Appearance: medium intensity peach color, mild haze, no visible bubbles

This cider looks like so many heirloom fruit UK ciders I’ve enjoyed with its warm peachy color, haze and no visible bubbles. 

Aromas: Mild aroma, leather and apricot and oranges

My associations with UK cider continue with the Northern Spy cider’s mild aroma notes of leather, apricot, and oranges.

Dryness/sweetness: Dry

I’m so glad to say that this is a dry cider! Mostly because I love dry cider, but even more because I love accurate descriptions from cideries!

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, medium tannins, petillant, nectarine

Northern Spy apples appear in many of my favorite ciders, as do Yarlington Mill apples. This cider reminds me of why. It’s just so well balanced. We do veer from a UK profile to a New World heirloom apple cider profile. The Northern Spy cider brings medium tannins but really powers the tasting experience with the cider’s high acidity. It’s a clean fermentation with notes of nectarine and overripe apple.

The cider is petillant more than truly sparkling.  Nothing about it stands out so much as to be a detraction or distraction from the overall experience. It’s tremendously food friendly and sessionable. We served this cider with sauteed cabbage rice and Beefless Bulgogi (from Trader Joe’s). The pairing worked beautifully. 

Happy Summer!