Monday, June 26, 2023

Cider Review: Winchester Ciderworks's 522 Black Currant

I’m happy to review my first-ever Winchester Ciderworks cider today. I found this cider when visiting Kentucky, and the 522 Black Currant cider happens to use one of my favorite fruits. I was instantly tempted by it. Some of my first wonderful cider experiences in Norwich as a visiting student were Cider and Black or Snakebite and Black, both of which add black currant concentrate to cider. And this weekend contained the perfect quiet evening to recover from gardening with a glass of Winchester Ciderworks 522 with Black Currants.

Here’s how the website for Winchester Ciderworks explains how this Virginia cider company came to be according to the website. 
Winchester Ciderworks was born in 2012 when British transplant, Stephen Schuurman, missed the drier ciders of his homeland. His adopted country only produced ciders which were far too sweet for his liking, so he decided to do something about it.

Over the next nine years he made ciders which gained a good following and distribution in several States, and he decided to buy the company from his partners to enable the growth and expansion he desired.

His ciders are made in the style of his birthplace, Suffolk in the East of England. These lighter, sparkling off-dry ciders were complimented in most of the varieties with an “American twist”.

Blending with adjuncts such as Blackcurrants, Ginger, Elderberries to give an added flavor to the aged apple juice.

Our aim is to provide high-quality ciders that will satisfy a wide variety of thirsty drinkers!
You can visit Winchester Ciderworks online to see the full lineup:

Here’s the official description for this particular cider.
522 Black Currant 4 Pack
VA - Shenandoah Valley

A traditional "Cider & Black." Black currant juice is added after fermentation to imbue tart acidity and a subtle fruity finish. The original Rose'.

Alcohol 6.20%

Appearance: intense chipotle red, brilliant, no visible bubbles

I enjoyed mulling over different shades of red to decide exactly what this cider looks like in the glass because the color is so vibrant and appealing. I think it’s the shade of powdered chipotle pepper: rich and red with some gold and ember in the mix. The cider is brilliant with no visible bubbles.

Aromas: Strong black currant, apple, cherry, minerals

The 522 wowed me even before my first sip with its strong black currant and apple aromas. When I brought my nose nearer the glass I could also scent notes of Bing cherry and mineral dust.

Dryness/sweetness: Semi dry

This cider comes across as semi-dry in a beautifully balanced way. 

Flavors and drinking experience: medium acidity, black currant, cranberry, mild bitterness

The 522 Black Currant cider tastes deep and dark, with some beautiful bitterness that I love. This cider offers up medium acidity and some papery tannins; I think they are from the black currants more than the apples. This cider brings a whole range of gorgeous vibrant fruit flavors including apple, black currant, grape, peach, and cranberry.

This cider is totally approachable and sessionable. I find it super enjoyable. The level of carbonation is medium with a juicy full body.

I enjoyed this cider with a long awaited thunderstorm: the kind that you feel in the air for hours before the rain finally arrives in a vertical torrent accompanied by rich rolls of thunder. I opened up a side door and just sat on my tile kitchen floor to listen to rain and sip the cider. What a quintessentially Summer way to relax.