Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cider Review: Oyster River Winegrower's Hoboken Station Cider (including bonus cat + cider picture)

This cider showed up my collection recently after my husband went to our local cider store without me. I'd never heard of Oyster River Winegrowers, much less their Hoboken Station Cider. A cider from Maine! This is a first for me. Exciting! When I tried to find out a bit more about Oyster River Winegrowers, I used their Facebook page because their website does not appear to be current or operational. Oyster River Winegrowers' Facebook page however is full of interesting and useful information. They appear to be a small vineyard winery, farm, and cidery in Warren, Maine.  They say this about themselves, "We are a Maine vineyard and winery focusing on farming with draft horses and without the use of synthetic chemicals." And yes, the FB page has pictures of their horses. Too cute.

About this particular cider, their Hoboken Station Cider. I'll be piecing together information from a few different sources. The bottle says, "Produced in Warren, Maine from a variety of mostly esoteric apples chosen for superior cider quality. Dry and bottle conditioned." Bottle conditioned means that a second fermentation takes place over time in the bottle, allowing the cider to become naturally sparkling, in this case they use organic cane sugar for the bottle conditioning. One post on Oyster River Winegrower's Facebook page says this about the Hoboken Station Cider, "This Cider is dry, native yeast fermented from a blend of obscure more cider specific apples ( Golden Russet, Dabinett, Esopus Spitzenberg, Calville Blanc d'Hiver, Blushing Granny, Ida Red, and Golden Delicious) with heavier tannin content and high sugar content giving us 9% alcohol. It is a sipper, but surprisingly easy with wine like, or perhaps Belgian beer-like complexity and just a small amount, not so much to be distracting, of carbonation from a natural bottle fermentation."Let me add that the cider has a hefty 9% ABV; cider by winemakers, indeed!

Hoboken Cider with curious cat Amelia
Appearance: hazy,  intense mango

The color is more deep than with many ciders. When I look at my glass, I can see lots of still bubbles cling to all sides of the glass. A few move to the top almost by turns. This isn't a totally brilliant cider which comes as no surprise as it is unfiltered.

Aromas: ripe apples, dust, minerals

Primarily, I smell ripe apples that communicate a bit vinously. Slightly winey apples warmed in the sun. The secondary scent reminds me of mineral dust mingled with and followed by a hint of sweetness.

Sweet to dry: Semi-dry

Though this cider is plenty fruity, I'd cal it semi-dry. I really dig the level of tannins that balance out the fruits as I take my second and third sips. I can see the comparisons to both wine and Belgian beer. It does sort taste in waves and an early wine like wave of flavor is followed by a one that reminds me of yeasty slightly sour Belgian beer. This is pretty tasty, though I rather miss the smoothness that complex ciders can have.

Flavors and Drinking experience: apple, stone fruits, honey, hints of yeast

At first this cider tastes fruit forward and light. Winey notes bite the mid-palate a bit roughly.Honey whispers through the long finish. Pleasant amount of fine-bubbled carbonation. It feels warming because of the higher than average ABV. 

I'd pair this with heavier foods but nothing too spicy. Actually this would be a perfect cider to have with shepherds pie or a layered vegetable lasagna. This is also a great sharing cider. Invite people over and make this your pot luck cider of choice. Though everyone is putting out Thanksgiving recommendations, I'll add this one to the list as well. I think it's strength of flavor could really remain present and enjoyable through many of this holiday's big big flavors.