Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cider Review: Nine Pin Cider Works' Nine Pin Signature Blend

Nine Pin Cider Works has a neat-sounding slogan, "Be Revolutionary. Consider the apple." I'm not 100% sure that they connect those two bold phrases in the rest of their promotional copy, but they still have some punch. Tonight, I'm trying the Signature Blend and introducing the Nine Pin Cider Works brand a bit. 

Their look is fantastic. I love the shapes and fonts and colors on the label. The bold green and generous use of brass foil is just fresh and lovely. I'm somewhat less convinced by their somewhat scattered brand identity that references Rip Van Winkle, The Revolutionary War, local appeal, and ninepin bowling. I don't think they need the complex narrative, but that's just me.

This is the most direct part of what the website says about the company in general. I'm skipping the Rip Van Winkle story bit:
Like any revolution, Nine Pin Cider was many years in the making. In 1997, Alejandro’s father is hired to paint a 32 foot rose on the brick wall side of 925 Broadway. He raises his family on a small Hudson Valley farm, encouraging a love of nature, adventure and fresh food. In 2010, Alejandro wanders into a store and is asked to sample a local hard cider. He quickly develops a passion for the drink and became an apprentice. By 2013, Alejandro has perfected his own cider blend, winning a gold medal at the Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition.
A gold from GLINTCAP is nothing to sneeze at. So let's find out a bit more about the Signature Blend. The apples are all locally sourced from Samascot Orchards. That's a cool bit of provenance. Nine Pin describes this cider, "It [is] an off dry sparkling cider with a crisp, bold, and refreshing taste." That doesn't tell me much. 6.7% ABV which is pretty typical for a commercially available craft cider. 

The best way for me to investigate more at this point will be to simply drink and report.

Appearance: palest celadon green gold, brilliant, active visible bubbles

Nine Pin's Signature blend looks quite pale and brilliant in the glass. It has a subtle but lovely shade that blends green and gold. Very fine bubbles play up to the surface of the liquid. I can see them  immediately after the cider is poured, and they continue for some time.

Aromas: vinous, overripe apple, lots of fruit

I enjoy the Signature Blend's slightly sweet vinous aroma. It contains overripe apples, blackberries, pears, dried apricots, just tons of fruit. At the end I get the barest hint of minerals. It smells like it could be a bit sweeter than the off dry that the company describes it with. Now to taste...

Sweetness: Semi-sweet

This cider is semi-sweet. I'm guessing Nine Pin Cider wants to differentiate its first offering from most industrial ciders with that label. This is a fine idea because this cider does not taste like the increasing range of offerings in grocery store six packs that are sweet and lacking in character. Nine Pin's Signature Blend has plenty of fruit and freshness in its semi-sweetness.

Flavors and drinking experience: tart, easy drinking, fine bubbles

I really enjoy the Signature Blend's fine champagne style bubbles. The cider has lots of fun crisp tartness, like green apples. The mouthfeel is thick but not quite syrupy. It drinks easy with flavors of white chocolate,  and fruit. I taste medium high levels of acidity and no tannins to speak of. Overall, the cider is pleasant and fun.

I'd happily recommend this cider both to long time cider fans and new drinkers of cider. It would make a perfect picnic or brunch cider. Drink with quiche and croissants and plenty of lively conversation!