Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Cider Review: Eden Sparkling Dry Cider

I'm home from England! But I'm still doing vacation laundry and sorting photos, so England posts will have to wait just a little bit longer. For now, my first not-ice cider by Eden Ice Cider Company from Vermont. 

Eleanor and Albert Leger bought a farm in northern Vermont and started making ice cider about 8 years ago. I first encountered their ice ciders at NYC cider week's salon in 2012, and I've followed them since then.

You can read about the company, their apple varieties, and about the process of making ice cider on their website: http://www.edenicecider.com

But, I'm not reviewing an ice cider; I'm instead reviewing Eden's Sparkling Dry Cider. Frankly I don't think I've tasted enough ice ciders to even attempt reviewing one, so I'm thrilled to have access to something by Eden that I know enough to approach and review.

This is how the company describes their first non-ice cider: Eden Sparkling Cider Dry.
Eden Sparkling Dry Cider is made with locally grown apples, including traditional heirloom and cider varieties. 50% of the blend is Kingston Black, a classic British cider variety.

The cider is fermented and aged in French oak puncheons for a year, then bottled with a secondary fermentation that is created with additional juice rather than sugar. After another 6 months each bottle is hand-disgorged in a careful process that removes the yeast but retains the vibrant natural effervescence of the in-bottle fermentation.

The finished cider has 8.5% alcohol as a result of using true cider variety apples that have higher beginning sugar levels than typical dessert apples.

Eden Sparkling Dry is full-flavored, tannic, clean and very dry with a champagne-like mouth feel and bright acidity. It is a wonderful accompaniment to food, including barbecue, cheeses, grilled fish and especially oysters!    

Appearance: brilliant, active bubbles, rich deep gold color

The bubbles I can see the glass appear tremendously active, and I can see them well because this cider is so brilliant. Beautiful to behold.

Aromas: overripe apples, wood, minerality

This cider smells rich, sweetly tannic, with a hint of wood phenolics. But it also smells clean. The way my husband described it that it has aromas of barn but not horse.

Dryness/sweetness: Dry

This is seriously dry. Dry and tannic. Dry and tannic and flavorful. Whoa.

Flavors and drinking experience: astringent, herbal, tannic, bubbly, exciting

Eden's Sparkling Dry Cider tastes serious astringently dry. Wow! It almost removes the moisture from your face. It's also barny, almost medicinal but more herbal in a rosemary way. The cider tastes rich and like green bitter herbs. It also offers tons of fine and intense bubbles; it is very bottle conditioned. I love how very tannic, but not phenolic this cider tastes. It is really good,but not crisp and refreshing, more severe and thoughtful. The flavors feel saturated and concentrated. Take big sips—the balance is better this way.

To get a big more specific, it has high tannins and high acid; they keep each other in check. The cider sweetens very gently in the finish, which is broad and lingering, but clean. In a rare way, it shows both an extreme of its style and a sense of balance.This is not a cider for beginners or soda-drinkers.  8.5 ABV, British style, and with a decidedly rustic kick. I love it!