Sunday, September 13, 2015

Cider Review: AppelTreow Winery's Appley Brut Sparkling Cider

Finally the hot spell has broken! Today I'm celebrating the imminent arrival of autumn with something tremendously champage like. Since autumn is my favorite of all of the seasons, I wanted to choose something that I had great faith would be as delicious as this crisp cool air. I choose Aeppeltreow's Appely Brut.

Appeltreow Winery and Distillery makes very specialized fruit ciders, perries, and spirits from apples and pears. They use their own fruit grown in Wisconsin, including some very special varietals. This is orchard cider, artisan cider, and very clean cider.

Visit the website to learn about all of their ciders, perries, spirits, the tasting room and inventory level of some beverages:

This isn't my first bottle by AeppelTreow. Here you can find my previous reviews with more background information on Aeppeltreow:

My first encounter with a cider by AeppelTreow was their Barnswallow

But my favorite to this point has been the richly complex Kinglet Bitter (we'll see if this bottle changes that):

Here's the information I found in a few places about the Appely Brut Sparkling Cider. From the Appeltreow website, there's some very helpful facts, measurements, and suggestions:
Champagne Method ‘Hard’ Cider
Really dry, crisp, mineral, austere

  • Body: Medium
  • Sweetness: 0
  • Tartness: 4
  • Alcohol: 7
  • Apples: Gold Del, Jonathan, Russets
  • Pairings: Grilled Shrimp, Regiano, Gorgonzola
 On another ratings website, I found another official description: "Appely Brut it is just off-dry, floral, with earthy tannins. It is inspired by French Country Ciders, and crafted from a blend of modern and heirloom apple varieties." 7.5% ABV

Finally, time to break out the Aeppeltreow Appely Brut! 
Appearance: brilliant, warm shimmering gold, bubbly

This pours with a delicate and quickly vanishing mousse. The color is warmer than many ciders but still delicately gold. I see no haze or cloudiness. What I can see though is the fabulous level of sparkle implied by the number of bubbles everywhere!

Aromas: sweet soft smell, crisp, but warm

I am surprised by how soft and sweet this cider smells! It really has some characteristics of a keeved French style cider in its aromas. I find the applesauce aroma really nice. This also offers far more intense aroma than many many ciders.

Dryness/sweetness: Dry 

Do not be fooled by the aromas, this is distinctly dry! At the same time, this cider remains fruity and rich. This dryness isn't harsh, but rather warm and bright.
Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, very clean, medium tannins; surprisingly fruity

The fruit notes abound right after sipping, but they fade quickly—for a brut. This cider offers warmth, and tastes almost oaky in the mid-palate. VERY sparkling! It's called brut and fermened in champgne style, so this is not a surprise. The sparkle pushes some of the boozier notes into seeming brightness.  This cider is not farmy at all; the fermentation tastes notably  clean and balanced. I'm tremendously impressed.

Beyond fruit, I can taste walnut skin and almonds. The cider is lively and medium bodied, with a fair bit of apple in the fruit notes, no berry, only a tiny bit of tropical fruit. One really nice part of the experience is coming back to the smell while drinking it. The smell is so sweet and contributes a pronounced counterpoint to all the flavors. Lovely lovely lovely!

How do I recommend this cider? So long as its cold and you have a glass that allows you to enjoy the aroma, I don't want to place many limitations. It's that wonderful. I had it with my husband and best friend and simple good food. 

I can also see enjoying it with a porch and a book. 

If I were planning my next bottle to be enjoyed ideally though, I'd pair this with a slice of dark dark chocolate cake with milkier hazelnut chocolate icing. The dry plus fruity plus nutty combination would make it the perfect dry cider to go with a ridiculously rich but not too sweet dessert.