Saturday, September 19, 2015

Cider Review: Black Diamond's Rabblerouser plus Finger Lakes Cider Week Coming Soon

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I taste a really good cider and yet it takes me far too long to actually turn those notes into a review and post it. I won't make any excuse other than there are far more ciders worth covering than I have time to write. Alas.
One of the cideries that has deserved my attention long before now is Black Diamond Cider. Ian and Jackie Merwin, long-term home cidermakers, orchardists, and farmers, founded this company in 2014. They grow their own fruit in the finger lakes region, near Trumansburg, New York.
You can read much more about them and their ciders at Black Diamond Cider's Website:

Tonight's review is their Rabble Rouser. 
I gleaned this fabulously complete information about their ciders on the website:
RabbleRouser Cider is a unique blend of American heirloom apples, old English bittersweets, and rare red-fleshed apples -Pink Pearl and Redfield -that create its sunset aura and tropical fruit aromas. With a touch of tannins, light carbonation and off-dry sweetness, RabbleRouser is perfect for parties or festive dinners. It tastes best when chilled before serving.                                                                            
Tasting Notes: Tropical fruit, passion fruit, lively warm tannins.  Long lasting slightly sweet finish.

Alcohol: 7.4%   Residual Sugar: 0%    PH: 3.51  TA: 9.1 g/l

European Bittersweets  – 35%  Heirloom Sharps – 55% Red-fleshed – 10%

Do you see how cool this is? Not only do they describe how it will taste and what apples they used, but they even know the cider-making groupings into which those apples fit, giving us a more precise set of expectations for how this cider will taste.

 For a quick bit of context. I enjoyed this cider on draft at The Rongovian Embassy in Trumansburg on a cold spring evening a few months ago. 

Appearance: mellow applesauce color, brilliant, few bubbles
This color surprised me; its so gentle. I also noticed tiny ring of visible bubbles around the rim of the glass. Beautifully briliant.
Aromas: caramel, stone, banana
Wow, what an interesting set of aromas. I got plenty of yummy stuff to sniff from this glass. The caramel and stone tell me to expect some tannins. I cannot wait.

Dryness/sweetness: dry
0 residual sugar tells the whole story here. This cider is gorgeously dry, yet full of intense flavors.

Flavors and drinking experience: Fruity, high acid, mid tannins, lovely texture

First off, I get some nice high acid balanced by medium tannins. In terms of more specific flavor notes, I taste: leather, grapefruit, and other tropical fruits This cider strikes me as wildly zesty with great bubble. I think Black Diamond used some fruit oxidation to nice effect to add richness to the cider as well. Overall, it's simply wonderful. I love the mouthfeel and the complexity.
I heartily recommend this cider. Because of the nature of Black Diamond's cidermaking, this will vary year to year, but based on everything I've tasted so far that's only going to bring pleasant changes and variations! I had this glass with a fellow cidermaker, vegetarian poutine, and crazy good salad. If you can manage all of those pairings, you're in for a special treat, but generally I'd pair this with rich foods that don't skrimp on the salt. This is a cider that can stand up to that deliciously.
The other thing I'd like to talk about in this post: Finger Lakes Cider week! This has to be the best part of fall in the region, and we do fall really really well here. Cider week brings cider sampling, talks, tasting, pairings. But also: orchard tours! Bowling! Cider dinners galore!  
You can read about everything FLX Cider Week here:
A few links to some highlights of the upcoming Finger Lakes Cider Week:

Science Cabaret- The Cream and The Crop; Cider, Cheese, and the Perfect Pairing to be held at the classroom space at Greenstar in Ithaca on Tuesday October 6th at 7pm.
Cider Dinner with Black Diamond Cider & Good Life Cider on Tuesday, October 13
at 6:30pm. This dinner is being held by Hazelnut Kitchen in Trumansburg.
Cider Dinner at Argos Inn on October 11th at 7pm at the Argos Inn in Ithaca

Cider Creek Hard Cider Tasting Room Grand Opening at
6497 Cunningham Creek Road Canisteo, NY 14823 Saturday October 10th 1-10pm

Cider Dinner with Black Diamond Cider & Good Life Cider on Tuesday, October 13
at 6:30pm. This dinner is being held by Hazelnut Kitchen in Trumansburg.

More updates coming soon!