Thursday, January 7, 2016

Cider Review: Wandering Aengus Cider's Dry Oaked

So, it's time for a first but also a second for Along Came A Cider. This is the first time I've gone back and reviewed a second bottling of the same cider. In this case, I'm returning to Wandering Aengus' Dry Oaked Cider. This is a pleasure for me because I so enjoyed the 2011 Dry Oaked.

If  you want to compare the two, start with the previous review: 

Or, for even more context, one of my very first cider reviews was of Wandering Aengus' Bloom:

This is what the reverse of the Dry Oaked's bottle says about the cider, "Wandering Aengus Ciders are crafted from blends of traditional cider apple varietals renowned for their complexity.Oaked Dry is a blend of bittersweets and sharps that offer rich tannins and spicy aromas with a mild oak finish. This sophisticated dry cider pairs well with rich and aromatic foods: prosciutto, salami, or stinky cheeses. Orchards: Bittersweets: Newberg, Culver & Salem, Oregon Sharps: Hood River and Ashland, Oregon"

This vintage of Wandering Aengus Cider's Dry Oaked was Bottled June 2012 and hasan ABV of 8.0%  A bottling of this cider won a 2015 GLINTCAP gold in english style category. 

Appearance: clear, glowing embers, few visible bubbles

Wow, look at how dark this color is! It is the only cider I've seen that looks to me like glowing embers in winter hearth.
Aromas: Boozy, soft, and appley

This smells like wets apple skin, alcohol, and firewood. Even if I didn't know something of what was coming, these aromas would clue me into the tannins of this cider. It even smells the tiniest bit like iron.

Dryness/sweetness: DRY!

This dry is a true dry.It's more astringent and velvety than most ciders, and that makes me love it.

Flavors and drinking experience: oaky, dry, tannic, rich and complex

This tastes very oaked. I know fire keeps touching the sensory impressions I have of this cider, but somehow the oakiness seems like oaky charcoal in a pleasing and good way. Or at least the wood near the charcoal. It is both highly tannic and moderately acidic. This combination gets some serious salivary gland action.

But this cider isn't just sensation; the flavors build a complex yet unified whole. The initial oakiness graciously gives way to lighter flavors like lemongrass and green tea. In the background I get just a little bit of phenols and turpentine. 

Texturally, the cider gives mild carbonation. Its rich mouthfeel is distinctly not caramel but rather buttered toast. I love what a slow drinking thoughtful cider this is. Have the Wandering Aengus with blue cheese, fig, roasted onion, perhaps altogether on foccacia. 

This cider is perfect for a long discussion of anything enjoyable and just a little decadent.