Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Cider Review Vander Mill's Totally Roasted and my CCP certificate!

Some days are perfect. We don't have responsibilities; the weather is fine; we get to see friends while enjoying tasty food and drinks. These are easy days. My day didn't start out so well because I had to take my perfect cat to the vet. But, the way a day starts is not necessary how that day will finish. Here's how my lame day got better. 

I got my official Cider Certification Program recognition in the mail!!

Even my photo bombing cat Pie May couldn't resist checking it out!

Vandermill is a cidery I first started encountering at GLINTCAP three years ago. I had the pleasure of judging with a cider maker from Vandermill, and the business donated plenty of cider to the event. Two very nice early impressions. I cannot believe its taken me this long to actually review one of their ciders. The company started as a cider mill in 2006. They focus on local fruit, using only Michigan apples. Their cider can be found in at least four different states, but they maintain an aura of drinkability and approachability.

You can read tons more about Vander Mill on the website:

So, Totally Roasted

 The medley of cinnamon, pecan, and vanilla will dance on your palate. This is a mind altering example of what cider can be. We hope you love it as much as we do. Gluten-free

I also found some earlier descriptions elsewhere on the web. This gives us just little more info: 
This cider was specially made for a draft customer in Grand Rapids, MI.. We are using over 4 lbs. of homemade cinnamon roasted pecans in a 30 gallon batch of this limited edition cider to bring you Totally Roasted. You will notice that soaking pecans in cider brings a unique texture and taste to the drink. We use cinnamon and vanilla during the roasting process and follow that up by adding whole cut vanilla beans to the cider. These subtle tastes certainly make this a cider all it’s own.

Appearance: Bright and bubbly gold

This pours with a light color, but don't mistake that low visual impact. Rather than from the color, the intensity comes from loads and loads of visible bubbles. Cider appears brilliant.

Aromas: dust, apples, sweetness, like brown sugar

Despite the abundance of bubbles, I cannot get a lot of aroma from this cider. I smell some fresh apple and some sweet blend of spice, but it isn't distinct.

Sweetness/dryness: semi-sweet to sweet

This is a sweeter cider. It's part and parcel of the experience. The sweetness adds to the mouthfeel and helps bring out the spicy and nutty flavors this cider is all about. 

Flavors and drinking experience: nutty, sweet, tart, brown sugar and spice

Fascinating! This cider does have something roasty and nutty going on, but I'm not sure how it works. I taste brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nuttiness.  At the same time, I cannot help but notice the high acid. Totally Roasted offers up really good mouthfeel; it's rich yet sharp. Unsurprisingly, I notice no tannins. Sweetness is brown sugar plus tartness.

My only complaint is that in some moments, this one can taste a little artificial more like green jolly rancher than like fruit or fermentation. What I cannot complain about is how extremely lively and pleasant I find this level of bubble.

I think pairing can make the difference between a reasonable experience and a really wonderful one with a cider like this. I found the spice and roastiness on the subtle side, especially when balanced by the high acidity. Therefore, I recommend having this cider with a slightly sweet bread and a soft cheese. That should bring out the best in everything.