Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Cider Review: Angry Orchard's Walden Hollow and approaching Cider Week!

Apple harvest has finally come! Perhaps the busy orchardists weren't waiting so impatiently, but I feel like I've been counting the weeks until I can start eating my favorite fresh apples. And at the same time, cider makers near me are getting ready for Cider Week in a number of locations. 

Cider Week FLX will be October 1-9: http://www.ciderweekflx.com/

Actually, I did a guest blog post rounding up some tastings happening during cider week, all of which feature more than one local Finger Lakes Region Cidermaker: http://www.ciderweekflx.com/a-round-up-of-finger-lakes-cider-week-round-ups/

I'll be guest pouring at Embark Ciderworks' Cider Fest on September 30th in Williamson, New York: https://www.facebook.com/events/1076952362353422/

Cider Week NYC will be October 21st-30th: http://ciderweeknyc.com/

But I know that Cider Guide keeps much closer tabs on cider festivals than I do, so please check out his listings here to find out the nearest cider celebrations to your neck of the woods: https://ciderguide.com/cider-festivals/

Angry Orchard


I have more previous reviews than I'm going to share

Today, I'm sharing my review of Angry Orchard's Walden Hollow.

"A mildly tannic, off dry cider that showcases the diversity, complexity, and depth of character of New York State apples." 8% ABV

And Angry Orchard kindly lists the apples used for this cider, "New York Apple Varieties: Rome, Jonathan, Macintosh, Newton Pippin, Golden Russet, Rhode Island Greening."

Going into a little more detail I found this.
 Walden Hollow is an annual vintage cider made with our cider maker’s choice of heirloom New York state apples varieties, including apples from the Angry Orchard in Walden, NY. The 2016 edition is a mildly tannic, off dry cider with intense apple aroma and notes of butterscotch and almond. The cider makers wanted to capture the essence of wild fermentation, but without the funkiness or sour qualities sometimes associated with the process. 

Appearance: hazy, grassy yellow, some visible bubbles
Color is grass—pale yellow with a distinctly green note. Interestingly, this isn't a purely shining brilliant cider; its just a touch hazy.

Aromas: Bread dough, apples, yeast

I like how bready, yeasty,  and appley this cider smells. What makes it striking isn't the individual notes but how each of those things distinctly. I don't know if I have ever smelled  cider that reminds me of fresh bread dough. There's just a little sourness in the array of smells. Overall these aromas are excellent.

Sweetness/dryness: semi dry

This can be accurately described as a semi-dry cider, and I appreciate the accuracy of the official descriptions thus far.

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, medium tannins, clean fermentation, short finish

Like lots of ciders with New York state fruit, this cider tastes very tart because of its high acid. First, I get an initial malic sweetness, then a quick wave of tannins, with a gentle slightly caramelly finish. It stimulates lots of salivary action. Quite good, but a little curiously light bodied. There's
 not a lot of heft for so bready a cider. 

Interestingly, I can taste something that reads as cooling in the taste (it reminds me of some  Vandermill ciders in this feature). The Walden Hollow hits notes that feel "low" in the mouth. The cider is very clean. I had expected a warmer, funkier, longer-lasting effect based on the aromas, but this is a sleek and clean beverage. What lingers longest is actually the bright acid. 

I find this cider enjoyable; I'm grateful that it brings some complexities,The label points out its 8% ABV but the cider doesn't come across as boozy. I'd have guessed a lower ABV myself. It offers some bubble action with low to medium intensity of small bubbles. They meld in sensation with the high acidity. Big sips have nice plum and plumskin notes.

This was lovely on my porch with my last tomato galette of the season and corn on the cob, but I could also see pairing it with richer foods to give the acid something weighty to counterbalance. All in all, a very nice beverage. I look forward to the next Cider House Series offering.