Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Cider Review: Devoto Orchards Save the Gravenstein...and an announcement

I've been so excited about Finger Lakes Cider week. Every event was a real chance to connect with local ciders. Frequently, they were also great times to learn about cider making processes and the unique landscape of food and drinks developing here in the region. I loved it.

But, at the same time, I don't want to neglect other cider areas. I have a lot of fondness for ciders made in many places. Today, I am sharing my thoughts on a west coast cider from Devoto Orchards. It feels over due after my recent trip to San Francisco to judge cider for the
Good Food Awards.

Susan and Stan Devoto were back to the land folks who bought a farm in the 1970s (so were my folks). I am so grateful for this generation's hunger to explore new ways of farming and living. This orchard and farm is near Sebastopol, California. This family company released their first hard cider in 2012, now incorporating the talents of a second generation: Jolie and her husband Hunter. The farm is organic, and they specialize in heritage apples.

Find out about all of the ciders on the website: http://www.devotocider.com/

I found this cider in a grocery store in San Francisco. I chose this one because of the fascinating history of the Gravenstein Apple: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravenstein

Devoto Orchards' official description of the Save the Gravenstein includes some historical background as well as tasting notes and pairings. I appreciate the completeness.
In August, when our Gravenstein apples are at the peak of their ripeness, we pick them, press them, and pour ourselves into every drop. We are proud to offer this food-friendly, dry cider from our family farm to you.

Profiles: Aromas of lemon, sage, yeast, and mint on the nose lead to bright acidity and a smooth finish.Pairings: oysters on the half shell, dungeness crab, surf and turf paella.Cheese Pairings: Point Reyes Farmstead Bay Blue (CA) Andre Artisan Cheese Willow Del Rustique (CA), Bohemian Creamery \ The Bomb (CA), Valley Ford Estero Gold Reserve (CA)

This specifically mentions that the apples were certified organic and harvested in fall 2014.

Appearance: Pale, brilliant, no bubbles

This cider looks fairly innocuous. Its pale and beautifully brilliant with nary a bubble in sight.

Aromas: spicy, dusty, stony

The smells in the Save the Gravenstein are fun! There's lots of spice and just a hint of citrus. The aromas are a little sweet. It smelly dusty and stony like a lot of my favorite ciders.

Sweetness/dryness: Off-dry to dry

This has just enough sweetess to be not totally dry. The Save the Gravenstein is definitely on the dry side though. The tinge of sweetness is just enough to bring out the other flavors.

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, petillant, intensely flavorful

My first impression of the Save the Gravenstein is of its high acidity. Though the cider is described as still, the acidity is enough to create the impression of slight effervescence. I love how intensely flavorful this cider tastes. The Save the Gravenstein is cleanly yeasty like walking past a small bakery first thing in the morning.

My impressions remain acid driven as I keep sipping. There's not any tannin to speak of. It has a light body and springy zesty balance. This is a very wine like cider in some ways. Perhaps that's not a useful comment, but that's part of the drinking experience for me. 

I had this cider with what will probably be nearly my last caprese salad of the year. My CSA has almost stopped giving us tomatoes for the season.

And now, for my announcement! I'm thrilled to share that I'll be speaking at Cider Con 2018 in Baltimore! Stay tuned for details, but I hope I'll see plenty of familiar faces at Cider Con and make some new cider friends as well.