Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Cider Review Virtue Cider's Percheron

I'm writing about a Virtue cider today for two reasons. First, my dad brought some Percheron to share with me when he visited this past weekend. And second, AB InBev came back for a second round of purchasing and bought up the rest of Virtue. I have no idea how this will change the company, or anything about the company's inner working. But did I want to write about bottle that was recently in front of me before much could change or change again.

Here's Brew Bound's take on the story:

For those who don't know, Virtue Cider was started in 2011 by Greg Hall. This cidery is based out of Fennville, Michigan. They use a lot of international inspiration for their ciders and aren't afraid of a little funk. My main connection was having my first cheese and cider pairing class from Greg Hall in 2013 at Murray's Cheese in New York City. I'll remember that evening with fondness for a long time to come. 

Read more about Virtue: http://www.virtuecider.com/ 

Official description: This Norman-style blend of last season's high-acid Michigan apples is aged in French oak and refermented with wild yeast. We finish Percheron with fresh pressed apple juice for a touch of sweetness. ABV 5.5%

The official description also includes a section on tasting notes and pairings. They say, “Percheron has notes of vanilla and a wonderful aroma of apple blossom with a hint of orange. It is gentle, tart cider with a tannic finish. Food Pairing: Percheraon is best enjoyed with a stinky French cheese like Livarot, or with roast pork, wild boar, or a hearty beef stew.”

Appearance: Brilliant, no visible bubbles, cool gold color

Apologies for no in the glass photographs. I was pinned to the couch with a sleeping cat on my lap. It happens. The cider was lovely though, brilliant and an icy gold.

Aromas: dried fruit, leather, raisins, overripe apples

I know the Percheron's style is inspired by french ciders but to me these smells connote English ciders. Notes are leathery, dried tropical fruits and raisins, all as an overlay to overripe apples. The scents include something a little floral and a little spicy.

Sweetness/dryness: Off dry

This cider has a hint of sweetness, but it doesn't dominate the flavors. Instead the level of dryness/sweetness is approachable and pleasant. The sweetness I do get is subtly fruity and caramel tinged.

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, medium high tannins, tea, barn, melon

The french oak barrel aging gently steers the flavors of the Percheron. The definites are high acid, medium high tannins, with a low intensity of bubble. To be fair, my bottle is a bit on the elder side and maybe the effervescence has partially aged out. The wild yeast brings with it a little funk, but it remains in balance with the other characteristics of the beverage.

My overall impression is like a combination of traditional English, French and Heritage North American styles. I enjoy how the Percheron remains just off-dry (with some sweetness) and glimmers with notes of tea, salt, barn wood, melon and mandarin orange. This cider is mellow, complex and refreshing—quite pleasant.

Who knows what the future will bring. It can be sentiment of trepidation, but I prefer to think of it as an encouragement to enjoy what we can of the present.