Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Cider Review: Shacksbury Dorset and Rootstock Rosé

It’s good to be home, cider lovers. I absolutely loved Scotland. The landscape is amazing, the cities are fun, and we ate so much good food. But, my cellar was ready and waiting for me when we got back! By total happenstance, two cideries that were reviewed together before, both came up again this week. I’m sharing my thoughts on Shacksbury’s Dorset and Rootstock’s Rosé.

These two cider companies came up together only last month during Cider Cans Crush It, here’s the link.


This time we have one canned cider and one lovely bottle.

Shacksbury is a Vermont favorite that has been expanding boundaries and trying new things since the company started making cider.   

You can find out lots of background information on Shacksbury online: http://www.shacksbury.com/

Here are the two other previous appearances of Shacksbury, a review and my experience visiting an orchard.

Shacksbury Classic: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/11/cider-review-shacksbury-original.html

And I visited one of the orchards: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-great-vermont-cider-tour-day-3.html

Today, I want to start with the Dorset cider. I picked up a package of these cans on one of my trips down to Cleveland to visit friends. I chose it not knowing much about this cider and associating it with Dorset County in the southwestern part of England. That was far from the actual naming inspiration for this cider.  

Here’s the real story.

Dorset wild ferment, dry and complex notes of red berry and slate named for Dorset Mountain in Danby, VT where many of the wild apples in cider were foraged blended in collaboration with Tim Prendergast of ANXO in Washington D.C.

Appearance: burnished copper, hazy, lots of bubbles

Lovely color. Burnished copper. Pour it out of the can to see! It's quite hazy, but shows off plenty of bubbles.

Aromas: applesauce, figs, volatile acidity

What an interesting array. This smells much more like a Spanish style cider than what I expected based on the name. There’s some sourness and volatile acidity, but I can also smell some fruity elements. The cider smells like figs and applesauce in ways that make me anticipate sweetness and richness. There are also some floral notes in there too.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi Dry

This is a semi-dry cider. There’s enough sweetness there to ampliphy other flavors and give the cider good mouthfeel but not much more.

Flavors and drinking experience: spanish influence, savory, citrus

This is a fascinating cider to drink as well as to smell. The initial taste features the acetic acid sour tingle that I expected from the aromas. The Dorset also has some citrus fruit notes that play with the sweeter side of lemon and tarter side of orange.

The cider brings some savory elements as well, reminding me of olives, leather, and salt. I suspect the fermentation methods let to some Lactic acid in the cider as well. It’s also a bit lighter in body than I expected based on aromas. The cider is lightly sparkling or petillant.

The whole experience reminds me almost of a summery mixed drink, like a shrub and tonic. I find the Finish is a bit bitter but not tannic. I had the Dorset on my porch with a smoked salmon salad and crispy wheaty crackers. 

Rootstock Ciderworks Rosé

My second cider for the week is  by Rootstock Ciderworks from the Rochester, New York area. This was a review sample, and the notes have been waiting to become a full review for some time. You might be able to guess that from the cold weather clues hiding a picture or two.

Read about the company on the website: https://rootstockciderworks.com/
ROSÉ Hard Cider 
A collaboration project—this rare cider delivers a unique taste experience resulting from the marriage of a heritage variety apple (Rhode Island Greening) and a classic Austrian grape variety (Blaufränkisch). Vibrant salmon color and bold tannin—hints of apricot fill the nose while flavors of ripe red gooseberry excite the palate. 
7.9% Alc/Vol – 1.5% RS
In 2017, this cider won a Silver medal at GLINTCAP.

Appearance: brilliant, watermelon, few bubbles

This is such a beautiful cider to see. I completely understand why it was bottled in clear glass to show off that rosy hue. I don’t see a lot of bubbles, but I appreciate the cider’s total brilliance. The color reminds me of super ripe watermelon flesh.

Aromas: dusty, rocky, red fruit

This smells very much like my hopes for any Rosé cider. It smells dusty and rocky in a way that leads me to expect some grip to the mouthfeel and acidity. I also smell lots of red fruit like strawberries, raspberries, and currants. 

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-dry

This cider definitely tastes semi-dry. There are perceptible elements of sweetness, but they are kept in balance by some real acidity.

Flavors and drinking experience: strawberry, fresh apple, high acid

On the dry end of of semi-dry, this cider really does bring plenty of acid to the party. But beyond just the high acid, there’s so much fun fruit in this cider. I taste tart strawberry, wild blackberries, rhubarb, and a solid backing of fresh apples. There’s no tannins but lots and lots of flavor. 

The cider has a zippy body and plenty of bubbles. I enjoyed this cider with a very brunch inspired supper: roasted red pepper and zucchini frittata with goat cheese and homemade biscuits. I enjoyed keeping all of the dishes light and simple for this peppy fun cider.