Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Cider Review: Eden Specialty Ciders' Ezekiel and Rootstock Ciderworks' Legend

Winter isn’t my favorite season, so I tend to pamper myself with some extra special ciders this time of year. Because I’m a seasonal cider fan, I’ve thought a fair bit about what makes a cider nice for this time of year or that. In the first throes of Winter, I like a cider with some body to it. That helps with food pairing and it helps have mouthfeel and substance when cozying in of an evening. 

Today I'm starting my reviews with Ezekiel by Eden Specialty Ciders. This is part of their Cellar Series lineup. I have reviewed a few Eden ciders before.  

Most recently I tried the Eden Heritage Cider in a can: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/06/cider-cans-crush-it-eden-heritage-and.html

My favourite cider of 2017 was the Imperial 11 Degree Rose: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/03/the-january-2017-cidrbox-and-edens.html

I enjoyed the Sparkling Dry in 2015: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/06/cider-review-eden-sparkling-dry-cider.html

And in 2016 I made the Sparkling Dry part of my Thanksgiving and Birthday celebrations: 


Visit Eden Speciality Cider online to learn about all of the ciders: https://www.edenciders.com/

Now to Eden's Ezekiel. The official description of this limited edition cider reads: 

"100% Kingston Black apples: Rare apples, pressed at harvest, carefully fermented and bottle-conditioned with our ice cider to produce a cider that is exquisitely delicious and unique. Winner: GLINTCAP Silver" 8% ABV.

Appearance: Hazy, few visible bubbles, goldenrod

This hazy cider offers up deep goldenrod color. Each glass poured with a different amount of clarity and showed some settling in the glass. I couldn’t see very many bubbles.

Aromas: leather, tea, cooked apples and peaches.

The Ezekiel smells like leather and cooked apples. It had more fruity and herbal notes though like a spicy black tea or warm peaches.

Dryness/sweetness: Dry

This is a tannic, high acid, dry cider. Wowzas!

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, tannic finish, good body

I am never sure of what to expect from a single varietal cider. They often aren’t balanced. The Ezekiel has a lot to recommend it. I adore the immediacy and strength of acid I tasted. It’s not just powerful, it’s pleasurable rather than thin or too sharp. It’s almost as if there are multiple types of acid playing in concert here rather than one note being played loudly.

I definitely get some tannins from the Ezekiel, and they feel stronger on the finish. I can detect subtle and grainy wild rice notes too. The cider provokes a strong salivary reaction.
It’s dry but intensely flavorful and filled with juicy stone fruits. The body on this cider is firm and substantial, perfect for winter. I had mine with a savory rich cornbread casserole, and it was heavenly.

Rootstock Ciderworks Legend Barrel Aged

Rootstock is a Rochester-area cidery, based in a Williamson, New York orchard. The orchard is currently worked by three generations of the DeFisher family. The Legend is a premium cider available only in a limited run. 

I’ve reviewed a few Rootstock Ciders.

I reviewed the Rose this past summer: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/07/cider-review-shacksbury-dorset-and.html

Not much later, I included the Belgium when rounding up canned ciders: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/06/cider-cans-crush-it-rootstock.html

Rootstock Ciderworks first showed up on the blog with the Hopped Cider: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/10/cider-review-rootstock-ciderworks.html

Here’s the official description of the Legend Barrel-Aged, "Rich golden color and soft tannin—full of robust apple and vanilla flavors accompanied by the subtle aroma of oak, leather and hints of black pepper. Made from heirloom variety apples and aged for over a year in French and American oak barrels. 7.6% Alc/Vol – 0.5% RS"

It has won silver at two of the most prestigious cider competitions, Bath & West International Cider Competition 2017 and Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition (GLINTCAP) 2017. I love that the description lists not only the ABV but also the residual sugar. Factual information really helps contextualize a cider, now if only we knew more about the heirloom apple varieties!

You can learn about Rootstock Ciderworks on the company website: https://rootstockciderworks.com/

Appearance: bright gold, brilliant, bubbly

This is going to be a sparkling cider! It pours with a light mousse that doesn’t stick around. I’d call the color bright gold with beautiful brilliant clarity.

Aromas: vanilla, toasted crumbs, pear, smoke

This cider some big emphatic barrel characteristics to the aromas. I can smell vanilla, toasted breadcrumbs, smoke, butter, caramel and pear. 

Sweetness/Dryness: Semi-dry 

This cider has some sweetness, but it needs it to smooth out both the emphatic barrel qualities and the acidity. Keep reading for the full picture.

Flavors and drinking experience: Barrel, acidity, butter, apple

As I suspected from the aroma, the barrel has the first word here. I can taste lots and lots of barrel, in flavor it comes across as oak and butter. These notes do not drown out the apple thankfully! I can taste mellow cooked apple very pleasantly on the midpalate. Other flavors include citrus, ginger, and vanilla.

The Legend is undeniably High acid but the acidity is not pointed. This cider offers up loads of body and bubble! This is a fun one! Overall, it’s fruity and barrel-icious!