Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Cider Review: Albemarle Ciderworks' Goldrush and 2 Towns Cider La Mure

It may seem like everything is in hibernation right now, but I promise you that the cider world is bustling with activity. Just today, I spent several hours with the New York Cider Association at our annual meeting, brainstorming, debating, and learning about ways we can better our own little corner of the cider world. And this weekend is The Gathering of the Farm Cideries in Albany. I'm so excited!

(Check the event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/384820252086458/)

It has been far too long since I’ve reviewed anything by Albemarle Ciderworks. This company grows a huge variety of heritage and cider specific apples. The tree collection was founded in 1986, long before most of America even dreamed of the cider revolution that’s happening now. Albemarle has a tasting room at the homebase in North Garden, Virginia. I read on the website that you can taste 15 different ciders at the tasting room; that’s certainly an impressive number, particularly when those ciders are all apple blends rather than varied based on adjunct ingredients!

Back in October of 2013, I reviewed Ragged Mountain: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/10/cider-review-albemarle-ragged-mountain.html

And my first Albemarle review covers the Royal Pippin:


Just a month later, I revisited Albemarle with the Pomme Mary:


You can check out the website here: http://www.albemarleciderworks.com.

Today, I’m really excited to be sharing my notes on the GoldRush. Here’s the official description.
 GoldRush is a recent American apple from Purdue University, named for its color and the rush of flavor it offers. That flavor is rich, complex and vinous. Its tart acidity, balanced with a spicy sweetness, makes it highly prized for cider. This fourth single varietal from Albemarle CiderWorks is dry and crisp with citrus overtones hinting of grapefruit. Its tartness on the tongue is smoothed by notes of honey and ginger. This is an elegantly dry cider that pairs wonderfully with a variety of foods-chicken cordon bleu, trout, Gruyere, Manchego- or on its own. 9.5%ABV
Yes, that's a single varietal! Albemarle Ciderworks practically specializes in them.

Appearance: brilliant, bubbly, warm straw

There are so many bubbles in my glass of cider, and the GoldRush is brilliant, that it’s easy to see them. I’d call the color warm straw. 
Aromas: applesauce, raisins, baking spice

The GoldRush makes my mouth water with every little waft of scne. It smells like homemade applesauce. Something about these aromas just makes me think of juicy golden raisins and baking spices. It’s rich and fruity but that’s not all. There are some mineraly notes that remind me of sauvignon blanc-esque fusel oils. I had a question the last time this aroma happened in a reviewed cider. In small quantities, I do not think this is a bad thing *at all*.

Sweetness/dryness: dry

As promised by the official description, the GoldRush is dry.

Flavors and drinking experience: Tropical fruit, high acidity, bubbly, leather

I know I played it cool in my previous section, but I love finding a truly dry cider like the GoldRush that still manages to have tons of fruit notes and richness. This cider is dry, in exactly that high acid and tropical fruits way.

The Goldrush is not just fruity though, it’s also smoky with a gently leathery finish. The fruit notes never fully abandon the cider at any stage, but towards the end, they are no longer alone. It's remarkably balanced even as the flavors shift.

I love the GoldRush’s strong bubbles and firm texture. The acidity makes it slap in the best possible way.

Next up is 2 Towns Ciderhouse’s  La Mûre

I have tried many 2 Towns ciders. They make an huge range of ciders. I’m lucky enough to receive a generous number of review samples from them. 2 Towns Ciderhouse releases many different ciders under a few different product lines, but I tend to adore anything I try from the Traditions line of theirs. We'll see if the trend continues. 

Most recently, I reviewed the Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy, a lemon and raspberry cider:

I loved The Cidre Bouche, and it made my top 10 of 2017: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/11/cider-review-2-towns-ciderhouses-cidre.html

For last year’s Very Perry May I tried the Pearadise as part of my series on perries and pear ciders:

About a year ago I tried the Pineapple: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/02/cider-review-portland-cider-company.html

The rhubarb and hops of The Hop and Stalk was delightful: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/12/cider-review-2-towns-ciderhouse-hop-and.html

When travelling out west I reviewed the Bright Cider as part of my travel roundup: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/07/cider-review-roundup-common-cider-co.html

I recommend visiting the  2 Towns Cider Website to learn more about the company: https://2townsciderhouse.com/

The official description reads,

 LAMBIC STYLE CIDER~ Oregon grown Marion blackberries ~ ~ Soured with Lactobacillus ~ ~ Aged in Willamette Valley pinot noir barrels ~ 
Inspired by the historic lambic beers of Belgium, La Mûre embodies the Flemish styles of old. Northwest apples and Oregon grown Marion blackberries are fermented wild with Lactobacillus. Aged in Willamette Valley pinot noir barrels for one year, this unique cider is then removed from these dusty casks and bottle conditioned, revealing complex aromatics and a lactic tang that only time can unfold. 6.9%ABV

Appearance: Glowing mulberry, brilliant to transparent, no visible bubbles

I had to sneak in a preview of  La Mûre in the glass to my Instagram the night I tasted it, because it’s just so pretty. This cider has a glowing mulberry color; it’s a dark enough shade that I can’t quite tell if the cider is transparent or fully brilliant. I didn’t see much in the way of bubbles though 

Aromas: berries, vinous, beery, barrel-y

 La Mûre smells vinous and beery and sour and fruity all at the same time. There’s definitely something sour in the fruit aromas that reminds me of tart little apples.
Based on these smells, I expect  La Mûre to be tannic and barrel-influenced.

Dryness/sweetness: Off Dry

I find La Mûre off dry. This cider doesn’t have the austerity of a dry sour cider, but it’s not sweet enough to move from being tart to tasting sweet to any significant degree.

Flavors and drinking experience: Sour, barrel, berries, apple

 La Mûre fulfills it’s promisely beautifully. This cider is a sour indeed but one balanced by berries and mineral and barrel and apples! There’s a lot going on here. I love that this cider tastes woody and stoney while still being lushly fruity.

As a last observation,  La Mûre’s sourness grows with multiple tastes! What’s nice though, is that it doesn’t get overpowering. This has to be one of my favorites from 2 Towns Ciderhouse!