Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Cider Review: Angry Orchard Super Natural and Eden Cider's Extra Sec

Lots of exciting cider events are approaching in the next few months (GLINTCAP, NY Cider Competition), but they aren’t here yet. I don’t know about you, but patience isn’t my most developed quality. I like the fun thing to be happening today or if not today then very soon. I needed some extra fabulous ciders to help me wait out the next several weeks until I can count down till the fun starts.  

I’m starting with the Angry Orchard Supernatural: something I picked up when I visited the Innovation Center for Angry Orchard in Walden, New York. 

Here’s what I wrote about that visit for Cider Culture: https://www.ciderculture.com/angry-orchard-innovation-cider-house/

You can also visit Angry Orchard online: https://www.angryorchard.com/

Here's a quick list of some of my previous Angry Orchard reviews (this is not all of them!)

Wooden Sleeper: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/12/cider-review-angry-orchards-wooden.html

Understood in Motion 3: this collaboration with Tom Oliver of Oliver’s Cider (this was my #6 cider of 2018): http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/08/cider-review-angry-orchard-ciders.html

Spiced Apple from March of 2017: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/03/cider-review-angry-orchards-spiced-apple.html

I reviewed the new Pear as a part of Very Perry May: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/05/very-perry-may-review-of-greenwood.html

I reviewed the Rosé last March: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/03/cider-review-angry-orchard-rose-and.html

I did get to try an early release from the Innovation Cider House: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/09/cider-review-angry-orchards-walden.html

Angry Orchard's official description reads, “This cider is pet-nat and also unfiltered so sediment is natural. It will absolutely slay at your dinner table. Enjoy.” What it doesn’t mention is that pet-nat stands for Petillant Natural, also known as Method Ancestrale. What it means is that the bubbles in the bottle come from the primary fermentation finishing up in the bottle so that the Carbon Dioxide produced by fermentation stays trapped in the bottle. This method has been used for both cider and wine for a couple hundred years at least.

The label also lists the apples included, “40% Dabinette, 34% Gold Rush, 11% Marie Menard, 11% Muscadet de Lense, and 4% Northern Spy.”  I love love love that this label includes the apple varieties! This one even introduced me to an apple I’d not heard of before: the Marie Menard. This is a french bittersweet variety.

Appearance: dandelion yellow, lightly hazy, bubbly

This does look like pet nat. Because the sediment created by fermentation (the lees) is never filtered out or disgorged, the cider cannot be fully brilliant. It does however have lots of bubble and a cheerful bright yellow shade. 

Aromas: sour apple, volatile acidity, sour, grain, ripe apples

I can smell lot of dynamic and exciting fruity, sour, and grainy notes in the Supernatural. There’s definitely some funk to these aromas! The fact that this is a wild fermentation is not at all surprising.

Dryness/sweetness: Semi-dry

This cider is semi dry but it might come across as completely dry, depending on the drinker’s habituation to high acidity. 

Flavors and drinking experience: finy bubbly, juicy, fresh sour

Ooh! I like Angry Orchard’s Supernatural, even though I am often not the biggest fan of Sidra style ciders. It’s more than tart, but only has a little acetic acid and volatile acidity. The cider is semi-dry with very fine bubbles. I find that Pet Nat textures can be so very exciting and fresh; this is no exception! 

The supernatural manages to be juicy and fresh without being sweet or tame. The whole drinking experience is very raw and sour- it’s vivid and exciting. My co-taster called it a cider with bite, and I think they’re right.

Eden Cider is a small specialty cidery operating in Northern Vermont. Eleanor Leger runs this inventive cider house that not only produces heritage orchard-based ciders but also fine ice ciders and infused cider blends for cocktails. You can find out more background on Eden Specialty Ciders in early reviews.

I tasted the Ezekiel most recently: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/01/cider-review-eden-specialty-ciders.html

Over the summer, I was able to sample the Eden Heritage Cider in a can: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/06/cider-cans-crush-it-eden-heritage-and.html

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

I relished trying Eden’s Sparkling Dry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/06/cider-review-eden-sparkling-dry-cider.html

And I included it as part of my Thanksgiving and Birthday celebrations in 2016: 

Visit Eden Speciality Cider website to find out more, including new releases: https://www.edenciders.com/

Eden offers so much more than just an official description for all of the ciders. I’ll give what info I can, but do recommend checking out the webpage: https://www.edenciders.com/store/detail/?item=2016sparklingextrasec750ml

The description reads.
Champagne-method cider made from heirloom and bittersweet apple varieties grown in Vermont and at Poverty Lane Orchards in New Hampshire. It is naturally sparkling and clean - we hand-disgorge the yeast from every bottle! Beautifully balanced between fruit, acid, and tannin. The barely perceptible dosage serves to bring forth the fruit character of the cider. Perfect with roast pork, turkey and vegetable gratin dishes.

Appearance: honeybee gold, fine bubbles, brilliant

This brilliant cider has the deep gold I see on honey bees for color. The Extra Sec shows off a beautifully fine bubble. It’s easy to wax ecstatic about this how lovely this cider is to see.  

Aromas: Overripe apples, honeydew, peach, pine

There are more fruity aromas than savory ones in the Extra Sec, but this cider does include both. I can smell overripe apples, peaches, honeydew melon, and a waft of pine. 

Dryness/sweetness: Off dry to sem-dry

This is an interesting one. This cider is described and even named for a being a bit sweeter than many of Eden’s Heritage style ciders, but the residual sugar is still at .9% which would be called dry by some other cider makers. For me the result tastes not quite dry but certainly not semi-sweet; it’s more of that gentle slope from off dry to semi-dry.

Flavors and drinking experience: rich mouthfeel, tea, leather, bright, steely

I love how rich the Extra Sec tastes; the cider offers up a viscous mouthfeel from the ice cider backsweetening. That doesn’t take away from the little bit of steel I can taste on the front. Melon sweetness in the middle palate balanced by tannic tea notes and leather on the finish. This cider surely is bright and bubbly, but the acid makes it feel bubblier than it looks (and indeed may be).  

I love how the Extra Sec’s finish rolls in waves of strong aromas, a little astringence, sweetness and bitterness alternating. Factually speaking, the cider leverages medium high tannins, high but not extreme acid, while remaining off dry. This beautifully balanced cider is refreshing for every moment of the experience, but it’s also thoughtful. 

The Extra Sec paired well with homemade pesto pizza and wonderful company. I couldn’t have asked for a better cider to share with the best of friends.