Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Cider Review Seed + Stone Cidery Heritage Traditional Dry and Portland Cider Co.'s Cranberry

It’s March! The turn to Daylight Savings Time is almost here, and I will start looking for spring shortly after. Living in upstate New York might mean that I’m looking for a long while, but I’m ready to start!  

This week I want to share a cider that I bought back in the summer when visiting Rochester. I happened to be touring the Black Button Distillery and saw an unfamiliar cidery name in the tasting room. I sampled from Seed + Stone Cidery and was happy to purchase something new to save for a winter’s night. The company is Rochester, New York Based and relatively new. This is how the cidery describes itself, “We  are dedicated cidermakers and we create small batch traditional ciders from exceptional apples from local orchards.”

I am starting with the Heritage. Here’s how it is described online.

Learn more about this urban cidery online: https://www.seedandstonecidery.com

Our flagship cider, a traditional dry cider fermented slowly and aged over six months. Bottled without filtering and bottle conditioned for a light effervescence.  A mix of American Heirloom and English Bittersweet apples. This cider promotes clean aromatic characteristics and intensifies mouthfeel and lingering flavors, while encouraging the fresh aromas of tropical fruit, cream, vanilla and spice.

Seed+Stone Cidery: Heritage Traditional Dry

Appearance: brilliant,  popcorn kern, light mousse

What a pleasing deep color. I enjoy it when ciders bring some harvest hues to my glass, and the Heritage does just that. I’d call the color popcorn, but not for the popped variety. It looks like the warm yellow of an unpopped kernel. It’s brilliant bubbly, pouring with a fine mousse that boils up and vanishes. 

Aromas: Stony, citrus, grain, powder 

The Heritage smells stony and powdery and very much like citrus. It reminds me of certain other upstate NY ciders that use heritage apples heavily. I do get apple notes as well, specifically crisp grainy apple flesh. Something about the aroma is crystalline. I smell the barest hint of sweetness, but I don’t expect it to translate into taste. 

Sweetness/dryness: Dry

This is a dry cider! There’s no second guessing that one. 

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, black walnuts, herbal

Tasting the Heritage cider is intense; there are so many flavors here! I get notes of black walnuts, anise, and savory herbs. There are some vegetal notes, but ultimately this is a dry crisp apple cider with a strongly astringent first note. Yowza! 

This cider brings high acidity and a light body. The Heritage can also boast of high but not overpowering tannins. Again, I get lots and lots of herbal notes. And the cider finishes austerely;  it’s a long stony finish—but then it's stony everywhere.

My next review is a return to a company that often makes approachable fun fruit-blended ciders: Portland Cider Co. I was lucky enough to get a review sample of the Cranberry. This cidery was founded by fans of English cider in 2012. You can see more company background in my earlier reviews. 

Here are my previous reviews of Portland Cider Co.

First, the Kinda Dry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/05/cider-review-portland-cider-company.html

Then the Pineapple: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/02/cider-review-portland-cider-company.html

And the Pumpkin Spice: 

Visit the website to see what all Portland Cider Company has going right now: https://www.portlandcider.com/

Portland Cider Company Cranberry has a full page of info on the website; I’ll start by sharing  the description, “Our cranberry cider is a blend of fresh NW grown cranberries & apples, Slightly tart & semi-sweet, with a rich apple taste at its core. Tastes like fresh cranberry relish!” 6% ABV

There’s also a complete listing of ingredients, including apple varieties, “Cranberries, Orange zest, Gala apples,  Honeycrisp apples, Pink Lady apples, Golden Delicious apples, Fuji apples”

Appearance: true ruby, brilliant, few bubbles

As the pictures makes obvious, the Cranberry is a GORGEOUS color. I don’t see many visible bubbles in the glas, but the cider is certainly brilliant. 

Aromas: grapes, citric acid, cranberry

The Cranberry cider smells of grapes immediately! What a surprise. I also get some of the lemon and dust notes I associate with citric acid or Pixi Stix. It also smells like fresh cranberry juice. I anticipate a very high acid cider! 

Sweetness/dryness:  Semi-dry

The Cranberry’s tartness is so strong that it's hard to say how sweet or dry it is. 

Flavors and drinking experience: Tart, full bodied, cranberry, tannins

The Cranberry Tastes very much like cranberry! It’s full bodied mouthfeel suggests that the cider has more residual sweetness than one perceives because the tartness is so very substantial! The cider brings much more cranberry flavor forward than apple, but the apple is here. There’s also a very little bit of mapley booze flavor, especially in big sips. The alcohol and any fermentation related notes are relatively downplayed in relation to the fresh fruity notes. 

How I taste apple most is in the mid-palate to the cider’s finish. The Cranberry does relish in it’s very high acid. It’s puckering but pleasantly so! The cranberry also brings Medium-high tannins to the overall experience. I love the nice long dry bitter cranberry finish. Yum, what a fun and approachable cider.