Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Cider Reviews: Portland Cider Co.'s Pineapple Rose and Melick's Hard Cider George's Tart Cherry

I don’t know about you, but when it’s hot I’m not as much fun. I don’t mean to say that I wilt and pout like the potted basil on my front stoop, but I’m not a fan of too much heat. When we have days and days of predicted rain but no actual drops, when the dewpoint rises dramatically, and when the last breeze skipped town last week, and the sun starts feeling more like a Deathstar rather than the source of life in our universe, I think that’s hard on everyone. And that’s the stage of summer we’ve reached. Luckily, cold bubbly fruity cider is here for us. And that’s exactly what I served up this past week. 

I started with Portland Cider Co.'s Pineapple Rose. This was a sample shared with me for review. My opinions remain my own.

Here are my previous reviews for Portland Cider Co. 

Most recently I tried the Cranberry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/03/cider-review-seed-stone-cidery-heritage.html

Last fall, I tried the Pumpkin Spice: 

My first Portland Cider Co. was the Kinda Dry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/05/cider-review-portland-cider-company.html

Earlier in 2018, I saw a different take on Pineapple from this crew: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/02/cider-review-portland-cider-company.html

Check out Portland Cider Co.’s website to see what new releases are here: https://www.portlandcider.com/

Here’s the official description from Portland Cider Co., “Bursting with juicy, fresh pineapples, with a naturally pink hue from a splash of Northwest grown blueberries. Treat yourself with this fruity, tropical delight that will take your tastebuds to an island oasis.” 5.2%ABV.

Appearance: hazy, peach, tiny visible bubbles

I wasn’t surprised to see a slight haze to this cider. Lots of pineapple ciders retain a semi-transparent level of clarity. What did surprise me is that the color is barely pink, at least compared to lots of rose ciders that I see. I’d call this one peach. It’s lovely and gentle. The photo doesn’t show it ideally, but the cider was active with visible tiny bubbles.

Aromas: Pineapple, lush floral, apple, honey 

This cider smells like super ripe sticky pineapples. I can just imagine fresh pineapple texture so vividly when I smell this. That’s dominant, but in the background I get floral notes, apple, and honey.

Sweetness/dryness: Sweet

The Pineapple Rose cider is a sweet and fruity cider! It’s sweetest on the finish.

Flavors and drinking experience: tropical fruit, acid on the front, bubbly

The Pineapple Rose brings a super summer party with lots of tropical fruit flavors. I appreciate the nice high acid up front; it keeps the cider fresh but not isn’t pointed or challenging. I enjoy the strength of the bubbles. 

The Pineapple Rose benefits from its clean fermentation. Some ciders aren’t meant to be funky! This one is all about fruit and acid, with no astringence and no tannins. The Pineapple Rose does have a thick mouthfeel due to sweetness. 

After several sips, I can tell that the cider’s acid fades before the finish. There are some fun bakery characteristics that remind me of breakfasty sweets or muffins but the blueberry doesn’t really come through distinctly. I got just as many notes of roses, cherries, and strawberries as I do blueberry. I can say confidently that this is a summery cider! 

Melick’s Hard Cider George’s Tart Cherry

My next cider was brought to me by a visiting cider friend, Maria. I tried one Melick’s a few years ago, but I misplaced my notes, so the review never appeared. This feels a bit overdue for Melick's first appearance! 

I don’t know a ton about Melick’s Hard Cider. The company is based in Oldwick New Jersey. It appears to be related to a sister agriculture business Melick’s Town Farm. I see six different ciders and an apple wine on the website. What’s nice is that Melick’s lists all the places that carry the ciders.  

Visit the company online: https://www.melickstownfarm.com/HardCider

On to George’s Tart Cherry. I shared this with a friend because I have a terrible shortcoming when it comes to understanding cherry ciders, so when I review them I enlist help. 

Melick’s official description keeps it simple, “A sweet-tart cider made with Balaton and Montmorency cherry juices.” 6.7% ABV.

Appearance: Brilliant, brick red, subtly bubbly

This is a lovely cider to see. The color is deep with a fun brilliant shade that’s red with tints of deep orangey brick. I can see lots of itty bitty  bubbles rising in the cider. 

Aromas: Bing cherry, limestone, cinnamon, baked goods

This cider smells like the deep and dark bing cherries I remember from my childhood. It also smells like limestone, cinnamon, and baked goods. It’s luscious.

Sweetness/dryness: sweet

This cider is sweetly fruity, but there’s more to it than that.

Flavors and drinking experience: cherry, plum, tart, sweet

George’s Tart Cherry  indeed tastes sweet and tart! The cide offers up a very direct and natural cherry flavor. I find that it intensified as the flavor matures from initial sip to finish. I love that this cider is mildly astringent. 

Cherry isn’t the only fruit at play here. My tasting companion identified Santa Rosa plums as a flavor too. I think they’re correct. I also got little bit of yeasty baked goods and fresh cherry pie.
In each drink, the cider changes to tart from sweet; this makes it a more universally appealing and very summery indeed. I’ll probably never be a devoted cherry fan, in any of it’s forms, but this cider made a great impression with its complexity and balance. 

Good luck surviving these hot days. May a cool glass of cider chill and refresh you.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Cider Review: Grisamore Cider Works Flight

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been writing about enjoying cider in Summer. I drink cider year round (of course!) but I don’t make the same cider choices during different seasons. What I recommend today is tasting cider on the farm where it’s made. I love to visit cideries and orchards year round, but they are particularly lush and green right now. And you’ll beat the rush of folks will be flocking during Fall! 

When my dad came to visit this summer, I knew I wanted to take him to a cidery. I wanted to share my love of cider and get outside in the sunshine. Simon at Grisamore had invited me out do a tasting at the newly opened tasting room a while ago, so it had been on my list.  Luckily, we had a great weather day for it. 

Grisamore is a third generation family farm, a u-pick apple destination, and a new cidery in the Finger Lakes area of NY state. The farm has been in the family since 1975, and Grisamore Ciderworks has been operating for a few years now.  

Check out Grisamore’s website to learn about the cidermaking and orchards and check out lots of lovey pictures: http://grisamoreciderworks.com

I have reviewed a couple Grisamore ciders before. Here are both of those in depth reviews.

The 24.4 squared: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/04/cider-review-grisamore-cider-works-244.html

Currantly: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/10/cider-reviews-redbyrd-orchard-cider.html 

The Grisamore Flight. I’ll start with Grisamore’s description, followed my impressions.

Alice: “An earthy nose with pungent green apple and allusions of peach.” ABV 7.5%.

I found the Alice very appealing with the Green tea notes in the aroma. This is a high acid, very dry cider. Probably it’s nicest feature is a delightful golden applesauce finish. I found the texture petillant.

24.4²: “An easy, clean drinking cider with tropical notes, aged on citra hops.” 7.6%ABV

Boy oh boy the 24.4²: smells and tastes hopped! I appreciate how remarkably Clean and non-sweaty this cider smells. The hops come across as pineapple and grapefruit. This cider similarly high acid and petillance to what I found in the Alice. This one offers a bit of dry plum at the end and pleasant hay notes

Blue Goose: “fresh minty green blueberry flavor on the palette with a clean sparkling finish.” 7.3% ABV

I didn’t know quite what to expect from the Blue Goose. What I got was luscious blueberry muffin aroma with some sweetness. This cider’s flavors reminded me of rhubarb, watermelon, and minerals. It also had notes of blueberry skins. This cider brings a medium level of bubble and just a little sweetness.

Respect Your Elders: “A semi-dry cider fermented on elderberries sourced from our pensioner bush.” 7.4% ABV

The Respect Your Elders had more subtle aromas than the ciders I tasted before. What I could smell was gently floral. What I taste is foxy and spicy with notes of grass and with poblano notes right upfront. This was a remarkable delight. 

Field of Your Choice: “A farmhouse cider with a golden straw glow. A sour cider with a clean dry finish.” 6.5% ABV

I thought Field of Your Choice would be more sour! Instead I smelled sweet fresh soft apple smells.The sourness is present but understated. This cider also varies in that it has more bubbles. There’s also something in the flavors that strikes me as grainy.

It was a fun flight. I like Grisamore Ciderworks’ stuff, and I love a reason to go out and look at a farm on a beautiful day. This is such a fun way to appreciate cider and enjoy Summer!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Cider Review: Aeppeltreow Scarlett Rosey Cider and South Hill Cider Prelude #7

This week, when thinking about cider and Summer, I want to think about the specific cider styles most often associated with the season. There are more than I can cover in a week, but two of the first styles that come to mind are rosé ciders and dry, acid-forward, bubbly ciders. Luckily I found examples of each: one in my own cellar waiting for its moment and the other featured at a local restaurant (Agava: https://www.agavarestaurant.com/) known for showcaseing local food and beverages. 

Today, I’m starting with Aeppeltreow’s Scarlett Rosey Cider. 

I’ve enjoyed a number of Aeppeltreow ciders since starting the blog. Here’s the list:

Sparrow Spiced Cider: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/01/cider-review-aeppeltreow-sparrow-spiced.html

The Orchard Oriole Perry has to be one of my favorite perries ever: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/05/very-perry-may-aeppeltreows-orchard.html 

In 2015, I got to try the Appley Brut which brings the bubbles: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/09/cider-review-appeltreow-winerys-appley.html 

The first time I had something pretty in pink from Aeppeltreow it was the Blackbird Berried Cider: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/06/cider-cans-crush-it-aeppeltreow.html

My favorite might still be the Kinglet Bitter: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/09/cider-review-appletreow-kinglet-bitter.html 

When I first moved to Ithaca, I got to try the Barnswallow Draft Cider: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/03/cider-review-appeltreow-barnswallow.html 

For Very Perry May 2017,I reviewed the Sparkling Perry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/05/very-perry-may-pt-1-aeppeltreow.html

At my friend El’smost recent  birthday dinner, I included the Americana:

Read about all the ciders, and the rest of the delicious lineup online: http://aeppeltreow.com/

Here’s the official description for the Scarlett Rosey Cider, “Scarlett is blended from real red-fleshed crab apples and eating apples specially selected to leave the scent of rose petals in the bottom of the glass. Semi-sweet. It is pink.” 5.5% ABV

Appearance: Brilliant, bubbly, coral pink

The can describes this cider as pink, but it’s a more nuanced shade than just pink. To me, it looks like a coral pink that hints toward peachiness. It’s lovely: far too lovely to leave in a can! Pour this one into a glass.

Aromas: ripe apples, raspberries, stone and dust

The Scarlett smells like ripe apples and raspberries! Underneath all of that juicy ripe apple I get a hint of dust and stone associated notes that make me expect something tart.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-sweet

This is semi-sweet, but I’m guessing many folks would call the Scarlett Rosey Cider semi-dry. It’s a lovely fruity sweetness that melds with all of the facets of the cider.

Flavors and drinking experience: tart, tannic, sweet, floral and fruity

I love how the Scarlett cider offers up lots of tannins! It also brings enough medium high acidity to balance the sweetness. I enjoy the medium intensity of bubbles, and the heft of the mouthfeel. This cider has both body and lift! The floral and fruity elements play nicely together. What I particularly appreciate is that the floral notes shade more into foody and juicy notes and less into powdery or perfumed ones. 

I enjoyed the Scarlett Rosey Cider with some wheaty crackers and a mature cheddar. It didn’t need anything else!  

South Hill Cider Prelude #7

Previous reviews of South Hill Ciders

South Hill Ciders has a fantastic group of ciders that manage to be different and yet all 100% apple-based and local. Cidermaker Steve Selin uses all manner of apples for the different South Hill ciders including heirloom, crab, and cider specific apples all from the local environs, both grown and foraged. South hill planted a young orchard in Ithaca, NY and has broken ground for a tasting room to be open on the same site soon. 

Here is a list of my previous South Hill Cider reviews:

Most recently I reviewed the Bluegrass Russet: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/04/cider-review-sea-ciders-ruby-rose-and.html

I reviewed the Prelude 3: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/12/cider-review-south-hill-ciders-prelude.html

Then it became my #7 favorite cider in 2018

My Finger Lakes Cider pairing dinner in September of 2017 included one: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/09/finger-lakes-cider-week-and-birthday.html

I chose South Hill Cider’s Stone Fence Farm as my favorite cider of 2016: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/08/cider-review-south-hill-ciders-stone.html

In 2016, I tasted the 2014 Packbasket: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/04/cider-review-south-hill-ciders-2014.html

And my very first South Hill Cider review was the hyper-limited release Hypothesis: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/05/cider-review-south-hill-ciders.html

You can visit South Hill Cider online to learn more and follow the progress on current projects: http://www.southhillcider.com/

And now for the South Hill Prelude #7. 

Here’s the official description, “#7- An assemblage of all late-season apples. 50% Dabinett, 34% Golden Russet and 16% Goldrush. Bone Dry & Sparkling traditional method. Because of the bottle fermentation and that the apples are all late-season and ripe, the cider is 10.1% ABV. 90 cases”

Appearance: brilliant, bubbly, warm straw

This cider looks very much like what I expect and hope for a cider from this area. I’d call the color warm straw. It’s brilliant, and I can see some bubble activity in the glass.

Aromas: lemons, clean grains, boozy, minerals

This cider smells unlike others I’ve smelled or tasted from South Hill Cider. I suppose that’s the beauty of the Prelue line. The #7 smells lemony and boozy with notes of clean grain and minerals.

Sweetness/dryness: Dry

This is a dry and astringent cider. Folks expecting any sweetness at all will be surprised, but I love that about it.

Flavors and drinking experience: oaky, herbal, anise

The Prelude #7 tastes oaky; maybe some part of this juice saw time in a barrel of some form. The description doesn’t say so, but that’s what I’m tasting. The cider is also strongly herbal with notes of anise, black tea, and dried leaves. I love that it has so many bubbles. It tastes toasted with breadcrumbs and marshmallows. I get brown sugar notes in the finish. This cider is high acid with medium-high tannins.

I had this with a black bean veggie burger and fantastic fries. I definitely recommend the paring.

Summer has lots of long hot days, enough to include both rosé ciders and dry, acid-forward, bubbly ciders. Check back next week to see how else to enjoy cider in the Summer.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Cider Review: Kaneb Orchards Hard Cider Flight at Otter Creek Winery in Alexandria Bay

What is special about cider in the summer for you? I want to think about that question for the next few weeks, while we are experiencing the long hot heights of Summer. My first answer is cider while travelling! I love to ask about local and regional ciders wherever I go. A couple of weeks ago, I made the time to travel to the Thousand Islands for a quick weekend away in a lovely place. I didn’t know what cider I would find there. 

To my surprise in our apple and cider intensive state,I had few cider opportunities than I would have liked. Hopefully though if people keep asking about cider, more places will carry local or regional ciders. My trip wasn’t entirely without cider though, I did get to try a Kaneb Orchards flight at the Otter Creek Winery in Alexandria Bay.

Kaneb Orchards is both a cidery and an orchard offering fresh and hard cider, cider donuts, and other farm and bakery goods. You can find them close to the Canadian border in Massena, New York.  

Visit Kaneb Orchards online to learn more: https://www.kaneborchards.com/

Here's the lineup!

Raquette River

Here’s what the company says about it’s driest cider, “Kaneb Orchards Raquette River Cider is a medium dry sparkling cider with a full body, apple notes up front, and a dry finish. A smooth and hardy taste that is more like a trandional hard cider. Made from hand picked apples. Handcrafted at our Cidery in Northern New York. Naturally gluten free. Carbonated. Enjoy!” I found the ABV listed in various places online as either 4.8% or 5%.

The Raquette River offered up aromas of ripe apples, pastry, and fresh mild cheese. Though the description lists this as a medium dry cider, I found it semi-sweet. This cider practically danced with notes of white grape and apple flavor. Secondarily, I got notes of tropical fruit, mostly pineapple. Upon repeated sips,  lots of pear flesh flavors emerge. Overall, the cider is very fruit forward with medium acidity and no tannins. I like how full bodied and clean it tastes. This cider isn’t funky but neither is it simple. 

St. Lawrence 

Kaneb Orchards introduces it saying, “St. Lawrence Cider is a clear, crisp medium sweet sparkling cider with full apple flavor. Hand picked apples from our orchard are pressed and bottled in small batches at our Cidery in Northern New York near the St. Lawrence River. Product is naturally gluten free. Enjoy!”

To me, the St. Lawrence cider smells pleasantly of wood, homemade applesauce, with a bit of pie spices. This cider tastes sweet, friendly, and bubbly. This is another cider that shows off a very clean fermentation. The St. Lawrence offers medium high acid and crystalline sweetness but no tannins. Notes of blackberries and jam round out the experience.

Cranberry Crisp

The company describes it’s first fruit-blended cider with, “Kaneb Orchards Cranberry Crisp Cider is a blend of our medium sweet cider and a splash of 100% cranberry juice from berries locally grown and pressed at our Cdery. It’s the perfect balance between sweet and sour that makes this a delightfully refreshing drink. Made from hand picked apples. Hand crafted at our Cidery in Northern New York. Sparkling. Naturally gluten free. Enjoy!”

The Cranberry Crisp smells decidedly different than the previous two ciders! This one smells a bit wild, funky, and nutty. The levels of aroma intensity aren’t particularly high.
This cider tastes very sweet, but the cranberry tartness sneaks up just in time to make it something a bit more than it could be. I appreciate the high but not extreme acid and the gentle presence of tannins from the cranberry. As our tasting room guide showed us, the Cranberry Crisp is good for cider mixer with something dry. She blended it with a local Pinot Grigio to fun effect.

Grasse River Still

Our guide introduced this as a semi-sweet apple wine, but this is how the producer describes it, “Kaneb Orchards Grasse River Still Cider is a medium dry non carbonated cider with great apple notes. It’s like floating on the Grasse River on a calm, still afternoon. Made from hand picked apples from our orchard and crafted at our cider in Northern New York. Naturally gluten free. Enjoy!”

The Grasse River still smells like limestone, white flowers, and honey. I anticipate some sweetness based on that set of aromas, but I’ve been proven wrong before. The taste comes across as sweet, with prominent notes of  honey and apple. This still cider is very floral, low in acidity, with no tannins. The mouthfeel is very thick and creamy. The finish lingerings with the same honey and vanilla from the mid palate. I think our tasting room guide was absolutely correct in that this cider presents a bit like an apple wine or dessert cider profile. You could pair with something complex yet light like sushi.

I was thrilled to get to try new ciders from a relatively unexplored region. These are crowd pleasers, and I bet they do very well. Check back in for another facet of enjoying cider in Summer!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Cider Review: Woodchuck / Farnum Hill's Odd Crush and the Cider Lab's Empire Blanc

Now that I’ve moved to upstate NY, I wait for summer every year, thinking about it, looking forward to it, worrying it will somehow never arrive. And yet, that doesn’t mean I’m prepared once it comes. This year that means I didn’t manage to keep deer out of my raised vegetable beds, and I’ve already gotten sunburned twice. I have no good excuse, but I do bring a glass of water and a glass or can of cider with me into the shade while I wait for long summer evenings to walk and wander. 

Just this past Friday, I got a very exciting delivery to my workplace. I’d heard about a collaboration between Woodchuck and Farnum Hill. I know both of these companies; I like both;  both were pivotal to my early cider days (back in 2002) when there were very few ciders available. And the timing of this delivery was perfect. The cans arrived just in time to get stowed in my weekend bag and taken up to the Thousand Islands region for a summer weekend getaway. 

The Woodchuck / Farnum Hill collaboration is called Odd Crush, and the can features both New Hampshire and Vermont on the cans. 

Previous coverage of Farnum Hill includes:

Cider Con 2017: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/02/cider-con-part-2-panels-workshops-and.html

Visiting Farnum Hill in New Hampshire: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-great-vermont-cider-tour-day-1.html

Extra Dry: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/08/cider-review-farnum-hill-extra-dry-and.html (this was my #1 cider of 2015)

Farmhouse Cider: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/08/cider-review-farnum-hill-farmhouse-cider.html

Summer Cider: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/09/cider-review-farnum-hill-summer-cider.html

And here are a smattering of my previous reviews of Woodchuck ciders. (There are many more if you look)

Pearsecco: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/05/cider-review-very-perry-may-with.html

Bubbly Rose: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/08/cider-review-farnum-hill-extra-dry-and.html

I am still waiting for Woodchuck to bring back the June and Juice: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/10/cider-review-woodchucks-june-and-juice.html

The Local Nectar: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/07/cider-review-woodchucks-local-nectar.html

I reviewed the Pear Ginger as part of 2018’s Very Perry May: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/05/very-perry-may-review-of-woodchucks.html

And I loved visiting them on my Vermont Cider Tour: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-great-vermont-cider-tour-day-3.html

Here’s information about  the Odd Crush from it’s press release:
 The name "Odd Crush” points to our drastically different styles, which originally sparked the diverse new era in American hard ciders. In VT, Woodchuck paved the way for popular six-pack ciders, sold across the country. In NH, Farnum Hill opened a future for regional orchard ciders in wine-style bottles.With Odd Crush we combine both styles of cider making. The cider has a bright, golden hue that is clear and brilliant. The aroma has fruity notes of peach, raspberry and citrus that lead to a clean finish, excellent with food.
This cider’s ABV is 5.4%.

Appearance: old gold, brilliant, bubbly

This cider looks bubbly and mellow with the rich hue I remember being called old gold. It’s more intense and warm than simply yellow, straw, or amber. 

Aromas: ripe apples, cinnamon, caramel

The Odd Crush smells like ripe apples, cinnamon, and something darkly sweet. The aromas are as intense as fresh pressed juice with a hint of caramel.

Sweetness/dryness: off dry

This is definitely a meeting of the minds, it’s more dry than any other Woodhuck cider and sweeter than anything I’ve previously had from Farnum Hill. 

Flavors and drinking experience: tart, rich, brightly fruit forward, well balanced

The Odd Crush tastes darn good. I am impressed. It’s tart without being pointed. The flavors include caramel notes without too much sweetness. This cider’s acid hits early and disappears before the finish. In terms of texture, I note strong bubbles, medium body and some tannins.

I appreciate this cider’s delightful parade of bright dry fruit flavors. Initially, I taste citrus for sure, but also pear and kiwi. The Odd Crush tastes clean throughout, and offers up a warm bright finish.  The relative dryness makes it special and carries the other flavors with structure and restraint. It’s really quite lovely.

Next up it’s The Cider Lab’s Empire Blanc.

“Science. Art. Premium Craft Cider,” These are the words that introduce Cider Lab on it’s website. This Geneva, New York project focuses on not only their own ciders but working on developing the process that made delicious ciders. For more background check out my earlier reviews of the brand and project.

Empire Royale: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/02/cider-review-cider-labs-empire-royale.html

Empire Golden: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/04/cider-review-eastmans-forgotten-ciders.html

Visit The Cider Lab online and learn about all of the ciders: https://theciderlab.com/our-cider/

Here’s how the introduces the Empire Blanc:

An award-winning, dry, hard cider made from fresh-pressed New York Empire apples grown on the golden shores of Lake Ontario. Like fine wine in its balance of tannins and acidity, The Cider Lab’s Empire Blanc is crisp, bright and complex. The effervescence of this brilliant straw-colored cider floats a bouquet of orange blossom and melon awakening the senses with carefully blended fermentations. A refreshing cider experience that pairs well with food or stands out on its own. Enjoy responsibly and share Empire Blanc with friends.
This cider has an ABV of 7.1%.

Appearance: pale pollen, brilliant, no bubbles

This cider almost glows. The color looks like pale spring pollen and it’s totally brilliant. I can’t see bubbles, but that doesn’t mean the cider will be still.

Aromas: Perfume pollen floral

Again, I am reminded of pollen. This is not a theme that comes up in many ciders, but that’s how this one looks and smells to me. It’s very floral and perfumed like honeysuckle.

Dryness/sweetness: off dry

The sweetness is hard to detect because of the extremely high acid.

Flavors and drinking experience: grassy, tart, peach, bright

This cider is so bright and tart, it’s almost shocking! The Empire Blanc tastes like green tea, sun-baked hay or dried summer grasses. It’s not funky but it is herbal and grassy. The cider tastes very tart but not astringent. I how how fruity- specifically how filled to the brim with peach notes this cider is.

Acidity is the defining characteristic of the Empire Blanc from it’s initial sizzling taste to it’s lingering brightness. The Empire Blanc doesn’t bring many tannins to the experience, but it has enough mouthfeel from the acid to feel complete. The cider uses a medium intensity of sparkle.  I had this cider with banana pudding and good company. It was a delicious pairing.