Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Cider Reviews: Black Diamond's Golden Russet/Porter’s Perfection & Coyote Hole's Sangria + Cider Week VA

We’re approaching Halloween quickly and mornings are already dark. We’ve entered the real stuff of Fall. This season has features I adore, but I dread shorter days and the days of blustery cold rain. But there are foods, events, and ciders that can remedy the dark chills, and I enjoyed both food and fun with cider this week. Here’s what I tried. 

Black Diamond is one of the anchoring cideries of the Finger Lakes. Not just because the cider is consistently high quality, but because the Black Diamond Orchard and Fruit that has been part of our local farmer’s market for a couple of decades now. And because the founder Ian Merwin is a Professor Emeritus of Pomology at Cornell!

Learn about all of the ciders online by visiting Black Diamond Cider's website: https://www.blackdiamondcider.com

I have many earlier reviews of Black Diamond ciders. Many of these include more background info about the cidery. I encourage you to check them out.  

Somerset Jersey: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/05/very-perry-may-with-vandermills-ice-ice.html

Geneva Tremlett’s: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/03/cider-review-black-diamonds-geneva.html


Solstice: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/08/cider-review-black-diamonds-solstice.html


Porter’s Pommeau at the 2017 Locavore pairing dinner:

Rabblerouser: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/09/cider-review-black-diamonds.html

Now for the Golden Russet/Porter’s Perfection!

This is the official description from Black Diamond. 
Golden Russet and Porter’s Perfection are heritage cider apples originating from western New York and southwest England (respectively) in the late 1800s.  Each of these varieties was fermented in a single barrel and then blended to make this varietal duet.  Golden Russet lends its crisp acidity and ginger bite, while Porter’s Perfection provides tannic structure and depth of finish.
Tasting Notes:  Soft lingering tannins, bright acidity and notes of ginger, citrus and mangoes. 
Alcohol: 8.0%  Residual Sugar: 0% (Dry)  TA:  6.9 g/L  Total Tannins:  817ppm
Porter’s Perfection  – 50%             Golden Russet – 50%

Appearance: pumpkin, brilliant, bubbly

The Golden Russet/Porter’s Perfection reminds me of pumpkins in terms of color. The cider is brilliant and obviously bubbly. I know one cannot judge a book by it’s cover, but what I’m seeing here bodes well for the sort of cider I enjoy. 

Aromas: Mango, applesauce, minerals

Like many Black Diamond ciders, the Golden Russet/Porter’s Perfection brings tons of aroma. I could smell it just as soon as I opened the bottle. Most immediately, this ciders wafts up nots of mango and applesauce. There’s a lot of fruit going on, but I also smell what I associate with rocky minerality.

Sweetness/dryness: Dry

Though this cider is fruity with tons of flavor and body, none of it comes from sweetness. This is a dry cider!

Flavors and drinking experience: tannic, mild bitterness, fruity

I have to start by saying that this is a lovely and well balanced cider! I am completely enthused about it. The part I love the most is how very grippy these tannins are! Secondarily, it’s gotta be the sparkle; this cider brings lots of bubbles to the party. The Golden Russet/Porter’s Perfection has all the minerality and astringence I hoped for.

I paired my glass of Golden Russet/Porter’s Perfection with pasta covered in Sunday sauce, garlic bread and a green salad with maple vinaigrette. Try this at home!

Though I cannot make it out, I’m very excited for folks who will get to participate in Virginia’s Cider Week this year!  

Read about all of the events here: https://ciderweekva.com/events/

I’m reviewing cider by a cidery that’s hosting one of the most inventive cider week activities I’ve ever seen. I admit it; I’m a little jealous. The event is Comedy and Cider at Coyote Hole Ciderworks. It’s happening Friday November 15th at 8pm. There’s a comedy tour hitting brewery’s all over the country, but for Virginia Cider week, they are performing at a cidery, and that’s wonderful. My soft spot for comedy runs to sketch and improv (thank you forever Pittsburgh FNI), but I think the combination of fun approachable ciders and lots of laughs just sounds like a great time. 

Visit online and find out more: http://www.coyotehole.com.

My next review is Coyote Hole Ciderworks’ Sangria. Full disclosure, this cider was shared with me for review. This is my first contact with Coyote Hole Ciderworks; the company is based in Mineral, Virginia. The cidery focuses on using Virginia apples and making very inventive ciders that aim to please, including seasonal and limited releases.

The official description of the Coyote Hole Ciderworks’ Sangria reads,
Green apple cider sangria.
Coyote Hole Sangria is a unique cider based sangria with a base of our Oma Smith's green apple hard cider. It is blended with rosé wine and cran-mango juice making it a wonderful year-round cider for any occasion.
Sweetness: Five apples 
ABV: 5.6%

Appearance: coral, brilliant, no visible bubbles

I expected this cider to look more reddish based on the ingredients, name, and packaging, but what I see is lovely. The color looks like a soft coral; it’s totally brilliant. I didn’t see any bubbles but that doesn’t mean it won’t be sparkling!

Aromas: fruity, kiwi, peach, mango, apricot

The Sangria smells like kiwi, peach, mango, and apricot. It’s so intensely fruity. My co-tasters recognized notes of guava and a ton of tropical fruit flavor. Besides fruit we could smell some perfumed floral notes as well.

Sweetness/dryness: Sweet

This is a sweet cider! Now I know what listing five apples of sweetness means on the website. 

Flavors and drinking experience: green apple, peach schnapps, full mouthfeel

This cider does remind me of sangria. It has a very full, thick mouthfeel and plenty of sweet fruitiness.  Some of the flavors remind me of peach schnapps green apple. It has plenty of acidity, but it still feels heavy in body. That’s almost certainly due to sweetness.

This cider is very bubbly, which helps lighten the mouthfeel and cut the sweetness. We shared this with an over the top Vincent Price movie (Theater of Blood!) and salty popcorn! I’m sure this cider does very well in the Coyote Hole tasting room, and salty snacks are a great combo for it!