Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Redbyrd Orchard Cider's Celeste Sur Lie 2015 and Ciders of Spain Wild fermented Pretty Dry Perry

I write from a cool gray evening in my living room, even though I should be out looking to see what FLX Cider Week has on offer. There’s fun to be had, but writing calls. I don’t intend to spend every evening this way though. We are still in the early days Finger Lakes Cider Week, so please check out what events are yet to come here:


Obviously, there’s fantastic variety, but I will say with moderate bias, come to The Watershed in downtown Ithaca this Thursday.  The event is Basics of Cider Tasting with Meredith Collins (that’s me). It’s totally free and requires no reservations or tickets!

Check out all of the details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/704691016703741/

Redbyrd Orchard Cider is based in Trumansburg, New York on a small farm run by Eric Shatt and Deva Mass.

Redbyrd Orchard Cider has been part of the blog since I moved to the Finger Lakes in 2013. My previous reviews of Redbyrd Orchard Ciders include:

The Andromeda Crab: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/01/cider-review-redbyrd-orchard-ciders.html

Their presence at an all FLX pairing dinner: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/09/finger-lakes-cider-week-and-birthday.html

The North Star: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/01/cider-review-redbyrd-orchard-ciders.html

The Starblossom: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/10/finger-lakes-cider-week-special-review.html

The Dry Harvest Cider 2013: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/12/cider-review-reddbyrd-2013-harvest-cider.html

The Wild Pippin (my #1 cider of 2014, the Wild Pippin): http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/12/cider-review-redbyrd-orchard-ciders.html

You can also visit Redbyrd Orchard Cider online, here: https://redbyrdorchardcider.com/

I want to keep the Finger Lakes Cider Week excitement going by starting with Redbyrd Orchard Cider's Celeste Sur Lie 2015.

Here’s the official description, “An elegant cider for celebration, made in the traditional style and disgorged after aging on bottle lees for over 24 months, giving you a beautiful helix of endless soft bubbles in your glass and a creamy buttery mouthfeel. 0.0% residual sugar, 10.5% alcohol/volume. Release date- May 2018 ongoing (disgorged in groups of 10 cases),  44 cases produced” 

Appearance: medium straw, brilliant, a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass

When poured, it’s totally obvious that this cider underwent a secondary fermentation in the bottle. The fizz is active, but the bubbles are tremendously fine and small. I’ll call the color medium straw and the clarity brilliant. 

Aromas: bready, buttery, lots of aroma

This smells so much like toasted bread crumbs! I also get clean fermented apple notes and some champagne-like minerality. 

Sweetness/Dryness: Dry!

This is a bracingly dry cider. The Celeste Sur Lie maintains lots of excitement and fruitiness even so.

Flavors and drinking experience: yeasty, high acid, lingering finish

This cider is so filled to the brim with zesty acid! I love how bright the Celeste Sur Lie tastes. I get fruit notes like overripe apples, seville orange, and pineapple. I’ll think of the acidity as bracing and very true to the regional style. It gets a ton of flavor and structure from both of its fermentations because it’s clean but yeasty. The finish is luxurious and lengthy. 

I’ve tasted this cider a few times. I had it at Cider Con as part of the Heritage cider track, and I’ve tasted it at my own table and others around town. My favorite pairing with this cider has to be a very local caprese salad. The cutting acidity works beautifully with umami rich seasonal tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and olive oil. Yummy beyond belief.

Next up I’ll tackle Ciders of Spain’s Wild Fermented Pretty Dry Perry.

This is my first perry by Ciders of Spain, but not the first imported by them. They are the company that brought me my first spanish perry.

Viuda De Angelon Pera: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/05/very-perry-may-pt-4-argus-viuda-de.html

Visit the website to learn more about Ciders of Spain: http://cidersofspain.com/

Here’s what Ciders of Spain says about the Pretty Dry Perry:
CIDER MAKER: Francisco Ordoñez
alc./vol. 5.5%, 12 oz. 
Viuda de Angelón is the first Spanish producer to make traditional Asturian home-style perry widely available. Cider Maker Fran Ordoñez finishes his wild yeast (spontaneously fermented by native ambient yeasts) pear juice with a second fermentation for a natural sparkle and balances pear tannins with the sweetness of modest residual sugar and naturally occurring sorbitol. His perry starts sweet and finishes nicely acidic.
So this is actually made by the same producer that made my first ever spanish perry from a few years ago! 

Appearance: hazy, no visible bubbles, flaxen yellow

This is a lovely perry with a nice ripened flax yellow color, just a hint of haze, and no visible bubbles. Lots and lots of perries are nearly colorless, so please consider this tone intense by perry standards.

Aromas: not much aroma, tart, peaches, fresh apples

The Pretty Dry Perry smells mildly. It’s aromas aren’t strong, but there’s still a gentle drift of volatile acidity, not a ton though. It also smells like fresh apples and peaches. These aromas seem mostly from fermentation.

Dryness/sweetness: semi-sweet

I would not call this pretty dry. This is a semi-sweet perry.  I know that sorbitol is a type of sugar that does not ferment out, thus even a fully fermented perry could taste a little sweet. This isn’t that though. 

Flavors and drinking experience: pears, apples, petillant, mild phenols 

Though this cider smells extremely tart and  just a bit bleachy, it comes across entirely differently on the palate. I can detect what I smelled as peaches and tart stone fruit, but it tastes more like fresh pear and apple sweetness. I would not have called it perry if I'd not known it was made from pears rather than apples.  

The taste just keeps surprising me with how much sweeter and less acidic it is than I’d expected based on its aromas. The level of sparkle is petillant, but only gently so. It would be safe to call this a nearly-still semi-sweet perry. This is really quite a surprise from the aroma (which is more like a spanish cider).  I get some phenolic olive brine aftertaste. The perry is a little tannic and leathery.  I enjoy the orange, apple, and pear flavors. This perry is back sweetened with unfermented pear juice, and that element comes across the most clearly.