Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Cider Review: Tilted Shed Ciderworks Lost Orchard and Ploughman Cider's Dornick

Cider is a global community. I love to keep things focused on cider in a fun and personal way here, but I was urged by a local cidermaker to bring up a thorny and significant issue this week. Thank you, Simon, for encouraging me to communicate about something that could affect all of us in the global cider community. It’s the upcoming potential wine tariff that could affect importers (many of whom import cider as well as wine), distributors, bottle shops, restaurants, and cider drinkers. 

Here are a couple of links,so readers can educate themselves about the threatened 100% tariff increase.

Thanks for your patience! On to the cider reviews!

Tilted Shed Ciderwork's Lost Orchard

I have only two previous reviews of anything by Tilted Shed. Now that I’ve joined the cider club, I will have a lot more Tilted Shed to taste and review! Here’s what I’ve tried in years past. 

Barred Rock Barrel Aged Cider:

January Barbecue Smoked Cider:

You can learn more about the company in my previous reviews or check out Tilted Shed online:

Here’s how Titled Shed officially introduces this cider:
In 1987, a couple planted an apple orchard along the Russian River with the dream of making traditional cider. But with the rise of wine, the timing was wrong, so the couple abandoned the orchard and moved away. In 2011, we found our way to this lost orchard, the Kingston Black, Nehou, Golden Russet, Roxbury Russet, Porter’s Perfection, Yarlington Mill, wild apples, quince, and mystery pears enveloped in poison oak and blackberry brambles, wild boar feasting on the drops. Since then, we have worked to revive this feral idyll while harvesting and fermenting its fruit. This cider expresses a sense of place with notes of savory herbs and orchard floor, and an earthy depth synonymous with Sonoma County. This is our 8th “vintage” of Lost Orchard. Unfined, unfiltered, unpasteurized, minimal sulfites. 8% ABVAlcohol 8.00%

Appearance: Deep butterscotch color, brilliant, some visible bubbles

This is a lovely cider and it looks so different than most American ciders with its deep, rich color. I love seeing that heavy butterscotch saturation in a cider. Its brilliant with some visible bubbles as well.

Aromas: Leather, peaches, wet leaves, pepper

This cider  smells very much like some English ciders I’ve enjoyed. The Lost Orchard spills over with aroma notes like leather, peach, wet leaves, and black pepper. It makes me think of wet and autumnal scenes that just beg for a fireplace and a Chesterfield sofa.

Sweetness/dryness: Dry

Though the label doesn’t focus on this, or even mention it explicitly, the Lost Orchard is a dry cider. This cider isn’t just dry though; there’s a lot more going on. 

Flavors and drinking experience: tannic, high acid, wild, sour

The Lost Orchard tastes highly tannic which works in conjunction with the cider’s dryness to create a relatively austere and structured drink. This cider powers much of its flavor through blisteringly high acidity. I love what strong salivary reaction just sniffing this cider creates!

In terms of flavors, the Lost Orchard is wild. It tastes both sour and astringent. It’s fruity but also has notes of wine, tea, and acetic acid. The wildness adds zest and the bubbles keep the whole experience light and quick. It was a perfect pairing for veggie heavy pesto pizza!

Ploughman Cider’s Dornick

I was able to pick up a few ciders on my way home from Harrisburg at the PA Farm Show competition, and I was thrilled to see some Ploughman Ciders. This is only my second review of the brand.

Pinot N’arlet:

Ploughman Cider comes from Adams County in Pennsylvania. The cidery is affiliated with Three Springs Fruit Farm. I love how the website describes the Ploughman approach to making cider. 

Here at Ploughman, we embrace the "frontier" mentality – an eagerness to try new things, but always with authenticity to quality. We are not purists, but we will never cut corners and never use engineered essences, flavors, or artificial nonsense. Our eagerness to experiment with new things is almost completely farm based – we use whatever is exceptional and abundant at Three Springs Fruit Farm on any given year.

Visit the Ploughman Cider website to read about all the ciders:

Here’s the official description of the Dornick.

AMERICAN DRY CIDERWe're proud of Adams County, PA, where we live and make our ciders. In each bottle we share some of its terroir with you. The term Dornick evokes a stony, pebbly quality – like the limestone and fractured white quartz under the apple trees of our home orchards. The stones emerge under the trees each spring when the snow melts. This cider, born of bold, robust apples, offers aromas of strawberry, butterscotch, and autumn leaves. We let the cider emerge in its own time from the land when it is ready. Full and satisfying, and unique every year.
8.5% ALC./VOL. 
(note, the bottle I purchased lists a different and lower ABV of 7.3%.)

Appearance: hazy, moon glow, bubbly

This cider is so very active to watch. I can see many miniscule bubbles just tripping upwards. The cider has a softly hazy glow which adds to its cool moonlight tone. 

Aromas: funky, overripe apples, acetate, twigs, and leather

Whoa. I got two fabulous ciders with leather and overripe apple aromas in one week. I’m treating myself too well! The Dornick brings all kinds of tempting scents to the glass. This cider smells pleasingly funky, twiggy, and tart.

Dryness/sweetness: Dry

Exactly as promised, this is a dry cider! I love it when that happens.

Flavors and drinking experience: creamy, high acid, woody, funky

The Dornick certainly has a lot going on. This dry cider tastes creamy, yet offers high acidity. I think the higher than average ABV is allowing a full mouthfeel in addition to hopping zingy tartness. The cider tastes woody, buttery, and smoky. I could imagine pairing the Dornick with smoked salmon, a high intensity cheese tray, or a hearty winter stew. 

I appreciate this cider’s grainy funky finish. The Dornick is a fun trip from start to finish. I appreciate it’s body and its wildness very much!