Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Cider Review: 1911 Rosé and Virtue Cider's Michigan Apple

Oh, this feels strange! I’m blogging from the past, or you’re reading from the future. I don’t know quite how it works, but when this post goes live, I’ll be enjoying a little bit of vacation. There might even be sunshine and beaches. I don’t have a lot of cider based expectations for this locale, but there will be key lime pie. While that trip is still a dream in the future, I want to write up notes from some cider adventures from the recent past. 

Let’s start with 1911’s Rosé. I’ve had this cider a few times and in a few different incarnations, so this review feels long overdue. 

For a bit of background, 1911 has been a finger lakes cider producer for many years, but they have become a much larger regional player since 2013 or so. The cider is produced in Lafayette, New York. 

Visit the company online to learn more: https://1911established.com/product-type/hard-cider/

Here are my earlier 1911 reviews. 

Tropical: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/06/cider-cans-crush-it-1911-tropical-cider.html

Founder’s Reserve Hopped: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/09/cider-review-1911s-founders-reserve.html

And long ago the Somerset Original: https://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/06/cider-review-beak-and-skiffs-1911.html

And here’s how 1911 describes their cider, “1911 Rosé is a blush-hued, fuller bodied version of our original hard cider. Delicate floral and crisp apple notes make this effervescent hard cider an easy-drinking favorite for all seasons. semi-sweet, lightly carbonated.” 6.7% ABV. 

On the sweetness scale, this cider is rated as a 4 out of 6, so I’m expecting a sweet cider.

My notes come from my last visit to their tasting room when my dad visited this past June. 

Appearance: barely peachy, brilliant, bubbly 

This Rosé cider is barely pink. The color is more like peach fuzz. It’s brilliant and bubbly when poured out of the can. Apologies for not having a picture of the poured cider; the color didn't really show in the context of the tasting room and small sample. 

Aromas: stone, dust, sweet, sugared fruit

The Rosé smells dusty and sweet. I often get a note in ciders from this region that reminds me of dusty stones or wet stones, and this cider definitely shows this regional character. I also get bits of sugared fruit and sweetness.

Sweetness/dryness: Sweet!

This is one for the sweet tooth cider lovers out there! It has some tartness but it’s primarily sweet. 

Flavors and drinking experience: burnt sugar, floral, red grapes 

People often tend to think associatively about Rosé. It brings to mind pink or red fruits, red flowers, and other red foods, but I didn’t experience that as much this time. I’ve been making a concerted effort to taste the cider with my eyes closed. 

This sweet cider reminds me almost of a soda or spritzer with its balance of body, sweetness, sparkle and acidity! There’s a caramel note as well as gently burnt sugar. I appreciate that this cider brings tartness and a lively light body with plenty of bubbles. These things keep the sweetness under control. 

While I most recently had this as part of a tasting, I’ve previously had this cider with fabulous veggie heavy club sandwiches and kettle chips. I recommend that, but I think this would also be good with a fish fry.

Virtue Cider’s Michigan Apple

My next review is Virtue’s Michigan Apple. This cider was shared with me for review, and I hosted a few friends for a combo of group tasting and winter game night. Many thanks to Alex, Woody, and Rachel for their contributions! 

I’ve had several Virtue ciders before. Here’s the list. 

Brut: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2020/02/cider-review-citizen-ciders-tree-tapper.html

The Mitten Reserve: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2018/03/cider-review-whitewood-cider-cos-olivia.html

Percheron: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/10/cider-review-virtue-ciders-percheron.html

Ledbury: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/02/cider-review-roundup-virtue-slyboro.html

The Mitten: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/05/cider-review-virtue-ciders-mitten-and.html

Red Streak: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/06/trying-virtue-and-olivers-ciders-at.html

Virtue calls this cider a year-round flagship. Here’s the rest of the description.
We use all sorts of Michigan apples grown on local family farms. The blend of these heirloom apples creates a complexity of flavor impossible to achieve with just a few varieties. Michigan Apple is a blend of cider from last year's harvest aged in French oak barrels, and freshly pressed apples. 
Our semi-dry cider is made from heirloom Michigan apples, then blended with hand-pressed juice from this year's harvest. The final cider offers the scent of ripe apples, a hint of oak, and a touch of sweetness 
TASTING NOTES:Michigan Apple is crisp and tart, starting with the scent of the orchard, a hint of oak, and finishing with a touch of sweetness. 
FOOD PAIRING:This cider is approachable and very food-friendly. Try pairing with cheddar, grilled cheese, roast chicken, or prosciutto.
Michigan Apple 5.5%

Appearance: foamy head, brilliant, pale straw

This cider pours with tons of mousse and foam! It did go away but not as quickly as most ciders. I was surprised. The color is pale straw, and the Michigan apple is brilliant and bubbly.

Aromas: citrus, dusty, stony, mild pear and pineapple, mineral

The Michigan apple doesn’t overwhelm with fruit aromas. It smells like minerals, dust and stones. I do get hints of citrus and bits of pear and pineapple.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-sweet

This is a semi-sweet cider with medium acidity. I know some folks find most American ciders too tart and acidic; this is one for those folks to try!

Flavors and drinking experience: concord grape, overripe apples, light funk, mild barrel

The Michigan apple reminds me of both overripe apples and intense concord grapes. The notes feel low in the mouth and the cider has a very rich body that’s thick and almost syrupy. The acidity strikes me as medium and this is not a tannic cider. It’s very sessionable and approachable for fans of this profile. There’s some funk and barrel presence but not an overpowering amount. 

Virtue began by making very very wild and funky ciders, but this is one that will please a lot of folks who have never tried regional ciders before. 

I paired this with cheese, laughter, and a fun new board game. These are all recommendations I’ll make happily!