Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Cider Review: South Hill Cider's Packbasket '15

We have a new president, and we’re closing in on the end of January! These are two great reasons to look deep into your cellar and pick out something you’ve been holding on to for a while. That’s exactly what I did when I pulled out a cider from 2015 for a weeknight dinner recently. You don’t need a special occasion to open up a bottle with some age on it. 

I chose my South Hill Cider Packbasket from 2015. I remember buying this cider years ago from my favorite downtown bottle shop in Ithaca: The Cellar D’Or. I bought a couple because I liked the cider plenty and expected it to age well. This past week, I got to test that theory.

South Hill Cider is right in my backyard. This Ithaca cidery creates cider in a range of styles. The cidery has an orchard, purchases heirloom apples from nearby farms, and creates ciders with foraged apples. Cider maker Steve Selin coaxes a fabulous array of flavors while refraining from adjunct fruits or other flavors. South Hill Ciders is all about apples. 

I've had the pleasure of reviewing many ciders from South Hill Cider. Here’s the list.

Tasting Room Flight including: Baldwin, Russet Dabinett, Old Time ‘17, Bluegrass Russet ‘17, and Pommeau: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/09/south-hill-ciders-tasting-room-and.html

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

Prelude #7: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/07/cider-review-aeppeltreow-scarlett-rosey.html

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

Finger Lakes Cider pairing dinner: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/09/finger-lakes-cider-week-and-birthday.html

My top cider of 2016, Stone Fence Farm: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/08/cider-review-south-hill-ciders-stone.html

2014 Packbasket: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2016/04/cider-review-south-hill-ciders-2014.html

And my first review for them was the hyper-limited Hypothesis: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2015/05/cider-review-south-hill-ciders.html

Here’s South Hill Cider’s official description of the Packbasket.

Dry. Naturally Sparkling. 100% wild seedling apples germinated at the edges of pastures along fence lines that are barely noticeable today. Gathered by hand in the hedgerows and forests of the Finger Lakes, primarily around Ithaca, NY. The trees are often far enough from the road that they must be hauled out on our backs, hence the name Packbasket. The epitome of terroir, bringing the expression of an exact time and place into the glass. Naturally sparkling. Undisgorged.

Tasting Notes: Fresh stone fruit, mineral, citrus, pomegranate. Wine-like and chaulky with a dry and cleansing finish.

Alcohol 8.30%

Appearance: transparent to hazy, plentiful bubbles, intense apricot color

This undisgorged cider pours differently glass to glass. The first was transparent, but each subsequent glass had more sediment, making the cider more hazy. I’m hopeful that my pictures capture that. I love the intensity of color. The shade reminds me of fresh apricots. I can see so many bubbles; I know this one is going to be sparkling! 

Aromas: applesauce, golden raisins, peaches, tart cherries

The Packbasket smells like applesauce, golden raisins, tart cherries and peaches. I love the stone fruit notes. The aromas make my mouth water with their immediacy and power. My nose doesn’t have to be in the glass for these aromas to reach me.

Dryness/sweetness: Dry

This is a hugely flavorful dry cider. Keep reading to find out more.

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, medium tannins, delicate funk, many bubbles

The 2015 Packbasket brings wonderful intensity, complexity, and balance to the drinking experience. The cider has sharp minerality, off the chart acidity, and some tannins. It can support all of these being pronounced because the balance one another. 

I love the bubbles, and the Packbasket’s delicate funky tartness. This cider has aged beautifully.

The acid has mellowed over the years in the bottle. The beautiful fruit fruit notes taste more dried and rich rather than fresh or juicy. The spices and fruit linger in a long finish.

We had this with a green bean stir fry with egg, and it brightened the meal delightfully!