Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Cider Review: Snow Capped Cider Harrison Reserve

It was lovely to travel to Harrisburg and judge cider once again, but I will not be revealing any results from that competition for some time. Things must remain under wraps until the PA Farm Show in January. And in the meantime, some very exciting cider arrived for me. 

I was so happy to get some very special releases from Snow Capped Cider. I’ve only ever had the chance to sample sips from GLINTCAP bottles. I did have the pleasure of sitting with Kari Williams during the awards ceremony and learning about the orchards and history of Snow Capped Cider. The cidery has grown out of the Williams Family Orchards for five generations in Colorado. Ty and Kari brought cider to the extensive farm operations in 2014. I love how the cidery is described in relation to its geography on the Snow Capped Cider website. 

Williams Family orchards are located at the bottom of Grand Mesa in the beautiful Surface Creek Valley of Colorado’s Western Slope. At an elevation of 6130 feet, we are one of the highest elevation orchards in the world. The high elevation, warm days, and cool nights capture the crisp taste of Colorado, producing a clean, and balanced cider. 

I am so curious about what the Harrison will be like. There's a lot of cachet in single-varietal ciders and plenty of mystique about this particular storied apple. Plus this cider won the Best-In-Class gold at GLINTCAP in the Heritage Sweet category.

Here’s how Snow Capped Cider describes the Harrison on the bottle. 

America's most famous 18th century cider making apple was nearly lost to extinction and revived in 1976. This apple has earned its bragging rights from modern cider making to our past presidents. The straightforward flavors as a single varietal are presented with smooth juicy apple, slight sweetness, noteworthy orange peel, small hints of earthy spice and lingering touches of lemon ginger Medium body boasts soft tannin with a finish delivered on a light golden hue. We hope you will enjoy our interpretation of historic Harrison as much as we do! Made with 100% Harrison apples with special thanks to Cider View Orchard, WA. 6.5% ABV

Appearance: brilliant, bubbly, pale straw

This cider shines! When first poured, there’s a lively mousse, but it doesn’t stick around. The color is delicate and subtle: just a hint of pale barely golden straw. I love seeing all these bubbles.

Aromas: cherries, overripe apples, peaches, minerals

My anticipation for this cider was high, but when I got a scent from it that anticipation sky-rocketed! This cider was bubbling with notes of  wam overripe apples, cherries, peaches, and minerals. At the same time it smells like toasted bread crumbs. I cannot wait to taste this.

Dryness/Sweetness: Semi-sweet

This is a beautifully semi-sweet cider. The sweetness is fully incorporated into the beverage and comes across as entirely natural.

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, peaches, intense, clean, fruity 

This semi-sweet cider is brimming over with natural fruity flavor. The Harrison’s high acid works with the cider’s sweetness to keep things tart and lively rather than thick or syrupy. The cider’s flavors are intense and concentrated and beautifully clean. As I sip the cider again, peaches and other stone fruits like apricot grow in the flavor landscape. I love how charming and sophisticated this cider is. 

The cider has a full body, a low but present level gentle tannins, and enticing sparkle. The whole experience is beautifully balanced. I’m so happy to finally get to review a Snow Capped Cider, and the Harrison is certainly a winner.