Monday, May 9, 2022

Cider Review: Chatter Creek Ashmead's Kernel

I often long to know what’s happening in other parts of the cider world. I could drink just finger lakes cider and still find enough good cider to keep me busy, but I love trying cider from other apples, styles, and regions. That’s why I joined the NW Cider Club and that’s how I got today’s cider: Chatter Creek’s Ashmead’s Kernel.

Here’s where you can learn more about the Northwest Cider Club:

This is my first ever review of anything by Chatter Creek. This cidery is based out of Washington state. When reading on the website, I really like how the cidery presents founder Gordon Rawson’s point of view on cider making and the goals of Chatter Creek. 

Gordon knows cider is essentially a wine made from apples. In 2015 he decided to return to his roots and apply his considerable winemaking experience to making fine ciders using Washington state apples and the finest whole ingredients.

At Chatter Creek, we apply a wine maker’s sensibility to the crafting of contemporary ciders.

Whether the cider is an all apple Heritage cider or a spice infused modern cider, we strive for the complete experience of aroma, structure, length and finish.

Visit Cider Creek’s website to learn more: I recommend reading the whole “About” page.

Here’s how Chatter Creek describes this cider. 

Ashmead's Kernel, Bitter Sharp Cider

An old world apple discovered in the 18th Century, Ashmead’s Kernel originated in Gloucestershire, England and has been delighting cider makers ever since. Our varietal ciders are custom pressed from Washington grown apples and slowly fermented to retain their beautiful aromas, bright mouth feel and lasting finish. We have kept this cider off-dry to maintain the fruit’s natural brightness and food friendly character. Chatter Creek’s Ashmead’s Kernel is the perfect pairing with shellfish, grilled halibut or any hot and spicy delicacy. ABV 9.5%, rs 5g/l, CO2 2.0 volumes

9.5% ABV! Noted! And a single-varietal. My curiosity is piqued!

Appearance: pale straw, brilliant, bubbly 

The Ashmead’s Kernel is a pale straw color that’s a cool enough shade of taupe to almost veer green. This cider looks absolutely true to the type of a North American cider, but since this is a single varietal English cider, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It’s  also brilliant and bubbly!

Aromas: rich mellow overripe apple, floral

What a rich and lovely set of aromas. Chatter Creek’s Ashmead’s Kernel smells like overripe apples, white flowers, and peach. I also get wafts of Elderflower and lots of apple just again and again. There’s a bounty of rich pleasure to be had in these scents. 

Dryness/sweetness: Off dry

Ashmead’s Kernel has so much going on that it’s a little difficult to tease out the level of sweetness in the cider. There’s definitely some there, but the fruitiness of the cider isn’t necessarily coming from the sweetness; there’s more to it than that.

Flavors and drinking experience: high tannins, high acid, peach, rice, white pepper

I enjoy this cider; it’s welcoming, dynamic, and wonderful. The Ashmead’s Kernel starts off peachy, with high acidity and high tannins. At the same time, this cider is also full of body and lightened by intense sparkle. I found the mid-palate is nutty and grainy almost like oatmeal, rice, or barley. The finish was practically vibrating with crabapple flavor; it’s all fruit acid and white pepper.

This is a tremendously lovely single varietal. Each sip is a journey. I had mine after a dinner of grilled grouper tacos, but I think they would have gone beautifully together.