Monday, October 31, 2022

Cider Review: Absolem Cidery's Ferryman

We’re rounding a corner with this beginning of November. Though Winter doesn’t begin until December 21, for me there’s almost a separate season between November 1st and then. This isn’t the Fall of red leaves, pumpkin spice, and golden apple afternoons. These are the newly longer dark nights of fall and the cozy candle afternoons and time to create comfort with loved ones. For me, it’s nesting season. 

And I am happy to share a very appropriate cider: Absolem Cider’s Ferryman. Somehow my images for this cider have vanished, so please enjoy my journey through the first half of fall instead.

Absolem Cider comes from Maine and this is the first Absolem cider appearance on the blog. Here’s a little about how the folks at Absolem describe themselves and their place. 

Our farmhouse cidery and nascent orchard is located along the western side of the Cobbosseecontee Lake nestled between dense woods, and rolling farmland. A short distance from the neighboring towns of Augusta and Gardiner along the Kennebec River that cuts through the heart of Maine. 

Our rustic 150 year-old barn hosts our small cidery where we produce cider and wine. In addition, our barn doubles as a tasting room space where guests can enjoy our hand-made ciders.

Our orchard is dedicated to growing apples varieties originally grown in Winthrop by visionary orchardists like Icabod Howe, Morris Towle, Bill Reid, and John Bunker.

You can check out Absolem Ciders online here:

Fermented with native yeasts in stainless, macerated on Frontenac Noir grape must, and aged in two Port Wine barrels for 12 months. The skin contact enhances the deep berry flavors embedded in the barrel.7.8% ABV.

Appearance: cloudy, rose gold, bubbly

This cider pours with some bubble. It’s cloudy to the point of being opaque. The color reminds me of rose gold. Everything about it is blushing and foggy in a most appealing way.

Aromas: barrel, apple stems and cores, powdered sugar, hay, booze, strawberry

Wow! What a varied range of intriguing smells. The Ferryman first smells like barrels and wine. That’s certainly the port barrel and grape must coming through. I also get a strong presence of apple stems and cores. Something in the mix gives off strong vibes of tannins. In the background, I get hints of powdered sugar, hay, booze, strawberry, and fermented peach.

It’s a wild array.

Dryness/sweetness: Off Dry

The Ferryman tastes dry but not bone dry.

Flavors and drinking experience: fruity, high tannins, soft acid, gently farmy

I love how the Ferryman’s flavor is intense and bold with just enough acid. What the cider really focuses on is high astringence with nutty tannins. I find the Ferryman very fruity in a peach and strawberry way without being a sweet cider. It tastes like it smells. 

What surprised me is how soft it is in both taste and mouthfeel. This is an impressive feat of texture given how tannic and barrel influenced it is, but it manages to be gentle and bright. I find the Ferryman gently farmy but not phenolic. It’s petillant rather than strongly sparkling. A lot of its complexity of tannins and acids may come from the use of grape must or barrel. This is a delicious cider that’s complex and quietly exuberant. What a treat!