Monday, January 30, 2023

Cider Review: Tilted Shed Ciderworks' 2019 Echolocation

I’ve seen the sun twice this week, and I’ve recovered from Covid. You know mostly recovered in that I’m testing negative and able to go about my business. My congestion isn’t fully gone, and I’m returning to life slowly and carefully. That just seems the safest and comfiest option. That means that this set of notes is another one I took a while ago, and I’ve saved for a rainy day. Hopefully, there won’t be too many more rainy days before I can replenish these! But until then, I’m happy to share my thoughts on Tilted Shed Ciderworks 2019 Echolocation.

Tilted Shed Ciderworks has appeared on this blog regularly, so I’ll refer readers to earlier reviews for more background information on this orchard-based California Cidery.  What I will share again is that the cidery is based in Sonoma County California, where it was founded in 20111 by Ellen Cavalli and her husband Scott Heath. The cider releases are small and highly individualized, so if you’re curious about what Tilted Shed is releasing, the best way to have access is the cider club.

Find out more background in these earlier reviews.

Wickson (my #9 cider of 2021) :


Love's Labor (my 2nd favorite cider of 2020):

Lost Orchard:

Barred Rock Barrel Aged Cider:

January Barbecue Smoked Cider:

And you can learn all about what’s happening at Tilted Shed Ciderworks on the website:

I obtained this cider as part of the Tilted Shed Cider Club. Here’s what the Harvest newsletter said about it. 

2019 Echolocation    A coferment of 70% Asian pear varieties (Hosui, Shinseki, and Shinko) from Sebastopol’s Gabriel Farm and 30% Roxbury Russet from Murray Ranch on Sonoma Mountain. This was our first time working with these delightful pear varieties, and we think it turned out really well! Straw gold, with a aromatics of pear skin and just a whiff of marjoram; vivacious acidity with notes of pear and a touch of honeydew melon. I dig it, and the more I drink it, the more I find it rather beguiling. I think it’ll be a great cider for pearing...haha, I mean, pairing with a wide range of foods. Let me know what you think! PS You might be wondering where the name “Echolocation” comes from. Well, when I conceived of the art for this label, I drew four nested concentric circles representing the four types of pome fruit that go into this blend. I asked Scott to paint it for me (I cannot paint!) and when he showed me the finished art, it immediately reminded me of the radarlike imagery of echolocation—that is, the way creatures such as dolphins and bats navigate using sound instead of sight. Hence, the name. I think it is apropos as it shows how we are navigating our way through our cidermaking journey by using all our senses.

Appearance: intense aconite yellow, cloudy, few bubbles

The color of this cider is intense and joyful. It reminds me of Winter Aconite, one of the first flowers we’ll see in upstate New York. The cider is cloudy rather than clear or hazy, and it poured with a bit of a mousse. After a few moments, I can still see just a few isolated bubbles, but I still anticipate some sparkle

Aromas: Dust, red grapes, cantaloupe, apricot

The Echocolation smells rich and exciting like mineral dust, red grapes, cantaloupe, and apricot. I love the concentrated intensity of these aromas. It's tremendously inviting.

Sweetness/dryness: Dry!

Yes! Another dry one. I’m always curious about perceived sweetness when dealing with a perry because of the varying levels of sorbitol in pears. This is a conclusively dry pear and apple blend. 

Flavors and drinking experience: high acid, floral, astringent, honey, ripe apple  

What a lovely and complex treat! Echolocation taste dry and yet like floral honey and fusel oil. The pear cider offers a long ripe apple finish and strong bubbles. The flavors are wild and intense and communicate while remaining fully dry. The cider creates an astringent experience that feels almost cottony in my mouth. The mid-palate’s bitterness slightly recalls wonderfully fresh red pepper. The overall effect varies between spring flowers and summer vegetables. It’s a wonderful vacation from a cold gray day and it has woken up my taste buds with amazing vibrance.