Spring has burst into fullness with an unseasonable run of hot days. It’s disturbing to see temperatures in the high 80s in April, but it’s also amazing to see trees go from twiggy to budding and then blooming in so few days. It finally feels like the season has arrived to drink cider outside, and I couldn’t be happier about that.Today, I chose a cider that I picked out with some help from the cidermaker at the opening day of Ithaca’s Farmers’ Market.
This is Redbyrd Orchard Cyder's 2020 Biodynamic Cloudsplitter Extra Brut. This cidery is a delightful one in my region. I have several earlier reviews for Redbyrd Orchard Cyders. Many include more background on this awesome cidery. Here’s the list.
Tompkins King/Stoke Red (my #6 favorite cider of 2022): http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2022/07/cider-review-redbyrd-orchard-ciders.html
Black is Gold (a collaboration with Black Diamond Cider and my #1 cider of 2021): http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/11/cider-review-black-diamond-farm-and.html
Celeste Sur Lie 2015: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2019/10/redbyrd-orchard-ciders-celeste-sur-lie.html
Their presence at an all FLX pairing dinner: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2017/09/finger-lakes-cider-week-and-birthday.html
The Dry Harvest Cider 2013: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2013/12/cider-review-reddbyrd-2013-harvest-cider.html
The Wild Pippin (my #1 cider of 2014, the Wild Pippin): http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2014/12/cider-review-redbyrd-orchard-ciders.html
You can visit Redbyrd online to learn about all of the ciders and what’s happening at the cidery: https://redbyrdorchardcider.com/
Here’s information on the 2020 Biodynamic Cloudsplitter Extra Brut.
cherry, birch, vanilla, clementine
0.0% residual sugar
champagne style, disgorged in batches of 10 cases
2020 harvest disgorged 9/2022
Certified Biodynamic® by Demeter
porter's perfection, kingston black, liberty, golden russet, ashmead’s kernel, tompkins king, keepsake, nehou,
roxbury russet, dabinett, brown snout, wickson crab,
honeycrisp, goldrush, geneva crab, harry masters jersey,
somerset redstreak, zabergau, baldwin, golden hornet,
redfield, rubinette, zestar, browns’ apple, texas king crab,
NY75, redbyrd bitter, barn hill sharp, gnarled chapman
Grown, Fermented, and Bottled at Redbyrd Orchard.
19 cases produced
The cider has an ABV of 9.3%
Let me just note two things here. First, that’s a fabulous list of apples. Secondly, 19 cases is not a lot of cider! I feel lucky to have just one bottle!
Appearance: active bubbles, warm sandstone color, brilliant
The Cloudsplitter Extra Brut looks so inviting. The color is a warm and intense shade of orange that reminds me of sandstone. The bubbles are multitudinous and active. I can easily see through the cider, even with the bubbles, leading me to calling it brilliant in terms of clarity.
Aromas: applesauce, pears, straw, mellow overripe apple
I love how the Cloudsplitter smells immediately and vividly of applesauce. Ciders with this homey aroma start to win me over immediately. Secondarily, I get notes of pears and straw; it’s a mellow and welcome set of scents.
Dryness/sweetness: Dry, but fruity
This cider is dry, and it has to be dry because of how it is made. Nonetheless, it’s far more fruity than many ciders with a similar level of dryness. The fruit makes it tremendously enticing and friendly.
Flavors and drinking experience: overripe apple, apricot, high acid, high tannins, many bubbles, fruity and concentrated
The Cloudsplitter makes a big first impression with high acidity and also high tannins. The cider dances across my palate with lively miniscule bubbles. Again, I love how it manages to taste so fruity but completely dry. I’m reminded of homemade fruit leather in that all of the Cloudsplitter’s flavors are so concentrated. This cider is a dynamo of apple flavor. My co-taster really captured it when they said that this cider tastes specifically like many types of apple at once. Wow, yes. And on the finish, it’s tremendously elegant: apricots and a hint of honey.
We enjoyed this cider with a veggie fried rice and then beautiful locally created macarons. What a divine taste experience.