Eaglemount Quince

Review of Eaglemount Wine & Cider’s Quince cider.  Note that this is apparently the only commercially-produced Quince cider (although it has been used in low quantities in cider blends).  From the description below it doesn’t appear to be a single varietal, but pretty close.  Here is a cool NY Times article on Eaglemount’s Quince, focusing on the apples, In Praise of the Misunderstood Quince.

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(sorry for the wrinkled label…I guess my fridge is a bit humid!)

Cider:  Quince
Cidery: Eaglemount Wine & Cider
Cidery Location: Port Townsend WA (note they are currently moving the tasting room)
ABV:  8.0%
How Supplied: 750 ml clear glass bottle with a handy flip-top to reseal after popping the metal cap

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Availability:  Very limited release.  Distributed in Seattle WA & Portland OR, a Port Townsend WA area Farmer’s Market, Eaglemount’s tasting room in Port Townsend WA, and Eaglemount’s online store.  They also offer a cider club!

Cider Description:  A one of a kind cider made with Certified Organic Quince and heirloom variety apples.  This unique complex cider has notes of pineapple, grapefruit, honey, and more.  The Quince were grown in Washington’s San Juan Islands. Enjoy this delightful cider with roasted pear salad, light entrees, or as a chilled afternoon cordial by itself or mixed with your favorite spirits.  Our Quince Cider was featured in the New York Times April 2012 in an article on quince. Won Best Specialty Cider in SIP Magazine in 2013.

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(Quince apples, a photo from Eaglemount’s Facebook page)

Cidery Description: We started our winery in 2006 here on the Olympic Peninsula in northwest Washington State.  We own one of the original homesteads in the area and started making wine and then hard cider from the wonderful heirloom apples from our homestead orchard in 1996. Some of the varieties include: Gravenstein, Winter Banana, Jonathan, Roxbury Russet and more. We also have a cider orchard with French and English varieties of cider apples.

They have six cider varieties (Quince, Rhubarb, Ginger, Homestead Semi-Sweet, Homestead Dry, & Boot Brawl), one mead variety (Apple), one Cyser (mead-style cider), and five wine varieties listed on their website (online store), but it appears they have more (at least at their tasting room) from the reviews I’ve read.

Additional Info from Trudy Davis, the vintner at Eaglemount, in Response to My Request:  Our winery is located on an 1883 Homestead that has the original apple trees. These were the foundation for our first ciders. All of our apples come from a 20 mile radius here on the Olympic Peninsula. The quince come from a certified organic orchard in the San Juan Islands. Quince is a hard to describe flavor; honeysuckle, tropical fruit, and grapefruit are some descriptors.

Price:  $20.50
Where Bought:  Full Throttle Bottles in Georgetown area of Seattle WA (I’ve also seen Eaglemount ciders at Special Brews, but not Quince)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing, and I’ve read some reviews.  I’ve had my eye on Eaglemount and was deciding what variety would be best for me to try.  This definitely fit the bill!

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First Impression: Carbonated upon pouring.  Fairly clear yellow amber.  Distinctive scent, which I assume is the Quince apples, with a tropical flair.

Opinion:  Semi-dry, but due to the “sweet” flavors, it comes across a bit sweeter than I think it actually is.  Carbonated mouthfeel.  Very distinctive complex flavor which I agree is difficult to describe.  I definitely pick up tropical aspects, some vanilla & honey, and a touch of an herbal/floral quality.  It has only a slight tartness, and no bitterness, which can be difficult to accomplish with a drier cider.  This is a very well crafted cider–mighty fine!  It drinks more like 5% than 8% ABV; very smooth.  There are also some wine-like qualities to this cider, but not enough to discourage me, which often occurs with wine-like ciders.

Most Similar to: Reverend Nat’s Revival, which also has some tropical aspects to it.  Eaglemount by comparison is slightly less sweet and has a more distinctively complex flavor.

Closing Notes:  Epic cider–highly recommended!  I really enjoy complex ciders like this.  Eaglemount Quince is definitely a treat, worth the higher price tag.  I look forward to trying more of their ciders.  This variety definitely stuck out for me when choosing one, and from what I read, it seems very well received (most posts about Eaglemount seem to mention Quince).  I think I’ve mostly seen their Root Brawl (hopped cider) and Cyser (mead-style cider) around me.

Fun Fact:  Finnriver and Alpenfire are in the same Port Townsend area as Eaglemount; see this cider route map.  Roadtrip anyone?

Postscript:  I wish more craft cideries offered their product in smaller bottles.  For folks like me without someone to share the cider with most of the time (my hubby is more into spirits, beer, & wine), a 750ml bottle of a relatively high ABV cider is a bit much for one sitting.  Also, a smaller bottle would lower the price point.  500ml is a more manageable size.  I made a big dent in emptying the bottle, but had plenty left to drink a second night.  The flip top closure worked fairly well, especially at re-carbonation, and there was very little change in the cider’s flavor (as I’ve had happen before, it mellowed out just a bit).

Have you tried Eaglemount Quince?  What did you think?

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