Eden Sparkling Semi-Dry

Review of Eden Ice Cider’s Sparkling Semi-Dry cider.  This is made using the traditional labor-intensive methode champenoise, which makes naturally sparkling cider.  I previously tried Eden’s Sparkling Dry cider, and this is described as the same cider (although made with different apple varieties) with a bit of their ice cider to add some additional sweetness (which also adds an additional 1% ABV).

I sampled this cider on New Year’s Eve, and it unfortunately turned out to be a poorly sealed bottle whose taste wasn’t as intended, and Eleanor at Eden was awesome enough to send me a sample bottle to replace it (and two ice ciders to review!).  Cider from the original bottle was nearly flat, and was on the dry, funky, and sour side….the cap must have been sealed enough so it wouldn’t leak, but allowed for air transfer.

>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Eden Ice Cider.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

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Cider:  Sparkling Semi-Dry
Cidery:  Eden Ice Cider
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  9.5%
How Supplied:  375ml or 750ml capped champagne bottle
Style:  American methode champenoise sparkling cider

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Availability: At least in AK, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, IL, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, SC, VT, WA, British Columbia.  Eden also offers online sales when allowed by state.

Cider Description: Eden Sparkling Ciders are made with locally grown apples. We use the same blend of traditional and heirloom apples that we use for our ice ciders, and then add classic Bittersweet cider varieties. True cider variety apples are sweeter and have much more tannin than eating apples.  They are pretty awful to eat so you won’t ever find them in a grocery store.   The Sparkling Dry is made with Kingston Black.  The Sparkling Semi-Dry is made with Dabinett and Yarlington Mill.

The cider is fermented and aged in French oak puncheons for a year, the bottles with a secondary fermentation that is created with additional juice rather than sugar.  After another 6 months each bottle is hand-disgorged in a careful process and removes the yeast but retains the vibrant natural effervescence of the in-bottle fermentation.  For our Semi-Dry, we add in a little bit of our ice cider for sweetness.

Eden Sparkling ciders are full-flavored, tannic, and clean with a champagne-like mouth feel and balanced acidity.  They are unfiltered and unpasteurized, with higher ABV and much less sweetness than mass marketed industrial hard ciders.

Cidery Description: Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a tasting bar on the main floor of the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in downtown Newport VT.  Their current product line includes at least eight ice ciders, two Aperitif ciders, and dry & semi-dry sparkling ciders.  They also have a cider club where members get access to special release ciders not available to the public.

Price:  n/a, but retail price of $15-$20 (750ml)
Where Bought:  n/a (but originally the Schilling Cider House)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I heard about Eden on Facebook, met cidermaker Eleanor Leger at an event surrounding Cider Summit Seattle 2015 where I tried their Sparkling Dry cider, tried their Heirloom Blend cider at Cider Summit (and my husband bought me a bottle for our anniversary, reviewed here), and decided Semi-Dry would be a great New Year’s Eve cider selection.

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First Impression:  Honey-pumpkin light amber hue.  Moderate carbonation with tiny bubbles (even before opening the bottle, with a gentle shake, I could tell it had more carbonation than the first).  Smells luscious, of honey, tropical fruit, coconut, apricot, floral, and high-tannin cider apples (Dabinett and Yarlington Mill).

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-dry.  Moderate acidity.  Mild tartness.  Moderate tannins.  Slight hints of bitterness, funk, and sourness.  Flavor notes of tropical fruit, apricot, peach, honey, and green apple.  Slight richness.  Moderate carbonation with a fizzy mouthfeel.  Medium bodied.  Moderate apple influence.  Mild oak barrel influence.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion: Yum!  It had a lovely flavor complexity–you could really taste the hint of ice cider in comparison to the Sparkling Dry.  The ice cider added both sweetness and additional flavor (especially tropical fruit).  My husband also really enjoyed it.  All in all I think this cider is awesome.  Its also a wonderful value, as the apple varieties are expensive, and the production method is labor-intensive.

Most Similar to:  I’ve had other methode champenoise ciders such as Finnriver’s Artisan Sparkling Brut Cider, but this one was less champagne-like (more fruitiness).  The tropical fruit notes also reminded me of ciders such as Eaglemount Quince and Slyboro Old Sin, except with added carbonation.

Closing Notes:   Eden Ice Cider really makes some amazing ciders.  I look forward to trying the Honeycrisp and Northern Spy (barrel aged) ice ciders Eleanor sent!

Have you tried Eden’s Sparkling Dry or Semi-Dry ciders?  What did you think?

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2 thoughts on “Eden Sparkling Semi-Dry

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