Review of Virtue Cider’s Cherry Mitten, a cherry version of their The Mitten bourbon barrel aged cider made using only Michigan apples. Virtue sent me a sample bottle of this along with some swag and a replacement bottle of their regular Mitten cider (which I reviewed here), as from my original review they suspected it had refermented.
>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Virtue 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.<<
Cider: Cherry Mitten
Cidery: Virtue Cider
Cidery Location: Fennville MI
How Supplied: 750ml green champagne bottle, capped
Style: American craft bourbon barrel aged cider made from culinary & heirloom apples, Michigan cherries, and Ale yeast
Availability: Very limited release of only 300 bottles (
in Michigan in their tasting room only), plus a few kegs made it to Chicago IL (including Cider Summit). However, in general, Virtue cider may be available in GA, MD, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PN, RI, VA, VT, IL, ID, KY, MI, MN, OH, WI, CA, OR, WA, & TX.
Cider Description: When the leaves fall, there’s a chill in the air and the evening greedily takes hours from daylight, we stand strong and embrace the wintertime. It’s a time of rich foods, roaring fires and our favorite sweaters. Drinks change from refreshing to intense and satisfying. The Mitten is a Winter cider, a blend of last seasons best, aged in bourbon barrels, with the new season’s fresh pressed apple juice. Straight cider, aged for 3 seasons, finds notes of vanilla, caramel and charred American oak, balanced with the best of the orchard, over-ripe apples and their sweet, tart, earthy juice. Many barrels are filled, but only a small portion, the very smoothest, will find their way into The Mitten. We love wintertime, especially when we have The Mitten to keep us warm and happy through the long, cold night.
See Virtue’s info page on the regular version of this cider. For the cherry version, they added tart cherries from their next door neighbor’s 80 acre cherry farm, and described the cider as having a mild acetic finish.
Cidery Description: Virtue Farm is located in Southwest Michigan, part of the state’s thriving Cider Coast. Michigan’s Cider Coast boasts 200 miles of apple orchards, changing leaves, and stunning vistas best enjoyed with a glass of crisp cider. All along the coast, great cider being made by a bevy of wonderful cider makers, all working hard to revive dozens of varieties of heirloom apples ideal for juicing and fermenting. Virtue Cider is proud to be part of this burgeoning revival of an important Michigan tradition.
Price: n/a (probably retails for $20+)
Where Bought: n/a
Where Drank: home
How Found: n/a
First Impression: Bright cherry hue. Very low carbonation upon pouring. Smells sour with hints of cherry, yeast, and apples.
Tasting Notes: Semi-dry. Mild to moderate sourness and tartness. Moderate acidity. No bitterness, funk, or tannins. Frothy mousse-like mouthfeel. Light bodied. Mild cherry flavor, but also some citrus, honey, vinegar, and floral notes. Long sour finish at the back of the palate. Low apple influence. Low sessionability.
My Opinion: I can see the appeal of this cider (which is a true sour cherry, not tart cherry), but I’m just not a fan of sour ciders. For some reason they seem to overwhelm my palate and I have a touch time detecting or appreciating much else about them. My husband enjoyed this more than I did and gladly finished the bottle, but it was a bit sour even for him. I’m surprised how often I see reviews of ciders I found sour which don’t even mention that fact, so there is definitely a disclaimer on this review that the sourness may not be nearly as significant for other folks.
Also note that often the terms sour and tart are used interchangeably, but I find them quite different. Tart is much more common and hits more forward on the palate (green apple and citrus are examples), while sour is lingering and hits further back on the palate (its common with Spanish Sidra, certain English & French ciders, and wild fermented ciders).
Most Similar to: I’ve had a number of cherry ciders, such as from Woodchuck, Washington Gold, Locust, Elemental, Tieton, Jester & Judge, Julian, and Original Sin, but none were sour. I’ve heard of Reverend Nat’s Sacrilege Sour Cherry, but haven’t tried it.
Closing Notes: I’m glad I got to try this cider, especially as its such a limited release. Hopefully I’ll get to try more ciders from Virtue in the future.
Have you tried Virtue Cider Cherry Mitten? What did you think?