Traditions Ciderworks (2 Towns) Pommeau – 2011 Harvest / 2013 Release

Review of the 2011 harvest / 2013 release of Pommeau from Traditions Ciderworks, made by 2 Towns.  2013 was their first release of Pommeau, although there have been two releases since then, in 2014 and 2015.  Note that 2 Towns’ Traditions Ciderworks brand has since been absorbed into their regular 2 Towns line of ciders.  I actually purchased this recently after initially not being able to find the 2015 release, and had assumed it was the 2014 release, but when asking 2 Towns some questions I discovered it was actually the 2013 release (the 2014 release was in a frosted Traditions Ciderworks bottle).  I later found the 2015 release (which was labeled under 2 Towns), which I’ll review soon. I’ve previously reviewed a number of ciders from 2 Towns.

Pommeau is a port-style apple wine related to cider.  It is made from apple brandy (a spirit from distilling apple cider) with either unfermented apple juice or lightly fermented apple cider blended in (cider in this case), then barrel aged.  It is called Calvados when made in Normandy France.

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Cider:  Pommeau (2011 harvest / 2013 release)
Cidery:  Traditions Ciderworks (2 Towns Ciderhouse)
Cidery Location:  Corvallis OR
ABV:  19%
How Supplied:  375 ml tall clear glass bottle, wax sealed
Style:  American craft Pommeau made from apple brandy and lightly fermented cider, barrel aged in French oak for 1 year

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Availability:  Limited (100 cases of 12 bottles made, sold 2 years ago).  This 2013 release is actually much more limited than their 2015 release, where 500 cases were made.  In general though 2 Towns’ ciders are sold in AK, CA, HI, ID, IL, MN, NV, OR, and WA.

Cider Description:  Our Pommeau is made from locally grown traditional bittersweet cider apples which are hand-harvested and ‘sweated’ at cool temperatures. After the apples have sweetened, the fresh-pressed juice is lightly fermented and then aged with Clear Creek apple eau de vie. Our Pommeau is then matured in French oak barrels for one year. The result is a tremendously complex apple Pommeau that blossoms with aromas of fresh-pressed cider, dried fruit, and wood. This bottle will improve with cellaring for up to 20 years.

Wow–20 years…I wonder how they came up with that number?  I believe it though.

Cidery Description:  Traditions Ciderworks produces handmade artisan ciders using only locally sourced Oregon farm grown apples. Inspired by the creativity and flair of Pacific Northwest craft brewers and winemakers, we use time-honored traditions & our own unique style to create exceptional, premium ciders. From the heart of Oregon, near the banks of the Willamette River, Traditions Ciderworks is dedicated to bringing artisan cider out of the past and into the present.

Price:  $32.25
Where Bought:  Full Throttle Bottles (I’ve also seen 2 Towns Pommeau in the Seattle area at the Schilling Cider House and The Cave)
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I had heard awhile back that 2 Towns made Pommeau, and read an article on their 2015 release in the Fall, so I started looking.

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First Impression:  Rich amber hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells alcohol-forward, of rich apples, oak, spice, oranges, caramel, and burnt sugar.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to dry.  Low acidity and tartness.  A hint of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of rich apples, oak, spice, oranges, caramel, burnt sugar, vanilla, and leather.  Medium bodied.  Long warming finish.  Moderate apple influence.  Low to moderate barrel influence.  Very low sessionability.

My Opinion:  This is nice, but on the verge of being a bit much for me.  I’m ashamed to admit I enjoyed it with a couple ice cubes; otherwise it seemed a bit too boozy, as it doesn’t have much sweetness (and it was room temperature to start as I didn’t want to rearrange my fridge shelves for the few weeks I kept it open).  I much prefer 2 Towns’ newer 2013 harvest / 2015 release, which I’ll review soon.  I actually e-mailed them about it as the two releases were so different.  They confirmed there were some significant variations in sweetness and tannins due to growing seasons, apple blends, etc.  This 2011 harvest release was drier and had a slightly higher percentage of bittersweet apples than the later releases.  Going forward they plan to have their Pommeau more similar to the 2013 harvest release–sweeter, richer, and more full bodied.

Most Similar to:  I’ve only had four Pommeaux (the plural of Pommeau), so I don’t have much to compare to.  However, this was drier, lighter bodied, and less complex than both the Finnriver Pommeau (review here) and the 2 Towns 2013 harvest / 2015 release Pommeau (review soon).  I think it was more on par as far as sweetness and consistency with Tieton Wind, but I tried that quite awhile ago (before what I even knew what Pommeau was probably!).

Closing Notes:   Pommeau is a unique cider related beverage to try, and I look forward to trying more.  However, the newer 2 Towns Pommeau release is more to my liking than this one.  In fact, I’m planning to buy at least one more bottle to “cellar” for awhile.

Have you tried Traditions Ciderworks (2 Towns) Pommeau?  What did you think?

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