Cider Brothers William Tell Dry Hard Apple Cider with Pinot Grigio

Review of William Tell Dry Hard Apple Cider with Pinot Grigio from Cider Brothers, out of Lodi California.  This is one of Cider Brothers’ original release ciders (also sold as Pacific Coast Cider).

>>This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Cider Brothers.  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:  William Tell Dry Hard Apple Cider with Pinot Grigio
Cidery:  Cider Brothers
Cidery Location:  Lodi CA
ABV:  6.5%
How Supplied:  four pack of 16oz cans (and 22oz bottles)
Style:  American commercial cider made from dessert apples, with 15% Pinot Grigio grape wine

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Availability:  National distribution.  I’ve only seen this variety in the Seattle area in large bottles though (under both the William Tell and Pacific Coast Cider brands).

Apple Varieties:  Granny smith, golden russet, gala, fuji, and red delicious (sourced from Washington).

Cider Description:  DRY HARD APPLE WITH PINOT GRIGIO is a unique blend of freshly fermented Hard Apple Cider and premium California Pinot Grigio. We start with fresh juice from five types of apples and ferment it in three lots, each with different yeast to add flavor complexity. Then comes the creative touch: we add 15% of our Pinot Grigio and then Frost Ferment the blend to concentrate the fresh apple and wine character and enhance the flavors. If Frost Fermentation doesn’t sound familiar, it’s because we invented this technique to create our Pinot Grigio cider.

With pale straw color & perfect clarity. The candied apple aromas are layered with hints of crisp Pinot Grigio. Significant effervescence hits the palate with candied apple flavors and lime, citrus and Pinot Grigio accents, followed by a soft, lingering finish and a little tannic bite.

Pairings: White Meats, Asia-Themed Pork, Crab and Shrimp.

Cidery Description:  From early morning through late afternoon, we bring a winemaker’s approach to producing small batches of handcrafted hard apple ciders. It starts with cold fermenting small lots of fresh apple juice to capture the delicate flavors and complex balance that makes this Mother Nature’s most refreshing adult beverage. The result is our refreshing, lightly carbonated artisan cider, produced at our Lodi winery.

The cider brothers are Michael and Paul Scotto.  The Scotto family has been in the wine industry for five generations, and Scotto Cellars is among the 30 largest wineries in California.  They used their wine background when starting to make cider, and by mistake developed a method they call “frost fermentation”.  They put the fresh apple juice into the refrigerated fermenter, as they would do for Chardonnay.  They next morning there was a layer of ice on the inside edges and top of the tank.  They remove the ice (water) and the result was a sweeter cider with more concentrated and rich flavor.  This is more labor and time intensive, but they feel the result is worth it.  (it reminds me of the process for ice cider)

Price:  n/a (runs ~$3 / can)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Very light straw yellow with a slight green tint.  Very low carbonation upon pouring with some large clinging bubbles.  Smells of green apple candy, citrus, and white grape.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Still (no perceptible carbonation).  Mild tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of green apple, citrus, white grape, mineral, blossom, and floral.  Although it is full-flavored, it also tastes a bit watered down, yet medium bodied…my palate was a bit confused!  Quick finish.  Low apple influence.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  Although I enjoyed the first part of the first couple sips, I definitely got the ubiquitous green apple Jolly Rancher candy flavor here.  I was also surprised by how sweet it tasted vs. the listed 6 grams of sugar per 12oz (which would be dry to semi-dry).  The long ingredient list is a bit disappointing too (sugar, water, natural flavor…).

Most Similar to:  Woodchuck Granny Smith, and other sweeter green apple type ciders.

Closing Notes:   Although I didn’t really care for this cider, plenty of other folks do (even Cider Journal gave it 3.5/5 stars!).  What one person dislikes about a cider is what another person enjoys.  Its always nice to try new ciders.  So far their Mango Muscat continues to be my favorite, although I still have cans of the original and cherry varieties left to try.

Have you tried Cider Brothers William Tell?  What did you think?

3 thoughts on “Cider Brothers William Tell Dry Hard Apple Cider with Pinot Grigio

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