Cider: Williamette Valley Cidre 2011
Cidery: E.Z. Orchards
Cidery Location: Rickreall OR
How Supplied: 750ml bottles
Style: American Artisan cider from French cider apple varieties, nothing else (no sulfites)
Availability: CA, OR, and WA, although this is a very old release
Description: The Pioneers who settled Oregon’s Willamette Valley in the 1850’s must have marveled at their good fortune. The soil was rich, the water plentiful, the winters mild, and summers ideal, crops seemed to burst from the ground. For more than 150 years small family farms have dominated the Willamette Valley – one of the most productive and diverse agricultural areas in the world. The Zielinski Family and E.Z. Orchards are part of this history and ongoing commitment to the land.
E.Z. Orchards Willamette Valley Cidre is the culmination of 10 years effort to develop our orchard and refine our fermentation technique. We grow a selection of French, English, and Early American apple varieties. The fruit contain essential characteristics, necessary to impart structure and aroma in our Cidre.
They use traditional French cider making methods–pressing their apples in a rack and cloth press, fermenting with wild yeast in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks for 4-6 months, and bottling before fermentation is complete to allow secondary fermentation to take place in the glass. EZ Orchards has been growing apples since the 1920s. They were one of the first in the U.S. to plant cider apple varieties, starting in 2000.
Where Bought: A natural grocery store in a small town in Northern California in December. I haven’t seen this variety sold in the last couple years in the Seattle area.
Where Drank: home
How Found: Browsing. I was super impressed with this store’s selection for now being in a major city or cider region. I picked up a number of bottles from several cidermakers and packed them in my suitcase for the flight home to Seattle.
First Impression: Light pumpkin amber hue. Moderate carbonation with significant foam. Smells rich, apple-forward, and tannic.
Tasting Notes: Semi-dry. Light bodied with a frothy texture. Moderate tartness. High acidity. Low tannins. Low bitterness. Moderate funk. Hints to low sourness. Notes of apple pomace, yeast, orange, grapefruit, and lemon. Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.
My Opinion: I liked it but didn’t love it. From the scent, I was hoping for more richness and tannins. The citrus notes and sourness were a surprise.
Most Similar to: A mix of a French and Spanish cider. It had the apple and yeast forward flavor of a French cidre with the citrus, funk and sourness of a Spanish cider. It was the later I didn’t like as much.
Closing Notes: I look forward to trying more E.Z. Orchards ciders. So far my favorite is Roman Beauty.
Have you tried E.Z. Orchards Williamette Valley Cidre? What did you think?