Eden Specialty Ciders & Tilted Shed Collaboration, Two Ellies

Review of Two Ellies: An East Meets West American Cider Story, a collaboration between Eleanor Leger of Eden Specialty Ciders in Vermont and Ellen Cavalli of Tilted Shed Ciderworks in California.  It is my first time trying this, although I’ve tried Tilted Shed’s Lost OrchardBarred Rock, & Smoked, and Eden’s Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Brandy Barrel Aged Ice CiderGuinevere’s Pearls, & Windfall Orchard Ice Cider.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Eden Specialty Ciders (the cidermaker Eleanor brought it to me in her suitcase!).  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:  Two Ellies: An East Meets West American Cider Story
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders & Tilted Shed Ciderworks
Cidery Location:  Newport VT & Windsor CA (bottle says made at Eden in Vermont)
ABV:  7.5%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American artisan cider from Gravenstein apples from Tilted Shed in California and Esopus Spitzenburg apples from Eden in Vermont (both heirloom varieties), naturally sparkling, dry

 

Availability:  Very limited (likely only in parts of CA & VT), released September 2017

Cider Description:  This special cider is a cross-country collaboration between the two Ellies of American fine cider – Eleanor Leger of Vermont’s Eden Specialty Ciders and Ellen Cavalli of Sonoma Country’s Tilted Shed Ciderworks – who each contributed an hierloom apple variety particular to their terroir to showcase their mutual passion for traditional cidermaking.

A bit on terroir:  The term is most commonly used in the wine world, and describes the impact of the region (soil, topography, climate, etc) on a product.  Even ciders made from the same type of apples & yeast using the methods can vary widely region-to-region as the apples are different due to the environmental variance.  For example, the same variety of apple from the NE will commonly be significantly higher in acid than those from the NW.

Price:  n/a (and unknown)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  n/a

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First Impression:  Dark straw yellow hue.  High carbonation (natural, from secondary fermentation in the bottle).  Smells of funk, acidity, must, and citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low bitterness.  Low to moderate tannins.  Hints of sourness.  Low funk.  Notes of lemon, yeast, funk, wood, honey, and must.  Long acidic fizzy tannic finish.  Low apple flavor and sessionability.  Moderate complexity and flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I liked but didn’t love this, but that was anticipated, as my personal preference isn’t typically for dry acidic ciders.  However, it was expertly crafted.  I enjoyed this cider more at close to room temperature, as that cut the sharp acidity and let the fizz settle down.  My husband was a huge fan, as expected, as dry sparkling cider is his favorite.  It had a surprising amount of tannins for being made with heirloom (not cider) apple varieties, which I enjoyed.  I’d recommend Two Ellies for lovers of dry, acidic, highly carbonated ciders.

Most Similar to:  This reminded me of Tilted Shed Lost Orchard & Understood in Motion 02 (but both of those were nearly still), and Eve’s Beckhorn Hollow (except that had some different flavor notes).

Closing Notes:  Even though this isn’t a personal favorite, I’m glad I got the opportunity to try it and share about it.

Side Note:  Eden has previously collaborated with Angry Orchard (see my review of Understood in Motion 01), and also recently released a budget-friendly cider made with Québec dessert apple varieties, called Border Buster (see this article).  Tilted Shed has also been staying busy, with multiple new releases, as announced on their Facebook page.

Have you tried any ciders from Eden or Tilted Shed?  What did you think?

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4 thoughts on “Eden Specialty Ciders & Tilted Shed Collaboration, Two Ellies

  1. We had the opportunity to taste Two Ellies at Tilted Shed’s Tasting Room and liked it well enough to buy a bottle to take home with us. I too generally like ciders with a bit of residual sugars (and I don’t really like high carbonation levels). Nonetheless, my partner and I both liked this cider and were surprised how good it was (given that I generally don’t find Gravenstein to be great for cider…it is awesome for applesauce or pies, but for cider? I am still not sold).

    That day we also tasted two of Tilted Shed’s other cider club selections, made using the traditional Champenoise Method. I have to say, those other two ciders were amazing! The Newtown Pippin (Vulture Hill Orchard) was probably my favorite. Yet, the one that really blew me away though was the Jonathan (barrel-aged); I never would have expected a cider made from 100% Jonathan to be sooooo good. You could definitely taste the woodiness from barrel aging. [As an amateur cider maker myself, I have to say that one of the BEST ciders I have ever made was a blend of Jonathan & Rome from a friend’s old, neglected dry-farmed, unfertilized apple trees. I will be looking for a LOT more Jonathan next year.]

    We took home many bottles of Tilted Shed cider that day and decided we needed to join their club to make sure we didn’t miss any ciders they come up with next. [Unfortunately, I think both the Newtown Pippin and the Jonathan are sold out now.]

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dana – Thanks for sharing! I’ve liked Tilted Shed’s Lost Orchard and Barred Rock so far. However, my favorite types of ciders are really intensely flavored, often from bittersweet cider apples. I drink a lot of English and French cider. Plus I pick up interesting selections when I travel; often I don’t like them, but its interesting to try ciders from different regions.

      One thing I have noticed so far for example is that East coast ciders tend to be much more acidic than NW. I’ve heard that is because of the different terroir. I haven’t joined any clubs mostly due to wanting to try new ciders, and already having so many in the house. I don’t really drink that often / much either actually, usually just what I review here. Take care.

      my Tilted Shed reviews: https://cidersays.com/category/tilted-shed/

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  2. Yes, I would not be surprised to hear the east coast ciders tend to be more acidic. Cider makers often complain that North American apples (which comprise largely dessert varieties) tend to be very high in acidity. So, I was surprised when I started making cider to find that almost all the juices I bought (or pressed myself) actually had very high pH (often so had that I had to add malic acid just to get the juice within the acceptable range for fermentation). Ellen Cavalli at Tilted Shed tells me that she thinks the growing conditions here in Northern CA wash out all of the acidity. We have very hot, dry summers here, which is very different from the area where my family grows apples in Michigan. Tilted Shed is growing up to 100 different varieties of apple cultivars, and Ellen reports that they have a lot of trouble getting the acidity they want. Since the prime apple growing region of WA is east of the cascades (in arid climate), I wonder if they have a similar issue of acidity washing out. In any case, I think cider makers here in CA have a different problem than cider makers in NY, MI, VT, MA or maybe anywhere west of the Rockies. Acidity does not seem to be the problem for us.

    The problem for all artisan cider makers in the US is that we all want “spitters” (i.e., true cider varieties) to add to our cider, but unless you grow them yourself it is really hard to get them (even if you are willing to pay top dollar). Without any land suitable for growing apples, I am stuck with making cider from dessert varieties. So, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Jonathan and Rome actually make a decent.

    Lacking access to any tannic cider apples, I have been experimenting with adding a few berries from CA Native Plants that have some tannins. One of my favorite experiments so far is a cider that I made with an infusion of some Manzanita berries (Arctostaphylos spp.). The Native Americans used to make cider from Manzanita Berries. Since manzanita means “little apple”, it seemed particularly apropos to add manzanita to my apple juice.

    I have another batch from the 2017 harvest to which I added an infusion of CA native elderberry (Sambucus mexicana)…it seems very promising (and has a beautiful color). Later this spring, I am also hoping to top-work some of my ornamental pear trees over to Perry Pears (originating from the UK some as early as the 1600s). However, they say, “You plant pears for your heirs”…so it is a long-term project. It would be nice to get some high tannin pears to add to my cider blend. One variety that I ordered scions for is reputed to be so tannic that even the swine won’t eat the pears.

    The problem with cider in the U.S. is that it is like we are trying to make fine wine with table grapes. I would kill for some Kingston Black! I have a friend who grows cider apples for Tilted Shed. I gave me a taste of some single varietal cider he made from his Kingston Black. It was incredible.

    Liked by 1 person

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