Phillippi Fruit Snow Dance

Review of Phillippi Fruit Snow Dance, an apple brandy fortified cider (aka Pommeau).  I tried this at a tasting event a couple years ago (see here), but hadn’t ever seen it in stores, so I was thrilled to find a bottle when traveling.

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Cider:  Snowdance
Cidery:  Phillippi Fruit
Cidery Location:  Wenatchee WA
ABV:  16%
How Supplied:  750ml cork-top bottles
Style:  Pommeau (cider + apple brandy)

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Availability:  very limited, likely only in central WA

Cider Description:  We love winter for the snowpack in can bring to the Cascades. In fact, we are dependent on snowy winters for skiing, whitewater, and the agriculture we enjoy here. Sometimes winter needs a little help, and that’s where Snow Dance come in. Inspired by the French pommeau de normandie, Snow Dance is a hard cider containing 19% alcohol by volume. We fortify partially fermented cider with double distilled apple brandy to preserve the fresh-off-the-farm aroma. Snow Dance brings a wonderful flavor while not being cloyingly sweet. We’re pretty sure this is going to be your new winter warmer!

Cidery Description:  Welcome!  At Phillipi Fruit, we craft spirits and cider from the world famous tree fruits that surround us in Wenatchee, Washington.  With six generations of fruit growing experience to our name, starting a ciderhouse and distillery was a natural extension for us as well as a way to express ourselves, share our heritage, and showcase one of the world’s premier growing regions.  Find the perfect place, surround yourself with people you love, have fun, and great things will happen. We’re excited for what’s next for Phillippi Fruit, and look forward sharing it with you. Cheers!

Price:  ~ $23 ?
Where Bought:  Broken Barrel in Leavenworth WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about this shop online when planning a repeat visit to Leavenworth (a Bavarian-themed mountain town about 2.5 hours East of Seattle).  We went in December so all the lights were up, but mid-week, without the crowds.  Broken Barrel focuses on wine and cider.  The cider selection (both on tap and in bottles) was great, and I picked up this bottle plus a new to me cider.  The shopkeeper said I chose her two most expensive ciders – I guess I have good taste!

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First Impression:  Light gold hue.  Still.  Smells of alcohol, honey, and apple.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness, acidity, bitterness, and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of honey, ripe apple, caramelized sugar, oak, and tropical fruit.  Long finish.  Low apple flavor, sessionability, and barrel influence.  Moderate flavor intensity and complexity.  High spirit influence.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  I love the flavor of this.  Definitely alcohol-forward, but for me it drank more like a sweetish wine than a Pommeau, meaning that I sipped on it all evening, not just after dinner.  It also reminded me a lot of cyser (made from honey + apples), as I found it to have a lot of honey flavor.

However, note that I found this didn’t keep as well as I expected for a high ABV beverage.  I’d recommend finishing the bottle within a few days.  I left the last little bit sit for over a week, and it tasted like the flavor was sucked out of it, leaving only the alcohol.  Previously I had found ice cider and Pommeau and the like to maintain their flavor pretty well for up to 1-2 weeks.

Most Similar to:  This was lighter / less rich than most of the Pommeaux I’ve had (such as from 2 Towns, Etienne DupontEZ Orchards, Finnriver, Stem, and Wandering Aengus).  I found it most similar to an Imperial style cider which also had a lot of honey flavor, Central City Limited Edition Imperial Cider.

Closing Notes:  It doesn’t appear that Phillippi makes any regular cider, but they also list an Applejack (unaged apple brandy), Kirschwasser (cherry brandy), and Pear Brandy on their website.

Have you tried Phillippi Fruit Snow Dance?  What did you think?

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