Far West San Joaquin Sparkler

Review of Far West Cider’s San Joaquin Sparkler.  It is my first time trying anything from this California cidery.

Photo Apr 15, 5 28 51 PM

Cider:  San Joaquin Sparkler, 2015 harvest
Cidery:  Far West Cider
Cidery Location:  Richmond CA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider from primarily Cripps Pink apples (aka Pink Lady), wild yeast fermented, off dry

Photo Apr 15, 5 29 14 PM  Photo Apr 15, 5 29 34 PM  Photo Apr 15, 5 29 48 PM

Availability:  only in California (see here), plus online sales (although at the time of review I didn’t see this cider in stock)

Cider Description:  This cider uses primarily Cripps Pink apples.  We encourage a slow native fermentation in the freshly pressed apple juice before inoculating with Champagne yeast to finish this cider to dryness.  After aging for a minimum of two months, this off-dry cider shows some deep woody apple notes and phenolic spiciness.  Paris well with leather chairs, old books, easy conversation, and difficult-to-pronounce cheeses.

Cidery Description:  Every bottle of Far West Cider is a product of our fourth generation family farm in San Joaquin County, California.  All of the apples used in this cider are harvested and pressed by hand on our ranch and cared to throughout fermentation, aging, and bottling to help express the best of the fruit that we grow.

They have a tasting room in Richmond CA (see here).

Price:  $9.49
Where Bought:  The Jug Shop in San Francisco CA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, when we were there on a cruise port stop

Photo Apr 15, 5 31 05 PM

First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Low carbonation.  Barely noticeable smell, acidic dry apple with a hint of nuttiness.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Subtle notes of tart green apple, lemon, herbs, butter, almonds, and must.  Moderate length finish with a hint of brine.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Low to moderate flavor and complexity.

My Opinion:  I was indifferent about this one, I didn’t personally like or dislike it.  The flavor was subtle and quite peculiar, difficult to describe.  However, the description said phenolic, and based on my experience with a FlavorActiv sensory analysis kit, my taste buds don’t detect it well.  It tasted nearly like a farmhouse-style cider, but didn’t have the sourness or funk I’d expect with that style (and wild fermented ciders in general).  I’d recommend this for folks who like interesting wine-like ciders.

Most Similar to:  nothing I’ve tasted

Closing Notes:  I’d be interested in hearing from others as far as what flavors they picked up with this cider.  It looks like this cider is rated well on untappd, but none of the reviews really described it.

Have you tried Far West Cider?  What did you think?

3 thoughts on “Far West San Joaquin Sparkler

  1. I had a taster of this last year and recall enjoying it quite a bit. I believe this was the only one that went through a natural malolactic ferment, giving it a roundness not in their other ciders ,which were all very dry and wine-like. They most remind me of another bay area cidery, Redwood Coast Cidery, and more vaguely of E.Z. Orchards.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the review!

    This was one of the first ciders we ever put into bottle (believe we made about 30 cases).

    I’ve saved a few for library tasting and it is crazy how it has changed in the bottle over the past year.

    If you’re ever back in the bay give us a ring – love to taste you through what we’re working on now!


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