Eve’s Scatterseed

Review of Eve’s Cidery’s Scatterseed.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Beckhorn HollowAutumn’s GoldKingston Black, and Rustica.

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Cider:  Scatterseed (2014 vintage)
Cidery:  Eve’s Cidery
Cidery Location:  Van Etten NY
ABV:  8.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged champagne bottle
Style:  American artisan methode champenoise cider from cider apples

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Availability:  sold out per their website

Cider Description:  Aromas of damp earth, ripe waxy apple, tamari and beeswax focus (coalesce) into flavors of ripe fruit and game which are deep and layered. Textures of sandstone and chewy bittersweet apple. Finish is completely dry and savory with full, lingering tannin.

See here for more info on this cider; I like how they are very detailed in all their cider descriptions.

Cidery Description:  Eve’s Cidery is a small family run orchard and cidery located in Van Etten, in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. We grow apples and other tree fruits and ferment artisanal ciders. We believe in nature, art, good food and hard work. These beliefs influence the way we farm, make cider and sell our product. We hope you can taste some of it in the bottle.

Their official tasting room is at the Finger Lakes Cider House in Interlaken New York.

Price:  $18
Where Bought:  the cidery’s online store
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Medium gold hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells dry, tannic, and rich.

Tasting Notes:  Completely dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Moderate to high tannins.  Hints of bitterness and funk.  No sourness.  Earthy notes of caramel, leather, butterscotch, lemon, butter, and floral.  Long tannic finish.  Low apple flavor and sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  High complexity.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  The tannins and flavor were great.  However, I would have preferred more sweetness and less acidity.  I’d love to see more tannic traditional ciders like this that are semi-dry instead of dry, as I think it brings out more flavor, and makes them more approachable.

Most Similar to:  very few ciders, as very few cideries are using such a high percentage of bittersweet & bittersharp cider apples in a cider (although it is getting more common, but usually they are blended with heirloom apples such that the bittersweet & bittersharp apple characteristics are muted)

Closing Notes:  my favorite Eve’s cider remains Rustica, but I’d love to see a slightly sweeter version of this or their Kingston Black

Have you tried Eve’s Scatterseed?  What did you think?

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My Favorite Ciders of 2017

Happy New Year!  Now that it is 2018, it is time for a list of some of my favorite ciders of 2017.  This is becoming a tradition; see here for my list from 2016 and here for my list from 2015.  To make it a bit different and easier, I put them into categories instead of trying to do a top ten list or similar.

Note that I wouldn’t try to make a list of the best ciders, just those I enjoy, as it would be an impossible task to try every cider out there and be impartial.  The cider world is very regional, so likely only readers in the NW would have a similar selection.  My only criteria for this list is that I drank the cider in 2017.  Some of the categories overlap.  Truth be told, for the most part, I made the list first, then determined categories to put them in!

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Budget-Friendly French Cidre:  Dan Armor Cuvée Spéciale Cidre Brut (Brittany) or L’Hermitiére Cidre Brut (Normandy) – These selections retail for $4.99 and $7.99 respectively.  The Dan Armor is only sold at Trader Joe’s.  Both are on the sweeter side of semi-dry and are true to their respective styles (although the Normandy one is more beginner friendly than many others, as it lacks sourness and only has minimal funk).  The Dan Armor is one of my top picks to introduce folks to good cider with, as it is different from sweet commercial selections, but not so out there as to turn folks off to it.  Its also a nice gauge on sweetness, as it is in the middle of the range.

 

Fancy French Cidre:  Domaine de la Minotiere Cidre Fermier Bio Doux or Pierre Huet AOC Pays D’Auge Cidre – I tried so many amazing French cidres this year that I had to include more than one!  These selections cost a tad more than the previous two, $12 and $19.99 respectively, but also have more complexity.  Both of these are low ABV selections, and the Doux was significantly sweeter, as expected for the classification.

 

English Cidre:  Newton Court Gasping Goose (330ml bottles) or Henney’s Vintage (500ml bottles) – Both of these English imports are very budget friendly and tasty.  A bit sweeter than some English ciders (on the sweeter side of semi-dry), rich, and tannic, but not bitter.  Newton Court is available in Seattle, but I’ve only seen the Henney’s in Portland (and only tried the one bottle).

 

Swiss cider:  Cidrerie du Vulcain Premiers Emois – This cider from Switzerland reminds me of French cidre, but has a style all its own.  It was made from Organic native heirloom apples, and wild yeast fermented using traditional methods.  The result was a semi-sweet cider with an awesome fluffy texture and complex fruitiness (but with less apple and yeast forward flavor as most French cidres).

European-Style U.S. cider:  2 Towns Traditions Cidre Bouche – This cider is by far the closest to a French cidre than any other U.S. cider I’ve tried.  It was a noticeable improvement from last year’s vintage as well.  Lots of rich ripe bittersweet apple flavor.  Unfortunately it costs more than most French cidres, as even with the import cost, their production costs are lower, as cider apple varieties aren’t rare like they are here.

 

Perry:  Ramborn Perry – I tried two selections from Ramborn Cider in Luxembourg.  This perry was complex and amazing, with notes of canned pear, dried pear, mango, pineapple, and guava.  Like most perries, as pears have unfermentable sugars, it was a bit sweeter, semi-sweet to semi-dry.

New England style:  Cockrell Colonial Winter – This cider is of true New England style, a high ABV cider with the addition to raisins and brown sugar.  Rich, complex, and perfect for winter.  It is my favorite version of this style so far.

 

Food-Friendly Cider:  Eden Semi-Dry or Eden Guineveres Pearls – Of these, the Semi-Dry is drier, much easier to find, and less expensive.  Both however are excellent selections, quite flavorful, but without anything that would overwhelm or clash with most meals.  They are also some of the most tannic on this list, same as the English selections.

 

Rosé:  Alpenfire Glow – This sweet cider is made from rare red fleshed apples, and similar to Eve’s Rustica (listed below), is amazingly fruity, with a high flavor intensity.  Here the flavor notes were watermelon, strawberry, and rhubarb.  It was a perfect Valentine’s Day cider (a gift from my husband – he knows me well)!

Barrel Aged:  Finnriver Fire Barrel – Note that this pertains to the previous releases of this cider.  I haven’t been nearly as big of a fan of Fire Barrel once they moved to 750ml bottles, as it was not nearly as flavorful (plus the price increased significantly).  In the older version, I love the complexity, intense barrel aged flavor (which is rarely found in cider), and high tannins.

 

Fruity:  2 Towns Prickle Me Pink ^2 – This cider was made using prickly pear cactus fruit, plus, new for this year, watermelon.  The result is a fluorescent pink fruity cider which is surprisingly complex and flavorful, yet fairly dry.

Rich:  Angry Orchard Maple Wooden Sleeper – This cider was made from bittersweet apples, with Crown maple syrup, then bourbon barrel aged for 12 months.  It resulted in a 12% ABV cider, super rich and complex, with a flavor profile including caramel, brown sugar, maple, oak, vanilla, bourbon, and molasses.  This was a truly artisan small batch cider, worlds away from their typical commercial releases.

 

Spicy:  2 Towns Man Gogh – I’ve never been a fan of spicy ciders, but I finally found one I could enjoy!  Here the hint of spice (from habaneros) was balanced by the fruitiness, sweetness, and acidity of the cider with mango.  This was an imperial cider, but way too easy to drink.

Commercial:  Spire Mountain Dark & Dry – I typically drink craft ciders, but I still drink commercial ciders from time to time.  This one is far from dry (more like semi-sweet), but is dark, and has some great molasses flavor.  It pairs really well with greasy food, like a burger or fish & chips.

 

Unique:  Eve’s Rustica – This is Eve’s sweetest cider (besides their ice cider), and my favorite.  I loved all the flavor they were able to showcase without any additions (just apples & yeast), with notes of honey, cream, vanilla, melon, strawberry, watermelon, pineapple, and peach.

Unexpected:  Snowdrift Cidermaker’s Reserve – This cider was made from heirloom & cider apples, but in contrast had a very unique unexpected flavor profile, with pomegranate, white grape, stone fruit, leather, butterscotch, and citrus notes.  It is unique, complex, and bubbly.  My husband is also an especially big fan of this cider.

 

Value:  Schilling King’s Shilling – I’ve picked up a 22oz bottle of this for as low as $4 (at Total Wine, actually cheaper than at the Cider House), which is a steal for a tasty barrel aged brandy infused cider.  This is more sessionable than you’d expect too.  Semi-dry and semi-sweet, with notes of honey and citrus, plus hints of maple syrup, oak, and spice.

Unexpected & Value:  Finnegan Cider Harvest Blend – This was another unexpectedly awesome cider which was also a great value.  I picked this up in Portland, for just over $7 for 500ml of cider from cider apples.  Semi-dry, with richness, high carbonation, and notes of rich ripe apples, caramel, leather, orange, stone fruit, honey, oak, and apple brandy.

 

Favorite from a New-to-Me cidery:  Woodbox Double Barrel Whiskey Barrel Ice Cider – This was the first (and only) cider I have tried from Woodbox, at Cider Rite of Spring in Portland.  I bought a bottle, but haven’t wanted to open it yet.  Lots of whiskey flavor in addition to caramel, vanilla, oak, and more.  It was rather budget-friendly for an ice cider too, at $17 / 375ml.

Pommeau:  2 Towns Pommeau – This remains my favorite Pommeau.  Super flavorful, rich, and complex, with notes of ripe apples, oak, dried fruit, leather, brown sugar, caramel, burnt sugar, vanilla, tropical fruit, and peaches.

 

Ice Cider:  Eden Cellar Series The Falstaff – This year I was spoiled with an amazing treat, a bottle of Eden’s 7! year barrel aged ice cider.  This ties with Alpenfire Smoke for the most complex cider I’ve ever drank.  The flavor was all over the place, from molasses, caramel, and brown sugar, to tart green apple and lemon, to raisin, to pie spices.

Overall:  Alpenfire Smoke – This 16% ABV sipping cider has an amazing complexity, with rich oaky smokey flavor.  If I had to name just one favorite cider, this would be it.  However, it is not an everyday sort of cider.  They recently released a new batch of it, but I haven’t tried it yet (I’m still working on my stockpile of the old version).

Other:  Also, while I’m at it, my favorite cider event in 2017 was Cider Summit Seattle, my favorite (and only) class was by Rev Nat, and my favorite bottle shop & bar was Schilling Cider House.

Well, there you have it, a list of 26 of my favorite ciders from 2017.  They have a lot in common–most are rich and full-flavored.  What are some of your favorite ciders?

Eve’s Cidery Rustica

Review of Eve’s Cidery Rustica, described as a traditional method semi-sweet sparkling cider.  It is my first time trying this one, but I’ve previously had their Beckhorn HollowAutumn’s Gold, and Kingston Black.

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Cider:  Rustica
Cidery:  Eve’s Cidery
Cidery Location:  Van Etten NY
ABV:  7.0%
Residual Sugar: 4.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged champagne bottles
Style:  American artisan cider from heirloom apples, naturally sparkling

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Availability:  Mostly in New York, but also in some other states, such as Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Massachusetts, and Delaware (and now, Washington).  They also have an online store (check for shipping availability for states besides New York).  358 cases of this vintage of Rustica were produced in 2015.

Cider Description:  On the nose, watermelon and coconut creamsicle moving into frozen strawberries on the palate. The finish, which is at first fresh and sweet. ends on a darker more savory note with drying tannin carrying the sweet fruit.

Made from cryo-concentrated juice, with secondary fermentation in the bottle.  More info on the cider is available here.

Apple Varieties:  75% Macoun, Empire, Liberty blend, estate grown.  18% MacIntosh, Steve Cummins, Ithaca, NY.  7% Wild harvested seedling.

Cidery Description:  Eve’s Cidery is a small family run orchard and cidery located in Van Etten, in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. We grow apples and other tree fruits and ferment artisanal ciders. We believe in nature, art, good food and hard work. These beliefs influence the way we farm, make cider and sell our product. We hope you can taste some of it in the bottle.

Their official tasting room is at the Finger Lakes Cider House in Interlaken New York.

Price:  $18
Where Bought:  Eve’s Cidery’s online store
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing Eve’s Cidery’s website, as they were having a free shipping offer in December.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells sweet, and mildly of honey and fruit.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-sweet.  Medium bodied, slightly syrupy, with a creamy texture.  Low tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  Hints of tannins.  No sourness, funk, or bitterness.  Notes of honey, cream, vanilla, melon, strawberry, watermelon, pineapple, and peach.  Quick finish.  Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  Amazing!  I loved the creamy fruitiness.  Well balanced, easy to drink, and refreshing, yet it still had some complexity and heirloom apple flavor.  Its amazing so many flavors can be tasted without adding anything to the cider.

Most Similar to:  Alpenfire Spark (which had the heirloom apple flavor, sweetness, and carbonation, but no fruitiness) and Locust Vanilla Bean (which had the same creaminess, but it has added vanilla, is much sweeter, and didn’t have fruitiness)

Closing Notes:  Awesome complexity and an amazing value!  Its my favorite from them so far.  This would be great for new and experienced cider drinkers alike.  Too bad it isn’t available locally yet (I’ve only seen their Beckhorn Hollow).

Have you tried Eve’s Cidery Rustica?  What did you think?

Eve’s Cidery 2015 Kingston Black, Dry Still Cider

Review of Eve’s Cidery 2015 Kingston Black, Dry Still Cider.  It is my first time trying this one, but I’ve previously had their Beckhorn Hollow and Autumn’s Gold.

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Cider:  2015 Kingston Black, Dry Still Cider
Cidery:  Eve’s Cidery
Cidery Location:  Van Etten NY
ABV:  8.6%
How Supplied:  750ml corked bottles
Style:  American artisan cider, a single varietal from Kingston Black cider apples

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Availability:  sold out (21 cases made)

Cider Description:  100% Estate grown Kingston Black.  Primary fermentation in stainless steel.  21 cases bottled.  Residual sugar 0.0%. Titratable Acidity 7.1 g/L.  pH 3.8.  On the nose, dried apples, macadamia nuts and dusty roses. On the palate, calendula flowers, cloves, wood and tobacco with tense, springy tannin. The finish is kerosene and sour apple.  

More info on the cider is available here.

Cidery Description:  Eve’s Cidery is a small family run orchard and cidery located in Van Etten, in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. We grow apples and other tree fruits and ferment artisanal ciders. We believe in nature, art, good food and hard work. These beliefs influence the way we farm, make cider and sell our product. We hope you can taste some of it in the bottle.

Their official tasting room is at the Finger Lakes Cider House in Interlaken New York.

Price:  $16
Where Bought:  Eve’s Cidery’s online store
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing Eve’s Cidery’s website, as they were having a free shipping offer in December.

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First Impression:  Moderate amber hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells amazingly rich and sweet.

Tasting Notes:  Completely dry (the nose on this cider is definitely deceiving).  Light to medium bodied.  Low tartness and bitterness.  Low to moderate acidity and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of concentrated apple juice, brown sugar, caramel, wood, and lemon.  Moderate to long finish length, with a slight alcohol burn.  High apple flavor.  Low sessionability.  High complexity.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed it, although I think I would have liked it even more with a touch of residual sugar (I prefer semi-dry to dry).  This unique wine-like cider is definitely on the serious side.

Most Similar to:  It reminds me of ice cider, except with all the sugar sucked out somehow.  I’ve had two previous Kingston Black ciders – from Dragon’s Head (single varietal) and Whitewood (with a bit of Porter’s Perfection).  All three were quite different from each other.  The Whitewood one had some added complexity due to the whiskey barrel aging (and also had the highest ABV).  Eve’s seemed the most characteristically Kingston Black if I had to guess.

Closing Notes:  Awesome complexity and an amazing value!  Its my favorite from them so far.  I still have one bottle from Eve’s left, Rustica.

Have you tried any Kingston Black single varietals?  What did you think?

Eve’s Cidery Beckhorn Hollow

Review of Eve’s Cidery Beckhorn Hollow.  Its the first time I’ve tried their cider.  I was surprised to see it in the store as I didn’t even know they distributed out here (I’ve heard of them online).  We don’t get too many East Coast ciders here in the Pacific Northwest (at least compared to WA & OR ciders).

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Cider:  Beckhorn Hollow
Cidery:  Eve’s Cidery
Cidery Location:  Van Etten, New York
ABV:  8.5%
How Supplied:  750 ml corked & caged champagne bottle
Style:  Craft cider made from heirloom apple varieties, methode champenoise style (naturally sparkling)

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Availability:  Mostly in New York, but also in some other states such as Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Massachusetts, and Delaware (and now, Washington).  They also have an online store (check for shipping availability for states besides New York).  310 cases of this vintage of this cider were produced in 2014.

Cider Description:  This extra dry cider is a blend of American cider apples and English heirloom varieties, with a focus on Golden Russet. The aroma starts off with sour dried apricots and a warm field and moves into something darker like green oak leaves and forest duff. The mouth feel is light and airy, dominated by bubbles and is followed by a burst of juicy acidity which brings out bright fruit in spite of the bone dryness. The finish is long and mouthwatering, reminiscent of limes.

On the nose, sweet aromas of bartlett pear, cream and raw honey. The mid palate is bright and bubbly with succulent fruit flavors of peaches and sour orange.  A tart and juicy finish ends in dry lemon pith. Residual Sugar 0.0%, Alc/Vol 8.9%, Titratable Acidity 9.7g/l, pH 3.5

Apple Varieties: A blend of aromatic, sharp and heirloom apples: Golden Russet, Wealthy, Wixson, Cox Orange Pippin, Northern Spy, Manchurian Crab, Spigold, Idared.

Cidery Description:  Eve’s Cidery is a small family run orchard and cidery located in Van Etten, in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. We grow apples and other tree fruits and ferment artisanal ciders. We believe in nature, art, good food and hard work. These beliefs influence the way we farm, make cider and sell our product. We hope you can taste some of it in the bottle.

All of our sparkling ciders are made using the Champagne Method. We harvest and press our apples as they mature from early September through November. We blend at the press based on harvest dates and pH for a healthy fermentation. After the primary fermentation in the fall, the ciders are racked and left to mature in stainless steel over the winter. In the early spring, we blend to find dynamism and synergy. The cider is then bottled with a liqueur de tirage, yeast and sugar, to initiate a secondary fermentation. In the cool cider barn, the secondary fermentation proceeds slowly, taking nearly 4 months to complete. The slow secondary fermentation is what creates tiny, persistent bubbles of unrivaled elegance which lift aromas out of the glass and impart a lively, creamy mouthfeel. After a period of rest we disgorge, eject the yeast, every bottle by hand and top it up with a dosage of cider.

Price:  $19
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I’ve been wanting to try cider from Eve’s and even considered ordering them online, but this is the first time I’ve seen them in the Seattle area, so it was an easy choice to pick it up.  This is the only Eve’s variety they had in the store.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells mild, acidic, creamy, of citrus, earth, and green apples.

Tasting Notes:  Completely dry.  Medium bodied with a creamy and frothy texture.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low to moderate tannins.  Low bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of sharp crabapple bite, citrus (orange), peach, potato starch, honey, mineral, white grape, and yeast.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low sessionability.  Moderate to high complexity.  Low flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  This is a very well made cider.  However, its not really my favorite type of cider (dry and sharp).  I knew that going into it, and mostly just wanted to give it a try.  I imagine this would be a great wine lovers cider.  My husband really liked it.

Most Similar to:  Snowdrift Semi DryLiberty Ciderworks New World Style, and Wandering Aengus Wickson, which are all dry and sharp.

Closing Notes:   I’m glad I got a chance to try this cider.  I’m curious if I’ll be able to find any other varieties from them locally; maybe something slightly sweeter and with bittersweet instead of bittersharp apple varieties (their Darling Creek sounds to my liking).

Have you tried anything from Eve’s Cidery?  What did you think?