Schilling Cider House Visit 33 Tasting Notes

Tasting notes from my 33rd visit to the Schilling Cider House in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle WA.  Its actually been a few times more than that as sometimes I just pop in to buy bottles.  Check out my past posts with tasting notes here.

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I was there on a Thursday afternoon, before the event for the 4th anniversary of the cider house.  It has been so long since my last visit as its not on my way home from work anymore, as I now both live and work up North, so its a bit of a long drive.  I got a flight, as usual.  Its pretty sweet that even with all the ciders I’ve tried, there were still plenty of new-to-me varieties (I skipped some which didn’t sound interesting though).

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<left to right:  Schilling Passionfruit Lime, Schilling Imperial Passport, Channel Marker Cucumber Blackberry, Schilling Impearial, and Cider Head Pineapple Rum>

Schilling (Auburn WA) Passionfruit Lime (8.0% ABV):  This is a draft-only trial of a passionfruit cider with lime.  Semi-sweet.  Full bodied, and juice-like.  Notes of tart passionfruit and orange with a lime finish.  Hidden ABV.  I especially enjoyed the lime flavor.

Schilling (Auburn WA) Imperial Passport (8.5% ABV):  This is a draft-only trial of an imperial (higher ABV) version of their “Passport” cider, pineapple-passionfruit.  Very similar to the one above, except with pineapple instead of lime.  On the sweeter side of semi-sweet.  Full bodied, and juice-like.  Tart notes of passionfruit with hints of pineapple and mango.  Hidden ABV.  I like both this and the original version of Passport (see my review of a similar cider here).

Channel Marker (Seattle WA) Cucumber Blackberry (7.0% ABV):  This is my second time trying their cider.  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Very tart.  Slightly fruity, but to me it was more cranberry-pomegranate than blackberry, and I didn’t pick up any cucumber.  I thought it was average.

Schilling (Auburn WA) Impearial (8.5% ABV):  This is a draft-only trial version of sweeter version of their new Excelsior (see my review here), except with pear.  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Notes of tart pear, bittersweet apple, and oak.  Hidden ABV.  I liked this, especially as it is less tart as the canned version of Excelsior.

Honey Moon Mead & Cider (Bellingham WA) Cider Head Pineapple Rum (6.1% ABV):  This appears to be a draft-only new release.  Nearly clear and nearly scent-less.  On the drier side of semi-dry.  Mild pineapple flavor with an alcohol-forward rum & oak finish.  I would have preferred more flavor with this one.

My favorites were the three Schilling releases.  I also got a pint of the Passionfruit Lime, but didn’t finish it, as it was a bit filling and sweet to have in that quantity.  I was able to pick up some bottles to take home, but they were out of my favorite English ciders, so I guess I’ll just have to come back!  I tried a new food option this time, a poke bowl from Just Poke (a few doors down the street), which was awesome.

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Stay tuned for more Schilling Cider House tasting notes here at Cider Says.  Have you had any good draft cider / cider flights recently?

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Cider Summit Seattle 2018 Post 2/2 – Tasting Notes

This is post 2/2 on Cider Summit Seattle 2018, with tasting notes on 21 ciders.  Post 1/2 covered the event.  Sorry some of these photos aren’t that great, but this isn’t a photography blog…

The Tasting Notes

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2 Towns (Corvallis OR) Pommeau – I’ve had their Pommeau (cider + apple brandy) a number of times (see my full review here), and have a bottle in my “cellar”, but its probably my favorite U.S.-made Pommeau.  Both me and my husband didn’t want to pass up a sample.  Semi-sweet, rich, easy to drink despite the high ABV, and awesome as always.

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Angry Orchard (Walden, NY) Dear Brittany – This is one of the small batch ciders made at their Innovation Cider House, a French-style keeved cider.  Semi-dry, tart, and funky, with a hint of sourness, although I picked up more heirloom than bittersweet apple flavor.  As expected for a keeved cider, it was very apple-forward and flavorful in general for not being very sweet.

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Blue Mountain (Milton-Freewater, OR) Pete Limely – Semi-dry to dry with notes of tart citrus (especially lemon-lime).  This was a bit too dry and mildly flavored for me, but I liked the overall flavor notes.

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Brownrigg (Seattle WA) Rum Barrel Aged – This is apparently not a new cidery (I read they started in 2014), but this is my first time seeing them, and my first time trying their cider.  Dry.  Very mild flavor, slightly tart, with a rum finish.  I think I would have liked this better if it was a bit sweeter.

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Chelan Craft Cider (Chelan WA) Cider with Lemon – This is a new cidery, and my first time trying their cider.  Semi-dry, with lots of tart refreshing lemon flavor.  I liked it.  I’m curious how they will do in the market though, as their bottles were listed for $23 / 750ml.  I couldn’t tell what type of apples they used – maybe dessert, maybe heirloom.  The price would be more in-line with heirloom, but still on the high end of what I see in stores.

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Cider Riot! (Portland OR) Everyday Passionfruit – Awesome tropical scent, on the drier side of semi-dry, but the passionfruit flavor was very mild and mostly on the finish, which was a bit of a let down.

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d’s Wicked (Kennewick WA) Tropical  On the sweeter side of semi-dry, tart, with notes of orange, pineapple, and passion fruit.  I liked how flavorful it was without being sweet.

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Herb’s Cider (Bellingham WA) Triplet Special Reserve French Oak Aged Semi-Dry – This is a new cidery, and my first time trying their cider.  Semi-dry to dry, thin bodied, super mild flavor intensity, with notes of heirloom apples and hints of oak.  This was a bit too mildly flavored for me.

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Hérout à Auvers (Normandy France) Pommeau de Normandie AOC – Imported by Beauchamp Imports (French Cider Inc.) – they have online sales too by the way.  This Pommeau is made from 3/4 apple cider and 1/4 Calvados (French apple brandy), then aged at least 14 months in oak barrels.  Semi-sweet, both rich/oaky/earthy and fruity (both my husband and I agreed on strawberry), clean (no funk or sourness), easy to drink for the higher ABV, and overall awesome.  I bought a bottle to take home, and think it was an awesome value at $40 / 750ml (as most local Pommeaux run $25 / 375ml).  Pommeau keeps very well by the way, and you can leave a bottle open for months and just have a bit at a time – I think this will be perfect at cellar temp in my cider fridge.  They also brought La Chouette Rosé, Kystin Opalyne, and Herout AOC Cotentin Extra-Brut, which I’ve previously sampled.

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Idun Cider (Seattle WA) Heirloom Dry – This is a new cidery, and my first time trying their cider.  They currently only have this single flagship release.  On the sweeter side of semi-dry, medium bodied, very apple forward, but overall mild in flavor.  I didn’t really taste the heirloom apples (this is listed as having Gravenstein, Winesap, and Newtown Pippin), but I kinda liked it.

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Manoir du Parc (Normandy France) Authentic Rosé – Made from red-fleshed apples and pears.  Semi-sweet, lovely fluffy natural carbonation, and notes of strawberry, watermelon, and pear.  Very reminiscent of La Choute Rosé.  Awesome!

Manoir du Parc (Normandy France) Authentic Cidre – I also re-tried their flagship cidre.  On the drier side of semi-dry, funky and tannic, apple and yeast forward, with a hint of sourness.  My husband surprisingly liked this (usually he dislikes funk, like I dislike sourness).  I think it was because the cidermaker? (or at least some very knowledgeable French dude) was telling us all about it during the tasting.  That sort of experience is what makes me love Cider Summit.

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Miloslawski (Poland) Perry – Imported by Browar Polska Imports.  Semi-sweet to semi-dry, with a very mild canned pear flavor.  I surprisingly liked it.  I was expecting it to be super sweet, but it was a perfect sweetness level for me.

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Ole Swede (Tonasket, WA) Bada Bing! Cider – 90% apple and 10% cherries, co-fermented.  Semi-dry, tart, with a mild real cherry flavor.  They also have a Cherry Perry, which I thought I had tried, but I can’t find anything that I wrote about it, so I guess not!

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One Tree (Spokane WA) Tropical – Semi-sweet, full bodied, juice-like, with a very very similar flavor to Schilling’s Imperial Passionfruit that I tried the night before (as it was made using the same puree from Oregon Fruit Products), but with a hint of pineapple (which One Tree added in addition to the puree and apple juice).  I really enjoyed it, and think it would have been awesome to use it in a cocktail with rum.

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Pear UP (Wenatchee WA) Barrel Hoppin Pear – A barrel aged version of their hopped perry (100% pears, no apple).  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Smooth, mild flavor, with hints of pear, hops, and oak.  I usually don’t go for the mild flavored ones, but that worked well for this one, as hops isn’t something you want to go too overboard with.

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Possmann (Germany) Pure Cider Rosé Black Currant – Imported by Browar Polska Imports.  Semi-sweet with a light fruity flavor, although I couldn’t specifically identify black currant.  I surprisingly liked this, despite the commercialness.

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Ruwet (Belgium) Cidre – Imported by Browar Polska Imports.  Semi-dry, mild overall flavor with apple & citrus.  It tasted a bit commercial to me though, and I would have liked more flavor intensity.  I think this is my first Belgium cider, very cool.

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Schilling (Auburn, WA) Red Wine Barrel Aged Pommeau (paired with chocolate) –  Semi-dry, smells of red wine barrel, but for me the flavor was mostly apple-flavored alcohol burn.  A bit too boozy for my liking.  My husband was a bigger fan.  They also have this on tap at Schilling Cider House right now.

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Seattle Cider (Seattle WA) Red Wine Barrel Berry – On the drier side of semi-dry,  super mild, with hints of berry, oak, and botanicals, and a red wine finish.  Characteristically Seattle Cider.  Surprisingly complex, but for some reason I didn’t really like it, although I couldn’t say why.

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Tieton Ciderworks (Yakima, WA) Oak Barrel Aged Cider Summit Collaboration – Semi-dry, higher carbonation, tart, super mild smooth citrus & oak flavor.

In Summary

It was impossible to taste all the ciders at the event (or even one from each producer), so I’d also like to share previous tasting notes and reviews of ciders from the other cideries I didn’t get to highlight:  Alter Ego, AnthemAvid (previously Atlas), Bad GrannyChatter CreekDouble MountainDragon’s HeadEaglemount, Eden, ElementalFinnriverHi-WheelInclineJester & JudgeJ. Seeds, LibertyLocust, Longdrop, Louis RaisonMaeloc, MontanaMoonlight MeaderyPortlandReverend Nat’sSamuel SmithsSea CiderSnowdriftSteelhead, SwiftWandering Aengus, Washington GoldWildCraft, and Worley’s

My favorites of the day were Herout Pommeau, 2 Towns Pommeau, One Tree Tropical, d’s Tropical, and Manoir du Parc Authentic Rosé.

This event is always the highlight of Washington Cider Week, and the biggest and best cider event of the year in the Seattle area!

Cider Summit Seattle 2018 Post 1/2 – The Event

Epic!  This was my fourth year attending (see here for previous posts), but was the ninth annual Cider Summit in Seattle Washington.  It took place on Friday & Saturday September 7th & 8th.  This is post 1/2, covering the event.  Post 2/2 will cover tasting notes on the dozens of ciders I tried [update – post 2/2 is now up – see here].

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Info

See my preview here.  I attended Friday afternoon, which is awesome as it isn’t too crowded yet, especially the VIP hour (2pm-3pm).  See here for the full event info and here for the full list of cideries (~50?) and ciders (~150-200?).  There were some substitutions and even some cidery cancellations / no-shows, but there were plenty of options, even for someone like me who had tried most of the lineup from most of the cideries.  There was even ice cider, Pommeau, non-apple fruit wines, mead, cyser, and cider cocktails.

Although most ciders were from the PNW, there were a good number of national and international ones as well.  Also, the selections were primarily on the craft (vs. commercial) end.  Angry Orchard made its first appearance at the event, although they mostly brought their fancy ciders.  The biggest changes this year were that the pour size was cut from 4oz to 2oz (and they used plastic not glass), and the number of tickets was doubled.  I really liked that change, as it was easier to try more ciders, and I didn’t have to request small pours.  I wonder if it created longer lines on Saturday though (as folks would be trying more ciders), so it’ll be interesting to see if they repeat it next year.

Entry included a tasting glass, tickets (16 for regular and 24 for VIP, each one good for a 2oz pour of most ciders, less for Pommeau and such though), and wristband.  A cool feature of this event is that in addition to in & out privileges, one entry fee gets you in both days (and you can even skip the line on the second day).  This event is very well organized, by far the best I have gone to.  It is also very consistent year-to-year.

Everything from detailed pre-event information online (even a full cider list) to signage at the event to thinking of the little things like having rinse water available and standing tables in addition to seating.  It is crazy to think about how much work goes into an event of this magnitude…renting a space, tables, canopies, and even fencing…finding volunteers, hiring staff for liquor enforcement and safety (at emergency exits), having extra ice and cider available, etc.

Another thing about this event that I really like is that the folks pouring the cider are associated with the cidery (cidery employees, sometimes even the cidermakers, or the distributor), so you can ask about the cidery and cider.  The crowd was really varied, from cider enthusiasts like myself to people who just wanted to drink.  There were also lots of vendors trying ciders (as it was common for a cidery to bring 2-3 people and swap out).  A number of people brought their dogs.

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Layout

Besides the main attraction of cider booths, they had an event store (with t-shirts and such), an audio booth where they did interviews with some of the cidery reps, food for sale from Capitol Cider, Nutflours Bakery, and a german-style pretzel place (my hubby and I shared a giant pretzel and it really hit the spot, although they were festival priced), some other vendors (jerky, bottled water, Amazon Restaurants, Imperfect Produce, Bark Thins, Drink Cider towels), a dog lounge, and info from the Northwest Cider Association.  The amenities were also above average for an outdoor event, with multiple food options for sale, standing tables, tables & chairs (some covered), port-a-potties (and outdoor sinks), and free water.

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<my haul from the event store, combined with what I got from Schilling Cider House the night before>

My Tips

Friday is typically much less busy than Saturday, especially earlier in the afternoon.  My game plan this year involved sleeping in, having a big lunch, visiting all the cidery booths in order, taking breaks to sit & snack, and getting through all the ciders I wanted to try before dinner time.

I recommend good walking shoes, as you are on your feet for most of these types of events, and there was uneven dirt and patches of grass at this site.  Also, pants with pockets, to put your tasting tickets and cell phone and such in.  I also like bringing my own snacks, especially something starchy, like crackers.  Other must-haves for me are a water bottle, hat & sunblock & sunglasses, notebook & pencil, and some baggies to put the tasting glasses in afterwards when they are sticky.  Its nice having a bag to put all that stuff in, as well as any free swag you want to collect (handouts, stickers, bottle opener keychains).  ID is required to get in, and cash never hurts, although some places (like the Summit store) take cards.

There are also a number of restaurants (and Whole Foods) within walking distance, so another food option is leaving, then coming back after a bit.  I have done that before, but this year we were done by dinnertime on Friday when we left.  Then my husband and I dropped stuff at the car (we parked under the Whole Foods, which is the most convenient and secure, but pricey, $15 after getting $6 off for a validation after buying stuff at Whole Foods), and walked to Rocco’s pizza (mmmm).

A great way to get free admission is to volunteer; they had several shift options each day, and I heard that if you work closing on Saturday you may even get leftover bottled cider.  For the best ticket price, buy them in advance, although there are taxes & fees for online sales.  Although VIP tickets are online sales only, if you want the best price on a regular ticket, you can go to Capitol Cider to avoid the fees.  The event didn’t sell out as far as I know, but the ticket price was higher at the door.  Designated driver tickets ($5) were only available at the door.

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In addition to Seattle, there are Cider Summits in Chicago IL (February), San Francisco CA (April), and Portland OR (June).

Alpenfire Rosy Pommeau

Review of Alpenfire’s Rosy Pommeau.  This is apple brandy from bittersweet & heirloom apples + cider from Aerlie red-fleshed apples.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their DungenessSparkSmokeApoCalypsoEmberSimple CiderCalypsoPirate’s PlankGlowCindersShrubSpiced Tonic ShrubTraditional Heirloom CiderFlameTempest, and Foxwhelp SV.

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Cider:  Rosy Pommeau, 2015 vintage, 2018 release
Cidery:  Alpenfire
Cidery Location:  Port Townsend WA
ABV:  18%
How Supplied:  375ml tall bottles
Style:  American craft Pommeau from bittersweet & heirloom apple brandy + Aerlie red-fleshed apple cider, oak aged

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Availability:  limited, 58 cases released in 2018, likely only available in WA, plus online sales

Cider Description:  Alpenfire’s Rosy Pommeau, Rich, red, high acid juice from Aerlie red apples is partially fermented before halting the fermentation with the addition of the eau de vie. The eau de vie is distilled from our estate organic cider varietals and locally grown organic heirloom apples. Once blended pommeau is aged in neutral oak for 15 + months before bottling. Great as an aperitif or accompanying dessert.

Cidery Description:  We invite you to experience the distinctive flavors of our estate grown ciders. Shaped by our maritime climate’s mild summers and tempered by the foggy mist rolling off of Discovery Bay, our apples maintain the qualities they’ve been treasured for by generations of cider lovers.  Soft tannins, high sugars, hints of bitterness, and an incredible flavor range are the tools the apples bring us.   Slow, cool fermentation, lengthy maturation, and attention to detail is the way we say thank you!

Price:  $26.99
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Pink-orange hue.  Still (no carbonation).  Smells of caramelized strawberry alcohol.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness.  Low tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of strawberry, watermelon, kiwi, and rich apple.  Long finish.  Low to moderate apple flavor.  Very low sessionability.  Moderate to high flavor intensity and complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  However, I prefer Alpenfire’s red-fleshed apple cider Glow, or a Pommeau from typical apples, not so much this combination, as for me the fruity red-fleshed apple flavor competed a bit with the rich boozy Pommeau.  My husband really enjoyed it however.

Most Similar to:  I’ve never had Pommeau from red-fleshed apples, although I’ve had several ciders from red-fleshed apples (Alpenfire Glow, Alpenfire Cinders, Snowdrift Red, Tieton Russian Red) and several Pommeaux (from 2 Towns, Wandering Aengus, EZ Orchards, Etienne Dupont, Finnriver, and Stem).

Closing Notes:  My favorite Alpenfire dessert cider is Smoke.

Have you tried Pommeau?  What did you think?

Tin City Liliko’i Volume 2

Review of Tin City’s Liliko’i Volume 2.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

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Cider:  Liliko’i Volume 2
Cidery:  Tin City
Cidery Location:  Paso Robles CA
ABV:  7.5%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft cider co-fermented with passion fruit, oak aged

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Availability:  limited, likely only in Northern CA, although they have online sales of some of their canned ciders

Cider Description:  Liliko’i is fermented with locally-grown passion fruit, then barrel-aged in French oak barrels for four months, and bottle-conditioned. This process produces a fantastic, semi-dry cider that is perfectly balanced and delicious.

Cidery Description:  As a collaboration between three California wine makers, Tin City Cider was founded in Paso Robles, CA to make fantastic ciders using only the best west coast apples.

Price:  $17.99
Where Bought:  The Jug Shop in San Francisco CA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, while on vacation last year

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First Impression:  Hazy dark yellow.  Very high carbonation.  Smells of sour passion fruit.

Tasting Notes:  Dry to semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low sourness and funk.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  Notes of passion fruit, orange, lime, earth, and heirloom apple.  Moderate length finish.  Low sessionability and apple flavor.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate to high complexity.

My Opinion:  This isn’t a style of cider I enjoy.  It was more in line with my husband’s tastes, so I was happy to let him drink it instead.  Super fizzy at first, and it was impossible to open the bottle without it foaming over, even after letting it sit.  Then we had to let it sit again to get the copious yeast sediment to settle.  I would recommend this for folks who enjoy drier ciders which are wild fermented / sour / rustic / farmhouse style.

Most Similar to:  A drier, milder flavored, and sour version of 2 Towns Passion Statement or Reverend Nat’s The Passion.

Closing Notes:  I’d like to give Tin City another try if I find a cider from them which is of a different style.

Have you tried Tin City cider?  What did you think?

Alpenfire Foxwhelp SV

Review of Alpenfire Foxwhelp single varietal.  It is my first time trying this cider, but I’ve had most of their other ciders – DungenessSparkSmokeApoCalypsoEmberSimple CiderCalypsoPirate’s PlankGlowCindersShrubSpiced Tonic ShrubTraditional Heirloom Cider (batch 1 or 2)FlameTraditional Heirloom Cider (unknown batch)Tempest

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Cider:  Foxwhelp SV
Cidery:  Alpenfire
Cidery Location:  Port Townsend WA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft orchard-based organic cider from Foxwhelp apples

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Availability:  limited, probably only in Washington, plus online sales

Cider Description:  Our first 100% estate single varietal, produced from our organically grown Foxwhelp apples. The Foxwhelp is an English bittersharp cider apple, known for its aromatics and versatility, one of the oldest surviving cider apples still in use, originally from the Gloucestershire area. Historically a single strength cider from this apple would fetch the same price on the market in London as imported French Wine.

Cidery Description:  We invite you to experience the distinctive flavors of our estate grown ciders. Shaped by our maritime climate’s mild summers and tempered by the foggy mist rolling off of Discovery Bay, our apples maintain the qualities they’ve been treasured for by generations of cider lovers.  Soft tannins, high sugars, hints of bitterness, and an incredible flavor range are the tools the apples bring us.  Slow, cool fermentation, lengthy maturation, and attention to detail is the way we say thank you!

Price:  $16.99
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I’m always game to buy anything Alpenfire, as they make some awesome ciders.  They have been coming out with all sorts of new varieties lately.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow.  Smells very mild, acidic and musty.  Low carbonation.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness and funk.  Low to moderate tannins.  No sourness.  Notes of acidic heirloom apple, lemon, must, nut/wood, yeast, and mineral.  Moderate length finish.  Low to moderate apple flavor and sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate to high complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  I had expected more of a rich cider apple flavor, as Foxwhelp is a bittersharp, but this tasted more like an heirloom apple cider than a cider apple cider.  I enjoyed it though, as it was less acidic and more tannic than most heirloom apple ciders, so despite it being fairly dry, it wasn’t at all harsh for my tastes.  However, I still prefer a bittersweet cider apple cider, more like Alpenfire’s Ember.

Most Similar to:  This reminds me of some of Eve’s ciders, although the flavor notes were different.

Closing Notes:  I’m interested to try more of Alpenfire’s new ciders.  I already have a bottle of their Rosy Pommeau at home for example.

Have you tried a single varietal cider?  What did you think?

Louis Raison Rouge Delice

Review of Louis Raison Rouge Delice.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve also sampled their Organic Dry version.  This article gives a nice overview of the cidery, such that they started in 1923, and are the top selling cidermaker in France.

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Cider:  Rouge Delice
Cidery:  Louis Raison
Cidery Location:  Le Theil-sur-Huisne France
ABV:  5.5%
Brix:  6.57 (23 g sugar / 11.2 oz)
How Supplied:  six pack of 11.2 oz bottles
Style:  commercial French cider, from 10% Rouge Delice red-fleshed apples + 90% bittersweet apples

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Availability:  wide release in Europe, plus at least sold in Washington & Oregon in the U.S. since March 2018

Cider Description:  [Rouge Delice] is comprised of Rouge Delice and Bittersweet apples. Rouge Delice apples – grown only in France – are recognized for their unique red flesh, delivering the natural rose hue of the liquid itself.  On the nose, this cider is citrusy with bright acidity, accompanied by hints of strawberry and cranberry.  The taste is floral with hints of white tea, spiced apple, and melon.  Rouge Delice finishes with a soft, sweet hint of playful plum and fruit flavors. 2017 Tastings Gold Medal recipient.

Ingredient List:  hard cider, apple juice, liquid sugar, citric acid, natural flavors, color: E163

Cidery Description:  Observing the growth that the American cider industry has experienced, Louis Raison saw an exciting opportunity to introduce high-quality French cidre to US consumers. With such a rich history in cider making, it seemed like a natural fit. After almost a century of production, the Raison team has shown dedication to the longevity of their cider-making expertise, respect for its cooperative values, and the development of sustainable agriculture. Nothing short of a modern-day family, it is only with the knowledge and expertise of its 300 producers and members of the cooperative that Louis Raison has become the market leader of cidre in France. Years of experience have earned Louis Raison the mastery of the sustainable cultivation of apples from orchard to glass. Ultimately, Louis Raison is proud of its cooperative spirit – between producers of apples, employers of factory workers, and providers to cider drinkers alike, all are a part of the Raison family. Santé!

Price:  ~$2 / single bottle (runs ~$9.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I read about them online, and tried another variety at Cider Summit last year

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First Impression:  Light red hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells sweet, of apple, and slightly fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Sweet.  Medium bodied with a fluffy texture.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, or funk.  Hints of tannins.  Notes of sweet apple, strawberry, and watermelon, with hints of rich bittersweet apple.  Quick finish.  Moderate apple flavor.  Moderate to high flavor intensity.  High sessionability.  Low complexity.

My Opinion:  I really liked the flavor, but it was a bit too sweet for me.  Perfect for summer though.

Most Similar to:  Two other French ciders I’ve had which were made using red-fleshed apples, Domaine du Verger Rosé Cidre Bouche and La Chouette Cidre Rosé.  All three only used red-fleshed varieties as part of a blend.  The La Chouette was my favorite of the three, as it isn’t as sweet, but still flavorful, the most complex, and the least commercial tasting, although it also cost the most per ounce.

Closing Notes:  Louis Raison’s ciders are definitely more commercial tasting than most other French ciders I’ve tried, but are at a nice low price point, and will likely eventually be fairly widely distributed, and therefore able to introduce more folks to French cider, which I think overall is a good thing.  I think it was slightly deceptive to name this ‘Rouge Delice’ and highlight their use of this red-fleshed apple variety when they were only 10% of the mix, but at least the ingredient list on the label clearly stated the percentage, which is better than some other cideries have done (Angry Orchard, I’m thinking of you).

Side Note:  If you are interested in trying American ciders from 100% red-fleshed apples, I recommend Alpenfire GlowAlpenfire Cinders, and Snowdrift Red.

Have you tried French cidre?  What did you think?