EZ Orchards Roman Beauty

Review of EZ Orchards’ Roman Beauty cider.  I tried this before (see here), but didn’t do a full review.  I’ve also tried their Semi DryHawk HausPoire, and Williamette Valley 2011 Cidre.

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Cider:  Roman Beauty
Cidery:  EZ Orchards Cidre
Cidery Location:  Rickreal Oregon
ABV:  4.2%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles (and draft)
Style:  American artisan cider, predominantly made from Roman Beauty heirloom apples

Availability:  Likely only in California, Oregon, and Washington

Cider Description:  Roman Beauty Cider is named for the heirloom apple that provides the predominant juice pressed for this blend.  We have been growing this apple variety at E.Z. Orchards since 1929.  Fermented cold and slow to retain a ripe apple aroma, Roman Beauty is a semi-dry cider with mild acidity.

Cidery Description:  We have been orchardists since the 1920s when we began to grow Roman Beauty apples on the farm. When we began specifically producing cidre apples in 2000, the entire orchard was transformed around that intent and slowly took shape. Surrounding the orchards, the larger farm produces a wide variety of fruits that diversify the land and aid in the pollination process, including peaches, pears, and hazelnuts.  Today, we grow a wide variety of heirloom cidre apples including French and English bittersweets, and American semi-sharps. In the Willamette Valley of Oregon where we farm, the ground is an ancient seabed full of rich and nutritious soil. With so much nutrition available to the trees, we have to suppress their vigor through pruning and selection to ensure that each apple receives the most intense nurturing for flavor and aromatics.  We grow our apples with specific cidre blends in mind. As you walk the grounds, it becomes clear that it’s organized around specific cultivation and harvesting techniques, enabling us to manage a precise maturation on the tree that we improve with every year’s lessons. 

Price:  $9.00
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I first tried this when some friends bought a bottle at the cider house and shared some with me.

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First Impression:  Light gold yellow hue.  Low to moderate carbonation.  Smells mild and funky.

Tasting Notes:  On the sweeter side of semi-dry.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Low tannins.  Moderate funk.  No bitterness or sourness.  Notes of partially baked apples, honey, lemon, and a hint of spice.  Moderate length finish.  Low to moderate apple flavor.  Moderate to high sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I really like this cider.  However, this batch was quite different than what I tried a couple years ago; that time it was completely clean, and this time it was significantly funky.  However, batch variability and funkiness are to be expected when using unpredictable spontaneous (wild yeast) fermentation.

Most Similar to:  It reminds me some of Dragon’s Head Wild Fermented (but Roman Beauty is more flavorful, sweeter, and easier to drink) and Eden Guineveres Pearls (but Roman Beauty is drier, less acidic, and less flavorful).

Closing Notes:  I hope to be able to try more ciders from EZ Orchards.  However, they seem to be getting more difficult to find in the Seattle area.

Have you tried cider from EZ Orchards?  What did you think?

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E.Z. Orchards Williamette Valley Cidre 2011

Review of E.Z. Orchards’ Williamette Valley Cidre 2011.  It is my first time trying this cider, but I have previously sampled their Semi Dry, Roman Beauty, Hawk Haus, and Poire.

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Cider:  Williamette Valley Cidre 2011
Cidery:  E.Z. Orchards
Cidery Location:  Rickreall OR
ABV:  6.0%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American Artisan cider from French cider apple varieties, nothing else (no sulfites)

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Availability:  CA, OR, and WA, although this is a very old release

Description:  The Pioneers who settled Oregon’s Willamette Valley in the 1850’s must have marveled at their good fortune. The soil was rich, the water plentiful, the winters mild, and summers ideal, crops seemed to burst from the ground. For more than 150 years small family farms have dominated the Willamette Valley – one of the most productive and diverse agricultural areas in the world. The Zielinski Family and E.Z. Orchards are part of this history and ongoing commitment to the land.

E.Z. Orchards Willamette Valley Cidre is the culmination of 10 years effort to develop our orchard and refine our fermentation technique. We grow a selection of French, English, and Early American apple varieties. The fruit contain essential characteristics, necessary to impart structure and aroma in our Cidre.

They use traditional French cider making methods–pressing their apples in a rack and cloth press, fermenting with wild yeast in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks for 4-6 months, and bottling before fermentation is complete to allow secondary fermentation to take place in the glass.  EZ Orchards has been growing apples since the 1920s.  They were one of the first in the U.S. to plant cider apple varieties, starting in 2000.

Price:  $17.99
Where Bought:  A natural grocery store in a small town in Northern California in December.  I haven’t seen this variety sold in the last couple years in the Seattle area.
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I was super impressed with this store’s selection for now being in a major city or cider region.  I picked up a number of bottles from several cidermakers and packed them in my suitcase for the flight home to Seattle.

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First Impression:  Light pumpkin amber hue.  Moderate carbonation with significant foam.  Smells rich, apple-forward, and tannic.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light bodied with a frothy texture.  Moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low tannins.  Low bitterness.  Moderate funk.  Hints to low sourness.  Notes of apple pomace, yeast, orange, grapefruit, and lemon.  Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.

My Opinion:  I liked it but didn’t love it.  From the scent, I was hoping for more richness and tannins.  The citrus notes and sourness were a surprise.

Most Similar to:  A mix of a French and Spanish cider.  It had the apple and yeast forward flavor of a French cidre with the citrus, funk and sourness of a Spanish cider.  It was the later I didn’t like as much.

Closing Notes:  I look forward to trying more E.Z. Orchards ciders.  So far my favorite is Roman Beauty.

Have you tried E.Z. Orchards Williamette Valley Cidre?  What did you think?

 

E.Z. Orchards Hawk Haus

Review of Hawk Haus from E.Z. Orchards in Salem Oregon.  I’ve previously tried their Roman Beauty and Semi-Dry ciders.

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Cider:  Hawk Haus
Cidery:  E.Z. Orchards
Cidery Location:  Salem OR
ABV:  6.6%
How Supplied:  500ml bottle
Style:  American French-Style wild fermented cider

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Availability:  At least OR, WA, IL, and NY.  Also sold at ShipCider.com.

Cider Description:  Hawk Haus is named after the kestrel nests found on the property and is a blend of Jonathan and Yarlington Mill apples. Pale, yellow-golden in color and lightly hazed with modest, tiny carbonation bubbles like the finest sparkling wines. The aroma is fresh cut apples and an earthy farmyard character. Very pleasant and grounded. Hawk Haus is big, soft and round on the palate with gentle acidity. Notes of cinnamon and brown sugar are reminiscent of apple turnover. The finish is just short of total dryness, with appealing fresh apple flavors from beginning to end.

Fermented at cold temperatures for 6 months using wild yeast.  Bottle conditioned (allowed to finish fermenting in the bottle, which provides natural carbonation).

Cidery Description:  The Pioneers who settled Oregon’s Willamette Valley in the 1850’s must have marveled at their good fortune. The soil was rich, the water plentiful, the winters mild, and summers ideal, crops seemed to burst from the ground. For more than 150 years small family farms have dominated the Willamette Valley – one of the most productive and diverse agricultural areas in the world. The Zielinski Family and E.Z. Orchards are part of this history and ongoing commitment to the land.

E.Z. Orchards Willamette Valley Cidre is the culmination of 10 years effort to develop our orchard and refine our fermentation technique. We grow a selection of French, English, and Early American apple varieties. The fruit contain essential characteristics, necessary to impart structure and aroma in our Cidre.

Price:  $8
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I’ve been wanting to try more ciders from E.Z. Orchards as I enjoyed their Semi-Dry and especially their Roman Beauty.

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First Impression:  Pale straw yellow.  Low carbonation with tiny bubbles and foam upon pouring.  Smells deliciously rich, of sweet ripe apples, honey, floral, and oak.

Tasting Notes:  Dry to semi-dry.  Moderate acidity and tartness.  Hints of bitterness, funk, sourness, and tannins.  Notes of honey, citrus, green apple, and floral.  Light bodied.  Medium carbonation.  Moderate apple flavor and flavor in general.  Quick finish.  Low to moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  My nose was deceiving–I was expecting something richer and sweeter based on the scent.  Instead, this was a nice light fairly dry cider, almost champagne-like (although not as high carbonation).

Most Similar to:  Boonville Bite Hard, Eden Sparkling Dry, and Finnriver Artisan Sparkling Brut.

Closing Notes:   This was enjoyable, but I enjoyed Roman Beauty more, which seemed to have a richer and sweeter flavor.

Have you tried E.Z. Orchards Hawk Haus?  What did you think?