Review of Oliver’s Gold Rush Cider, batch #2. This was a collaboration between Tom Oliver (of Oliver’s Cider and Perry in the UK) and Gregory Hall (of Virtue Cider in Chicago). I’ve previously tried Oliver’s Herefordshire Perry and Desire.
Cider: Gold Rush
Cidery: Oliver’s Cider and Perry
Cidery Location: Herefordshire United Kingdom
How Supplied: 750ml twist-top bottle
Style: English still cider from cider apples, wild yeast fermented, oak aged, secondary fermentation
Availability: limited, although in general Oliver’s can at least be found in the UK, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, and USA (see here).
Cider Description: Have you noticed similarities between Tom Oliver’s wild yeast- fermented ciders and traditional lambics? You aren’t the only one. During a visit to Oliver’s farm in 2011, Greg Hall – former brewmaster at Goose Island, and current cidermaker at Virtue Cider in Chicago – proposed a collaborative cider made in the traditional way, but with a lambic yeast thrown in for further complexity. The result is the Gold Rush: a…sparkling, medium dry cider with a deep, burnished color made from 100% bittersweet and sharp vintage cider apples from traditional Herefordshire farms. The juice was slow fermented by wild yeasts in old oak barrels through a cold winter and underwent malolactic fermentation in the warm spring. Oliver then added fruit sugar and lambic yeasts for a second alcoholic fermentation, adding a touch more alcohol and complexity. It was finished in oak, for maturity, before final blending and bottling. The first transatlantic cider that is everything a bittersweet cider should be.
Cidery Description: Oliver’s strives to produce premium products, while valuing the health and well being of its consumers, its employees, the earth’s natural resources, and the environment. In fact, Oliver’s have created a charter that they hope all cider makers will follow. Its tenets are these:
- To help secure the future of UK orchards and their ecosystems
- Preserve the integrity of cider and perry as valuable products of recognized quality using only UK fruit
- Declare ingredients (with traceability), based on a minimum juice content of 85%, control and minimize additives and use only natural products.”
Where Bought: The Jug Shop in San Francisco CA
Where Drank: home
How Found: Browsing during a cruise port stop.
First Impression: Moderate amber hue. Still (no carbonation) with some froth. Smells amazingly complex, of bittersweet apple juice, caramel, and a hint of funk.
Tasting Notes: On the sweeter side of semi-dry. Light bodied. Low tartness, acidity, and bitterness. High tannins. Hints of funk. No sourness. Notes of bittersweet apple, caramel, leather, orange, brown sugar, must, and spice. Long finish. Moderate to high apple flavor and complexity. Low sessionability. Moderate flavor intensity.
My Opinion: Amazing! This was crazy rich and complex. I love the color too – it is so rare to find such a naturally dark cider. I was surprised to not find more funk or any sourness, which is rare for a wild fermented cider. This is now one of my favorite English ciders. Best drank at cellar temperature (in between fridge and room temperature).
Most Similar to: Henney’s Vintage, Rocquette XC Exceptional Cider, and Finnegan Harvest Blend
Closing Notes: I hope I get the opportunity to try more varieties from Oliver’s! I liked this one just slightly more than Desire (as Gold Rush was more tannic and complex).
Have you tried Oliver’s Gold Rush? What did you think?