Applegarden Farm Cider

Review of Applegarden Farm’s flagship cider.  It is my first time trying anything from this cidery.  I was introduced through Press Then Press, a new online cider store focusing on small batch ciders.  I got a sneak peak, but they are planning to launch late Aug / early Sept 2019 having a soft launch Aug 19 and an official launch Sept 9 2019; sign up for e-mails to be first in the know.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Press Then Press.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received it for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review cue.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.<<

Cider:  Hard Cider
Cidery:  Applegarden Farm
Cidery Location:  Tomales CA
ABV:  7.0%
How Supplied:  500ml bottles
Style:  American craft heritage cider from estate-grown heirloom apples

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Availability:  only though Press Then Press (which ships to 43/50 states), unless you happen to be at a specific store in one of a few cities in Northern California

Distributor Description:  Don’t taste the same, taste the difference!  Press Then Press – Farm to you small batch cider.  We focus on small batch and hard to find cider.  Please visit our curated online store!  We are a mom and pop who wanted more fine cider available to everyone (over 21), so we started this up.  Press Then Press will email you when a fine cider is available for purchase.  If you want it, visit our site and purchase it!  Pick up your cider in Seattle, or we ship to you.  Sign up with your email to be included on future available ciders.  You will hear about it first!  1)Press the fruit  then  2) Press the order button

Cider Description:  We decided on a “farmstead cider” which would contain only the apples grown on our farm…We developed our flavor profile to complement the many artisan cheese makers and oyster farmers in our own local area: it’s fairly dry with only a hint of apple “notes,” with a very slight bit of carbonation. It’s an honest and unpretentious beverage, designed for casual or picnic events with an alcohol content of 7%.

Cidery Description:  What a sweet story! Jan & Louis Lee retired and started making cider. They grow the fruit on their land in Tomales, CA in Marin County. The apples and their farm are certified organic.

Price:  ~ $12
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  through Press Then Press

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First Impression:  Light gold hue.  Nearly still (very low carbonation).  Smells of dry tart cider from heirloom apples.

Tasting Notes:  On the drier side of semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate to high tartness and acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of rich tart apple juice and pomace, lemon, and hints of leather, cork, and leather.  Moderate length tannic finish.  Moderate apple flavor, complexity, flavor intensity, and sessionability.

My Opinion:  Great!  I enjoyed the rich tart tannic flavor and that it wasn’t completely dry like so many heritage ciders are.  Between that and the clean flavor (no sourness or funk), it would be a great introductory heritage cider.

Most Similar to:  Alpenfire Foxwhelp SV, Eden Siren Song, Liberty Hewes Crab SV, and E.Z. Orchards Williamette Valley

Closing Notes:  I look forward to trying the other ciders in Press Then Press‘ introductory lineup.  Their website is well laid out and informative, making the order process easy, and providing access to unique ciders which otherwise wouldn’t be available to most folks.

Have you tried Applegarden Farm cider?  What did you think?

Kite & String Baldwin Cider

Review of Finger Lakes Cider House’s Kite & String (formerly Good Life Cider) Baldwin.  This is my first time trying anything from this cidery.

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Cider:  Baldwin
Cidery:  Kite & String
Cidery Location:  Interlaken, New York
ABV:  11.0%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged bottles
Style:  American craft heritage cider from Baldwin & Wickson crabapples, semi-dry, traditional method (methode champenoise)

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Availability:  likely only in the Northeast, plus online sales

Cider Description:  Made from Baldwin apples, with a modest addition of Wickson Crab, this blend highlights the bright tropical notes and intense acidity of these varieties. The high alcohol and robust flavor come from the cryoextraction process (similar to Ice Cider) used to concentrate this juice to 20 brix prior to fermentation. It is then fermented slowly to retain maximum esters and polyphenols, and aged for only a short time to best showcase its fresh and bright, fruit-forward nature.

Semi Dry, Traditional Method.  Pineapple, lime, and Riesling on the nose. Bursting with bright, tropical fruitiness and slight perceptive sweetness on the front palate, moving to thirst quenching mid palate and bracing acidity with a dry, weighty finish.

Cidery Description:  ‘Kite’ means light, playful, balanced, fun. ‘String’ means grounded to a place, our small farm.  Kite & String Ciders are produced at Finger Lakes Cider House on our organic and diversified farm in Interlaken, New York. Please come and visit us in the tasting room any time of the year.

Price:  $18
Where Bought:  online
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I heard they were doing free shipping for the holidays, and I’ve always read good things about their ciders, so it was an easy choice to place an order.  Plus, they have a nice wide selection for all tastes (although it looks like they sold out of this variety since I purchased it).  I also picked up their Honeoye and Royal Cider.

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First Impression:  Medium straw yellow hue.  Moderate to high carbonation.  Smells of sharp apples and citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Dry to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  High tartness and acidity.  Low tannins and bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of sharp apple, lemon, grapefruit, mineral, and hints of floral.  Long tart warming finish.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate flavor intensity and sessionability.  Moderate complexity.

My Opinion:  I wasn’t super into this cider.  I thought the acidity, carbonation, and ABV overpowered the fruitiness, and it was mouth-puckering tart for my tastes.  Actually it tasted more like champagne than cider.  However, my husband loved it.  If you are into drier, super tart, highly carbonated champagne-alternative ciders, I’d recommend it.  I tried this at multiple temperatures and seemed to like it closer to room temperature to tone down the tartness some.

Most Similar to:  Finnriver Artisan Sparkling Brut cider

Closing Notes:  Despite being too tart for my liking, this was a great New Year’s Eve selection, as it is bubbly, and with a higher ABV, one bottle lasted all night.  I bet any leftovers would make good mimosas too, although we didn’t have any left…

Have you tried Kite & String cider?  What did you think?

Eden Heritage Cider

Review of Eden Heritage Cider, their first canned product.  It is my first time trying this, although I’ve tried Eden’s Sparkling DryCinderella’s SlipperHeirloom Ice CiderSparkling Semi-DryNorthern Spy Ice CiderHoneycrisp Ice CiderImperial 11 RoséHeirloom Brandy Barrel Aged Ice CiderGuinevere’s PearlsWindfall Orchard Ice Cider, Two Ellies (collaboration with Tilted Shed), and The Falstaff.

<This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Eden.  Although I will take care to treat it the same as any other review, there is always the potential for bias as I received this for free.  The only consideration I knowingly made was pushing this up in my cider review que, considering it is a new release and the info may be helpful for folks deciding to purchase it.  I love free stuff, especially cider!  Want your cider or cider-related product reviewed here?  Contact me.>

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Cider:  Heritage Cider
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  6.2%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft canned heritage cider

Availability:  VT, MA, ME, NJ, NY, CO, NC, SC, and soon in NH, VA, MD, D.C., and IL, released June 2018

Cider Description:  More flavor.  Less sweet.  Harvest Pressed.  Cold fermented.  Nothing but apples.  Made like wine.  Canned for convenience.

Made from Vermont-grown heirloom & cider apples, fermented dry, aged 5 months, then blended with a touch of ice cider to 1.2% residual sugar.  It won silver in the Heritage Dry category at GLINTCAP 2018.

Cidery Description:  Eden Orchards and Eden Ice Cider began on a trip to Montreal in 2006 when we first tasted ice cider and wondered why nobody was making it on our side of the border.  We had dreamed for years of working together on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom; it was a dream that had vague outlines including an apple orchard, cider, and fermentation of some sort.  That night we looked at each other and knew ice cider was it.  In April 2007, we bought an abandoned dairy farm in West Charleston, Vermont and got to work.  Since then we have planted over 1,000 apple trees, created 5 vintages of Eden Vermont Ice Ciders, and have introduced a new line of Orleans Apertif Ciders.  Out goals are to create healthy soils and trees in our own orchard, to support out Vermont apple orchard partners who do the same, to minimize our carbon footprint, to contribute to the economic and environmental health of our employees and our Northeast Kingdom community, and most of all to make world-class unique ciders that truly reflect our Vermont terroir.

They have a tasting bar on the main floor of the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in downtown Newport Vermont.  Their current product line includes ice ciders, Aperitif ciders, sparkling ciders, and Cellar Series releases.

Price:  n/a (runs $16 / four pack, which sounds like a lot, but is an awesome deal at just over $8 / 750ml instead of ~ $15)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the cidermaker Eleanor Leger contacted me

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First Impression:  Light straw yellow hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells of acidic citrus-forward heirloom apple cider.

Tasting Notes:  Dry to semi-dry.  Light bodied.  Low to moderate tartness.  High acidity.  Low tannins.  Hints of bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of heirloom apple, lemon, mineral, white grape, green apple, and floral.  Low apple flavor.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate to high complexity.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  I enjoyed it.  Lots of flavor without being sweet.  Complex.  More of the flavor profile was from the heirloom apples (acidic, citrus, floral, fruity) than the cider apples (rich, caramel); I’ve found this to be the case when both types are listed in a blend.

Most Similar to:  A mix between Eden’s Dry and Semi-Dry ciders, although slightly less complex and more sessionable.

Closing Notes:  This is a great option which would work just as well when spending time outside on a hot day as it would with a fancy dinner.

Have you tried any canned heritage ciders?  What did you think?