Review of Dragon’s Head Heritage Rosé cider, made from red-fleshed apples. This differs from a modern rosé cider which would add non-apple juice, hibiscus, etc, to get the red hue. I tried this at a WA Cider Week preview event at Dragon Head’s own orchard (see here), plus I’ve had their Traditional Cider, Wild Fermented, Kingston Black, Columbia Crab, Methode Champenoise Perry, Perry, Manchurian, Summer Cider, and Heritage.
Cider: Heritage Rosé
Cidery: Dragon’s Head Cider
Cidery Location: Vashon Island WA
How Supplied: 750ml bottles
Style: American craft orchard-based heritage rosé cider from red-fleshed apples
Availability: probably only in Washington and Oregon (see a list of retailers here), plus online sales
Cider Description: Our Heritage Rosé Cider gets its lively pink color entirely from the Redfield and Mountain Rose apples we use to make it. Unlike typical apple varieties, in the Spring the blossoms on these trees are pink, the leaves are even a reddish bronze, and amazingly the flesh of these unique apples is red in color. When the apples are pressed the juice is a crimson color that lightens and clears into the beautiful rosé that you see in the bottle.
Cidery Description: From apple to bottle, all right here on our farm. At Dragon’s Head Cider, we take a traditional approach to cider making. Our focus is on the apple varieties that we use and the quality of the fruit. We love the story that apples alone can tell through cider, altering the flavor by changing the blend of apple varieties that we carefully select. The process is simple and the ingredients list is short. Perhaps we’re a little old fashioned.
Price: ~ $19
Where Bought: Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank: home
How Found: a tasting event (see here),
First Impression: Medium pink hue. Very low carbonation. Smells mild and fruity.
Tasting Notes: On the drier side of semi-dry. Light bodied. Low to moderate tartness and acidity. Hints of tannins and bitterness. No sourness or funk. Notes of complex heirloom & tart green apple with hints of lemon, berry, rhubarb, and watermelon. Moderate length tart finish. Low apple flavor. Low to moderate flavor intensity. Moderate complexity. High sessionability.
My Opinion: I enjoyed it. However, I personally prefer ciders which are a bit sweeter and fuller flavored. I’d recommend this for folks who like a fruity cider but without the sweetness that most have. I’m always amazed by how many different flavors can occur just from apples, like the fruitiness from red-fleshed apples.
Most Similar to: Other heritage rosé ciders made from 100% red-fleshed apples, such as Snowdrift Red (a tad sweeter and more tart), Tieton Russian Red (sweeter), Alpenfire Glow (much sweeter and very full-flavored), and Alpenfire Cinders (drier and super bubbly since its methode champenoise).
Closing Notes: I’m often torn between heritage and modern ciders, as they both have so much to offer, but thankfully I don’t have to choose between them.
Have you tried heritage rosé cider from red-fleshed apples? What did you think?