Dragon’s Head Heritage Rosé

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 CiderWild FermentedKingston BlackColumbia Crab, Methode Champenoise Perry, Perry, ManchurianSummer Cider, and Heritage.

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Cider:  Heritage Rosé
Cidery:  Dragon’s Head Cider
Cidery Location:  Vashon Island WA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  750ml bottles
Style:  American craft orchard-based heritage rosé cider from red-fleshed apples

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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),

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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?

Portland Cider Pineapple Rosé

Review of Portland Cider’s Pineapple Rosé.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had much of their line-up (see here).

>>This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Portland Cider.  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:  Pineapple Rosé
Cidery:  Portland Cider Company
Cidery Location:  Portland Oregon
ABV:  5.2%
How Supplied:  12oz cans (and draft, plus 19.2oz cans are coming in mid-April)
Style:  American craft cider from dessert apples, with pineapple and blueberry

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Availability:  seasonal, March thru August 2019, in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California

Cider Description:  The juicy and delicate pineapple fruit works beautifully with a hint of blueberry juice, creating an elegant cider on par with the rosé wine that so many love.

Cidery Description:  Portland Cider Company was started in October 2012 by an Oregonian and a family of British expats with the mission of bringing cider, handcrafted in the English tradition, to the Northwest. It has two taproom locations: Portland Cider House at 3638 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, OR 97214; and Taproom & Cidery at 8925 SE Jannsen Rd, Bldg. F, Clackamas, OR 97015.  Visit www.PortlandCider.com and follow @PortlandCider on social media.

Price:  n/a (although it’ll probably run ~ $10.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Smells sweet and fruity.  Very low carbonation.  Hint of peach hue.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of pineapple with hints of green apple and strawberry (I didn’t really pick up any blueberry).  Quick finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Significantly more pineapple than berry.  Super easy to drink.  I was surprised to see the can say 20 grams of sugar, as it tasted less sweet (although the body was what I’d expect for that level of sweetness).  It was a bit less intensely flavored than I prefer and I’d expect with a sweeter cider.

Most Similar to:  a sweeter but less intensely flavored version of 2 Towns Pacific Pineapple plus a hint of strawberry

Closing Notes:  Rosé sure is the hottest cider trend – seems like nearly every cidery has one now.  On that note, I’m surprised they didn’t add a bit more blueberry if they were trying to go for a rosé look, as it was barely rosé.

Have you tried Portland Cider Pineapple Rosé?  What did you think?

Woodchuck Rosé

Review of Woodchuck Rosé.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had most of their line-up (see here).

>>This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Woodchuck.  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:  Bubbly Rosé
Cidery:  Woodchuck
Cidery Location:  Middlebury VT
ABV:  6.1%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American commercial cider from dessert apples with “red” (red-fleshed?) apple juice, and purple carrot for color

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Availability:  wide release

Cider Description:  A bubbly, fruit-forward blush cider made with a blend of red apples delivering a crisp mouth feel.

Cidery Description:  Vermont Cider Company is a leading hard cider maker in the United States, with a state of the art cidery located in Middlebury, Vermont. Vermont Cider Company crafts a variety of ciders for a variety of consumers. There’s ultra-craft Vermont Cider Co., iconic Woodchuck, fruit-forward Wyder’s as well as the classic Magners Irish Cider and Blackthorn, rounding out our import offerings. Vermont Cider Company reinvigorated American hard cider in 1991, with the launch of Woodchuck, and stays focused on the category today through our commitment to crafting innovative and refreshing hard ciders.

Price:  n/a (retails for $9.99-10.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  it showed up

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First Impression:  Pink hue.  Low carbonation.  Smells mildly fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of strawberry with a hint of floral.  Quick finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  Fruity and easy to drink.  However, I’m curious if I really tasted fruitiness from red-fleshed apples (looks like their unfermented juice was used to back-sweeten a drier cider), or my brain saw the pink hue and assumed it would be fruity.

Most Similar to:  Angry Orchard Rosé

Closing Notes:  This is yet another rosé cider release – it looks like every commercial cider brand has now jumped on the trend.

Have you tried Woodchuck Rosé?  What did you think?

Crispin Rosé

Review of Crispin Rosé.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Original, Pacific Pear, Blackberry PearThe Saint, Bohemian, Honeycrisp, Venus Reigns, Steeltown, 15 MenBrowns Lane, and Bourbon Char.

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Cider:  Rosé
Cidery:  Crispin
Cidery Location:  Colfax CA
ABV:  5.0%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles
Style:  American commercial cider from apple & pear juices, with rose & hibiscus petals

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Availability:  wide release, since Jan 2018 – see their cider locator

Cider Description:  Blend of 50% apple cider & 50% pear cider and. Rose petals and Hibiscus give a light tannic quality and “Provence style” Rose’ Wine color. Hints of fresh Strawberry and Honeydew with a tickle of sweetness.

Ingredient List:  filtered water, fresh-pressed hard apple cider, fresh-pressed hard pear cider, pear juice concentrate (finishing sweetener), natural flavors, malic acid, contains sulfites

Cidery Description:  Crispin® ciders are naturally fermented using the raw, unpasteurized juice of fresh-pressed American apples and pears. Through classic cold-fermentation and specially selected wine yeasts, we always stay true to the fruit with authentic flavors and unique aromatic notes that are only present in fresh-pressed cider.

Price:  ~$2 single bottle ($7.99-$8.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  Total Wine
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing

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First Impression:  Still.  Light pink hue.  Smells mild, sweet and fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate tartness.  Low acidity.  No sourness, funk, tannins, or bitterness.  Notes of granny smith applies with hints of berry, floral, and dried pear.  Quick finish.  Low pear and apple flavor.  Low to moderate flavor intensity and complexity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I thought this was pretty average.  I liked that it was drier, but probably because of that, it was lacking in flavor.  I was a bit puzzled as the description said they used hibiscus and rose petals, but they weren’t on the ingredients list (only “natural flavor”).

Most Similar to:  a slightly drier and blander version of Angry Orchard Rosé

Closing Notes:  I think Crispin is a great cider option for folks who live in areas which only get mass produced ciders, as they are a bit drier and less commercial (more real) tasting.  Ace is a bit similar, a commercial cidery with offerings that include some on the drier side, and which taste less commercial.  Crispin’s Original is probably my favorite commercial cider.

Have you tried Crispin Rosé?  What did you think?

Anyday Rosé

Review of Anyday Rosé, 85% hopped cider with 15% rosé wine.  It is my first time trying this.

Cider:  Anyday Rosé
Cidery:  Anyday Brands
Cidery Location:  based in New York, but production is in Paso Robles CA
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  four pack of 12oz cans
Style:  American craft cider from west coast dessert apples with Cascade & Citra hops and rosé wine

>>This is a review of a sample can provided to Cider Says by Anyday Brands.  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.<<

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Availability:  online sales, to most U.S. states (all except AK, AL, DE, HI, KY, MS, OK, and UT)

Cider Description:  Our delicious Rosé cider is a masterfully blended recipe of West Coast apples, rosé wine and cascade and citra hops.  Our company is based in New York, but our rosé is crafted in the heart of the Central Coast Wine Region in Paso Robles, CA. Anyday is 85 percent crisp cider and 15 percent rosé wine with hops, creating the perfect blend of cider and rosé. Oh, and our rosé has an alcohol content of 6.9 percent (we know, nice).

Nutrition Facts:  From their website, per 12oz can – 125 calories, 6g carbs, 1g sugar.

Cidery Description:  Anyday Rosé was created by former NFL player Pat McAfee and former Barstool Sports advertising director Louis Roberts. The pair teamed up with winemakers Andrew Jones of Tin City Cider and Michael Zinke of Zinke Wines.  For more info, see here.

Price:  $32 (including shipping) for two four-packs [or less per can for higher quantities – they even sell a pack of 365 cans]
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the co-founder contacted me, Louis Roberts

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First Impression:  Medium red hue (more than I expected for being only 15% rosé).  Mild to moderate carbonation.  Smells mild, only of hops.

Tasting Notes:  Dry.  Light bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Hints of bitterness from the hops.  No tannins, funk, or sourness.  Notes of green apple, hops, citrus, and hints of floral & non-specific fruitiness.  Moderate length finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability and flavor intensity.  Low to moderate complexity and hops flavor.

My Opinion:  This one really grew on me.  At first I wasn’t really getting why you’d mix a hopped cider with a rosé, but by the end of the can I liked it.  Despite this being dry and hopped, which you think would limit their market a bit as not everyone likes both of those, I could see this having more appeal.  It drinks like it is a bit sweeter, likely due to that bit of fruitiness.  It was plenty easy for me to drink even though I don’t usually go for a fully dry cider.  Plus it actually had some unexpected complexity.  I did however find it interesting that their marketing emphasizes the rosé part and nearly skips over that this is hopped, as for me the hops made more of an impact on the flavor than the rosé aspect.  Maybe because rosé is so hot right now?  At $4 / can for their lowest quantity option it isn’t the cheapest, but not super expensive either.

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Notes on Shipping:  As this product is only available online, unlike most of my review ciders, receiving it through the mail was part of the standard process, so I thought I’d add a bit about that.  They ship from Paso Robles CA and use FedEx, which is awesome as they are way more alcohol-friendly than UPS.  If you won’t be home during the day to sign for it, you can have the package held at a number of location options (like FedEx shipping stores), instead of only the main UPS facility (which for me is about 45 minutes away, so a big pain).  You don’t even need to have a FedEx account to do that (through the tracking number you can manage the shipment as a guest as long as you know the address info and such).  It was packaged in a cool branded box.

All 8 cans arrived intact, although a few had small dents.  I think the packaging was average – likely sufficient in the majority of cases, but I’ve seen better.  I received several order status updates by e-mail.  Overall everything went smoothly and it was convenient.  The only drawback to only online sales that I can see is the delay between ordering and receiving, plus unlike picking it up at a store, it won’t arrive pre-chilled (most stores around me have the majority of their beers & ciders in fridge cases), except maybe in winter I guess.

Most Similar to:  a drier version of Incline Compass Rosé, which is also a hopped rosé cider, although only available in the NW

Closing Notes:  This is a unique product in that it is only sold online, seems to be targeting younger folks / Millennials (very Instagramable), and they even have a guarantee of a full refund if you don’t like the product (I can’t think of any cidery which has that in writing, although I’m sure most of them would make it right if you contacted them about being dissatisfied.  Its a nice thing to have when spending $32+ on something new.).  I’m interested to see what they will release next – whether it will be another cider, or something else, like a beer or wine.

Have you tried Anyday Rosé?  What did you think?

La Chouette Cidre Rosé

Review of La Chouette Cidre Rosé, a French rosé cidre, made from apples (including red-fleshed) and pears.  It is my first time trying this, but I have had their Demi-Sec (see here).

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Beauchamp Imports / French Cider Inc.  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:  Rosé
Cidery:  La Chouette Cidre
Cidery Location:  Saint-Pair-sur-Mer, France
ABV:  4.5%
How Supplied:  330ml (12oz) single bottles
Style:  French cidre from apples (including red-fleshed) and pears, demi-sec

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Availability:  In Washington, through Beauchamp Imports, plus online at their French Cider Inc. website.  In addition to La Chouette’s Rosé, they also offer their Demi-Sec.

Cider Description:  La Chouette Cidre Rosé is an all-natural craft cidre made from red-fleshed apples and pears – giving it a beautiful rose color and a bright, crisp demi-sec flavor. Thirst quenching and easy to drink, our 2018 prediction is that it will become one of your favorites.  No gluten, no added sugar and no added flavoring.

Cidery Description:  La Chouette—which means “the Owl” in French—refers to the surprising bond between this elusive night bird and French cidre. Traditionally, many farmers in the northwest of France made their own cidre with apples from their orchards. Often, the farmers made their cidre in barns, where the owls could be seen watching over the production from their perches under the roof. Thus La Chouette has always looked after French cider and continues to look over our cidre today.

See here for more on the cidery, and here for more on the cider.

Price:  n/a (retails for $5.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  the importer Joan Harkins contacted me (we met at Cider Summit Seattle 2017)

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First Impression:  Moderate red hue.  Smells of pear, watermelon, and strawberry.  Moderate carbonation.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet.  Light bodied, with a fluffy texture.  Low to moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, tannins, or funk.  Notes of canned pear, watermelon, strawberry, green apple, and lemon.  Long tart fruity finish.  Moderate complexity.  High sessionability.  Moderate to high pear flavor and flavor intensity.  Low apple flavor.

My Opinion:  Awesome!  I really enjoyed everything about it – flavor, texture, complexity, and balance.  The flavor has a lot of the notes from the red-fleshed apples, plus pear.  You can tell that this is naturally (not force) carbonated, as it has such a fluffy texture, which helped make it seem lighter bodied than is typical for this level of sweetness.

Most Similar to:  nothing I’ve had, as this was like a combination of French poire (perry) and cider from red-fleshed apples

Closing Notes:  I found this far superior to most American commercial rosé selections.  It was more on par to ciders from red-fleshed apples (such as Alpenfire Glow and Snowdrift Red), although it had the added French and pear components.

Have you tried French cidre or rosé cider?  What did you think?

Angry Orchard Rosé

Review of Angry Orchard’s Rosé, their newest release.  It is my first time trying this, but I’ve had most of their line-up (see here).

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by Angry Orchard.  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:  Rosé
Cidery:  Angry Orchard
Cidery Location:  Walden NY (their R&D facility)
Cider Production Locations:  Cincinnati OH & Breingsville PA
ABV:  5.5%
How Supplied:  six pack of 12oz bottles
Style:  American commercial rosé-style cider

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Availability:  wide release, year round, since February 2018 (they have a Cider Finder)

Cider Description:  The red flesh apples in Angry Orchard Rosé are from France.  Each apple is crisp, juicy and red to the core, adding an irresistible rosy blush and apple-forward taste with a refreshing, dry finish.  Angry Orchard Rosé can be enjoyed outside with friends or at the dinner table.

Apple Varieties: Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and red-fleshed apples sourced in France

Ingredients:  hard cider, water, cane sugar, apple juice concentrate, malic acid, natural flavor; colored with red flesh apples, sweet potato, radish, and hibiscus

Price:  n/a (retails for $7.99-9.99 / six pack)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I spotted it in a grocery store, then read about it online, then some showed up

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First Impression:  Moderate pink hue.  No carbonation.  Smells very mild, fruity and floral.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Low to moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of watermelon, strawberry, floral, and green apple.  Quick finish.  Low apple flavor and complexity.  Low to moderate flavor intensity.  High sessionability.

My Opinion:  I liked it.  However, its more on the easy drinking on a hot summer day end of the scale.  Also, I think this would have benefited from carbonation, as it was a bit flat and full bodied for not being too sweet.  I liked that they went all-natural on the color, but I wish the ingredient list as a whole was more natural as well.

Most Similar to:  This is much less complex and refined than something like Alpenfire Glow or Snowdrift Red (both made from red-fleshed apples) or Sea Cider Ruby Rose (with rhubarb and rose hips).  It was closest to Square Mile Rosé, except sweeter.

Side Note:  I’m getting annoyed with cideries advertising the cider was “made from/using/with X apples”, when very little of that cider apple variety was used.  I get why though – consumers are becoming better educated, and are pushing the market.  Data shows commercial cider sales are down and craft cider sales are up.

Marketing tactics are something all consumers should be aware of.  For example, if a cider says it is made from bittersweet cider apples but it is closer to clear than amber, then more dessert and/or heirloom apples were likely used than bittersweet apples.  The press release for this cider focuses on the use of red-fleshed apples, but from the ingredient list and low price, it is apparent that very few were used.  There is nothing wrong with that…I just think it is deceptive marketing.  Unfortunately it is quite common.

Closing Notes:  Rosé seems to be the latest cider trend, with all the big names releasing one – Angry Orchard, Crispin, Strongbow, and more.  However, the style isn’t yet defined for cider.  So far the term has been used for everything from a cider with fruit or hibiscus added, up to the good stuff made 100% from red-fleshed apples (like Alpenfire Glow, Alpenfire Cinders, and Snowdrift Red).  In wine it refers to a white wine that receives color & flavor from red grape skins.  In cider, so far it seems to just refer to the color.

Have you tried any rosé ciders?  What did you think?

Domaine du Verger Rosé Cidre Bouche

Review of Domaine du Verger’s Rosé Cidre Bouche, a French cider made with some red-fleshed apples to give it a rosé hue.  It is my first time trying this cider and anything from this cidery.

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Cider:  Rosé Cidre Bouche
Cidery:  Domaine du Verger
Cidery Location:  Brittany France
ABV:  2.5%
How Supplied:  750ml corked & caged champagne bottles
Style:  French rosé doux/sweet cidre from French cider apples, including red-fleshed varieties

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Availability:  semi wide release

Cider Description:  100% apple juice from 90% bittersweet apples and 10% bitter apples. The pink coloration is natural from the adjunction of a specific variety of apple with red flesh named : Baya Marisa.  To make a cider “doux /sweet” the alcoholic fermentation is shorten to about 5 weeks leaving higher natural residual sugar and resulting of a lower alcohol content. It is then followed by a filtration and an adjunction of Co2 for carbonation. 

The bittersweet apple varieties are from Brittany France and the bitter apple varieties are from Normandy France.

Cidery Description:  Since 1983 the Val de Rance cooperative has brought together the cider-making experience of 300 passionate local growers from Brittany. After recent investments, the cooperative has expanded and modernised its equipment. Today, Val de Rance represents over a 1,000 acres of orchards, producing ten to fifteen thousand tons of apples each year.

The cider from Domaine du Verger is produced from 100% apple juice. All the apples are harvested 90% from Brittany (bitter-sweet) region and 10% from Normandy (bitter). After being cleaned, the apples are gently crushed; they are then fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks, and carefully filtered with the addition of Co2 for the carbonation.

Price:  $7.99
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  It was the first time I had seen the brand, and the first time I had seen a rosé French cidre.

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First Impression:  Light rosé hue.  Moderate carbonation.  Smells mildly fruity.

Tasting Notes:  Sweet.  Medium bodied, with a fluffy frothy texture.  Moderate tartness.  Moderate acidity.  No bitterness, sourness, funk, or tannins.  Notes of strawberry, white grape, and pomegranate.  Low apple flavor.  Low complexity.  High sessionability.  Moderate flavor intensity.

My Opinion:  I liked the flavor, and loved the higher carbonation and texture.  However, it was sweeter, lower ABV, and more juice-like than I prefer.

Most Similar to:  I’ve had several ciders from red-fleshed apples, including Alpenfire Glow, Alpenfire Cinders, and Snowdrift Red.  This was quite different than any of those ciders, and quite different than any of the French ciders I’ve had.  It tasted more like a cider from American dessert apples which was back sweetened with a lot of fruit juice, then highly carbonated.

Closing Notes:  Rosé (grape) wine is from blush grapes.  For cider, it typically refers to red-fleshed apples.  Here is a nice article on rosé cider.  Cidre Bouche literally means “cider with a cork”; many French ciders are named as such.

Have you tried Domaine du Verger Rosé Cidre Bouche?  What did you think?

Eden Imperial 11 Rosé

Review of Eden’s Imperial 11 Rosé.  This is their newest cider, an Imperial cider made with red currant, sweetened with a bit of ice cider.  I’ve previously tried a number of their ciders; see here.  I ordered this and a few other bottles through their online store, so stay tuned for more Eden reviews.

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Cider:  Imperial 11 Rosé
Cidery:  Eden Specialty Ciders
Cidery Location:  Newport VT
ABV:  11.o0%
How Supplied:  375ml (and 750ml) bottles
Style:  American craft Imperial (high ABV) rosé (blush colored) cider with red currant, sweetened with ice cider

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Availability:  Their ciders are at least sold in AK, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, IL, MA, MD, ME, MI, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, SC, VT, WA, and British Columbia, although this one has less distribution, and likely didn’t make it too far beyond VT.  Eden also offers online sales when allowed by state.

Cider Description:  Heirloom apple cider made with red currant and lightly dosed with ice cider. It is just off-dry and gently fizzy, with bright acidity and chewy tannic structure. A perfectly refreshing summer sipper!

This semi-dry tannic rose cider is fermented with red currant juice and slightly sweetened.  It is made from a blend of traditional and heirloom apple varieties grown within 200 miles of our cidery.

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 VT.  Their current product line includes at least eight ice ciders, two Aperitif ciders, and dry & semi-dry sparkling ciders.  They also have a cider club where members get access to special release ciders not available to the public.

Price:  $7.00 (for 375ml; or $14 for 750ml)
Where Bought:  Eden’s online store
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  I had read about its release on Facebook, and had been wanting to do an online order for awhile, as there are a number of varieties not available locally.

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First Impression:  Lovely rosé red hue.  Low carbonation with tiny tiny bubbles.  Smells of strawberries and watermelon.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry.  Light to medium bodied.  Moderate to high tartness and acidity.  Low bitterness.  Low tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of red currant, strawberry, watermelon, honeydew melon, and raspberry.  Long slightly boozy finish.  Low apple flavor.  Moderate flavor intensity.  Moderate complexity.  Low sessionability.

My Opinion:  Yum!  I also think this cider is an excellent value, especially considering the high ABV (the 375ml bottle was plenty for me for the evening due to the 11% ABV) and the high cost of heirloom apples and red currants.

Most Similar to:   I more commonly see black currant used in cider.  The only one with red currant I’ve had is Finriver’s newish Liberry Brandy Wine (see here), although I heard Schilling made a Red Currant Ginger cider recently.  I’ve a huge fan of Imperial cider though.

Its uncommon to have a fruity/flavorful Imperial cider.  I think it would be quite difficult to pull off, as a high ABV cider typically requires high sugar content apple juice fermented completely dry, which often results in a less flavorful cider.  Yet in this case the red currants still shown through, which I think is a sign of experienced cidermaking (and likely a lot of experimentation!).  I think the bit of ice cider back sweetening helped in this case make it less harsh, as a completely dry, tart, and high ABV cider can be a bit much.

Closing Notes:   Another winner from Eden!

Have you tried any rosé ciders?  What did you think?

WildCraft Cider Works Wild Rose

Review of Wild Rose from WildCraft Cider Works. WildCraft was nice enough to send me a box full of their cider (which is especially awesome as they aren’t yet available in WA), so I have a number of varieties from them to review in the coming weeks.  This was the second bottle of seven I tried.

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>>This is a review of a sample bottle provided to Cider Says by WildCraft Cider Works.  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.<<

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Cider:  Wild Rose
Cidery:  WildCraft Cider Works
Cidery Location:  Eugene OR
ABV:  7.5%
How Supplied:  500ml bottle

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Availability:  Year round, but currently only in Eugene, Portland, and Medford Oregon.

Cider Description:  A WildCraft exclusive!  Whole wild roses undergo a lengthy cold conditioning and secondary fermentation on a unique blend of our wild fermented cider.  Fresh, crisp and aromatic notes of rose petals lead to a complex cider mid-palate, finishing dry and very smooth.

They use wild foraged botanicals in this line of their ciders.  This one is made from Honeycrisp apples and sweet Briar roses.

Cidery Description:  At WildCraft Cider Works, we pride ourselves on developing innovative, artisanal dry ciders inspired by traditional and wild methodology. Insisting on whole fruit and botanicals grown in Oregon to create pure ciders without artificial flavorings, sulfites or added sweeteners. WildCraft cider is uniquely dry cider unpasteurized & bottle conditioned. We consider ourselves stewards of the outdoors; always acting consciously to ensure that our ingredients are regional.

WildCraft sets themselves apart from most other cideries by using mostly fruit from old homesteads that would otherwise go unused, plus unwanted fruit from community drives.  All their fruit is Oregon-grown and pressed at the cidery.  In addition to ciders, they also have a line of perries (made from pears).  They avoid the use of sulfites in their ciders, which is quite rare and can be difficult to pull off.

WildCraft has a tap house at their Eugene OR cidery with 10 of their ciders & perries on tap at a time, plus they have a full bar (including cider cocktails), and a full farm to table restaurant!  This article from Feb 2015 has a nice writeup on them.

Price:  n/a (but retails for $6.99)
Where Bought:  n/a
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Facebook and word of mouth

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First Impression:  Slightly hazy light straw yellow with the slightest pink tint.  Light carbonation.  Smells like a dry acidic cider, wild fermented, with some floral & herbal qualities.

Opinion:  Completely dry.  It has some sweet floral qualities, yet it is lacking in residual sugar.  Moderate acidity and astringency.  Mild bitterness, sourness, tartness, and funk.  Light bodied.  Moderate length finish.  Same as Snake River Rye, I found it a bit alcohol-forward (although it is 7.5% ABV, which is higher than average), but slightly less so.

Most Similar to:  Two of the floral ciders I’ve had before have been commercial and on the sweeter side, Angry Orchard Elderflower and Woodchuck Out on a Limb Oopsy Daisy (chamomile), plus one that was craft but still on the sweeter side, Finnriver Honey Meadow (lemon balm & chamomile).  This one was on the other side of the sweetness spectrum, and the floral flavor was even lighter.

Closing Notes:   Wild Rose was quite an interesting cider, but it wasn’t really to my liking.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I wasn’t a huge fan, but I imagine a bit less sour, funk, & wild fermentation flavor and/or a bit more residual sugar would have helped.  I don’t mind dry, but it has to be a certain type of cider for it to work for me.  I did however enjoy the light floral flavor.  I opened this (and four other WildCraft ciders) at a cider tasting I had, and two folks really loved it.  I think people looking for a unique floral cider on the dry end of the spectrum who aren’t opposed to some sourness and funk should give this a try.  Just because I wasn’t a huge fan doesn’t mean you won’t be.  I think WildCraft is really on to something with making a unique local product.  I look forward to trying the rest of the ciders that came in my sample box!

Have you tried any WildCraft cider?  What did you think?