Review of Sonoma Cider’s Winter Mix 4-Pack, which consists of two 22oz bottles each of The Cutter (a gingerbread cider) and The Sleigh (a winter spiced cider).
>>This is a review of sample bottles provided to Cider Says by Sonoma 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: The Cutter & The Sleigh
Cidery: Sonoma Cider
Cidery Location: Healdsburg CA
ABV: 5.5% (both)
How Supplied: 22oz bottles (and kegs)
Style: American Organic large-craft spiced cider
Availability: These are limited run ciders with less distribution, but Sonoma Cider is generally available in these areas
The Sleigh Description: The Sleigh incorporates seasonal spices such as all-spice, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg combined with organic apple cider. The aromas of warm apple pie followed by buttery cinnamon notes on the nose are sure to conjure up some Yuletide memories.
The Cutter Description: The Cutter captures the best of fresh baked gingerbread – bright, light aromas of ginger, with wellrounded notes of molasses and spiced baked apples in the body. It’s the perfect companion for the holiday season.
Cidery Description: Sonoma Cider was founded in 2013 by 20-year veteran Cidermaster, David Cordtz, with his son and Cofounder, Robert Cordtz. Together they combine decades of industry expertise with next generation dynamism. Sonoma Cider handcrafts the only full line of organic ciders in the U.S., each made with distinctive, all natural, gluten-free ingredients. Sonoma Ciders are produced from freshly squeezed, organic apples in micro batches to deliver intensity of flavor and a refined experience for this rapidly growing category. Sonoma Cider offers four, award-winning “Core Ciders” which are available year-round. This includes the signature, apple cider “The Hatchet,” pear-based “The Pitchfork,” bourbon-flavored “The Anvil”, and sarsaparilla-vanilla “The Washboard”. Sonoma Cider also offers other unique flavors through the “Limited Run” series and “Cidermaker Reserve” series.
Price: n/a (retails for ~$24 for the four 22oz bottles)
Where Bought: n/a
Where Drank: home
How Found: I was contacted about it
The Cutter First Impression: Medium hazy amber. Still (no carbonation). Smells lovely, rather strongly of gingerbread (starch, spices, ginger, sugar) and baked apples.
The Sleigh First Impression: Medium amber. Still (no carbonation). Smells milder, of spices (primarily cinnamon).
The Cutter Tasting Notes: On the sweeter side of semi-dry. Medium bodied. Moderate tartness. Moderate to high acidity. No bitterness, sourness, or funk. Hints of tannins. Notes of gingerbread (starch, spices, ginger), baked apple, and citrus fruit. Long finish length with lingering spice, including a slight amount of ginger at the back of the throat. Moderate sessionability, flavor intensity, complexity, and apple flavor. Mild to moderate spice intensity.
The Sleigh Tasting Notes: Semi-dry. Light to medium bodied. Low tartness. Moderate acidity. No sourness or funk. Hints of tannins and bitterness. Notes of spice (not just cinnamon, but prevalent allspice & cloves), a mild to moderate intensity. Moderate finish length with lingering spice. Moderate flavor intensity, sessionability, and apple flavor. Low complexity.
My Opinion: I preferred The Cutter to The Sleigh, which is interesting as I don’t like ginger; I liked the stronger flavor and higher perceived sweetness (although both have the same residual sugar content). Both however had a stronger scent than flavor. Both were also best when served between fridge and room temperature (which I’ve noticed with most other spiced ciders). I’m not the biggest fan of spiced cider, but I’d call these pretty average & typical of the style.
Most Similar to: Other spiced ciders, such as 2 Towns Nice & Naughty (which is probably my favorite spiced cider), AEppelTreow Sparrow Spiced, Carlton Sugar and Spice, and Elemental Seasonal Spiced Apple. The gingerbread had far less ginger than most other ginger ciders I’ve had, which was nice (and no burn).
Bottom Line: If you are a fan of spiced cider but don’t like your cider as sweet and/or desire an Organic cider, you may enjoy these.
Closing Note: I’m surprised they decided to do 22oz bottles, as it really brings up the price tag (over $20! for the 4-pack). Maybe they were thinking more of holiday parties than a couple sharing it?
Have you tried either of these Sonoma Cider varieties? What did you think?