Review of Whitewood Cider’s Northland, described as a medium dry cider made from heirloom and traditional cider apples grown in the Pacific Northwest. Whitewood Cider was started in Olympia Washington in 2012 and released their first ciders in 2013 (check out this article). I’ve tried five other ciders from them (Summer Switchel, Red Cap, Whiskey Barrel Aged Kingston Black, Gravenstein Old Fangled 2012 Harvest, and Gravenstein Old Fangled Barrel Aged), but this is my first full review.
<I love the styling of their bottles!>
Cidery: Whitewood Cider
Cidery Location: Olympia Washington
How Supplied: 750ml clear glass bottle
Style: American craft cider made from heirloom and traditional cider apples
Availability: Per this list, only in Washington, including Olympia, Seattle, Federal Way, Tacoma, and Eastern Washington.
Cider Description: Our Northland Traditional Blend is traditional as it gets. European cider apple varieties blended at the press, fermented through the winter, racked, blended again and matured into early Summer. Lightly back-sweetened for balance and bring out fruitiness.
Floral spicy sweet nose, with strong characteristics of sweet apple, stone fruit, ripe orange and a tropical fruit acidity and wine-like tannic/bitter notes balanced with a crisp clean finish.
Note that it looks like this description is from another release, Northland Traditional, which only used traditional cider apples. Mine says both heirloom and traditional cider apples were used.)
ADDED: Dave White from Whitewood said this batch was actually all bittersweets & bittersharps. For awhile some Newtown Pippins had been added “to open it up a bit but the cider evolved and softened to no longer need it.”
Cidery Description: Whitewood Cider is the South Puget Sound’s first craft cidery. Officially we are a nano cider and can be hard to locate. Fear not as you’ll be able to find us at the finest bottles shops as well pubs and and restaurants that are the most dedicated to locally made craft cider.
Too often the word traditional is haphazardly thrown around when it comes to making cider. At Whitewood Cider Company we make hard cider seasonally, as traditional as it gets, just as cider has always been made.
- We pick and press apples in the Autumn as they are ripe and properly sweated out to produce the thickest richest juices possible.
- Our ciders ferment slow all throughout the Winter at the cold ambient temperatures of South Puget Sound
- We rack and blend our ciders in the late Winter and early Spring.
- Curing the late Spring after the ciders have had ample time torest and mature, we rack our cider once more and begin bottling and kegging.
When it comes to apple selection and cidermaking we have a “no compromise” approach. We believe cidermaking is an art and that the best fruit and the best practices yield the best cider possible.
Whitewood Cider is owned and operated by Dave White (of Old Time Cider) and Heather Ringwood. Visits to their Olympia Washington cidery are by appointment only.
Where Bought: Schilling Cider House
Where Drank: home
How Found: Browsing. I had been wanting to try a bottle and do a full review, and this one sounded like something I’d enjoy.
First Impression: Dark straw yellow / light amber. Very little carbonation upon pouring, and a light foam ring. Smells fairly simple and clean, of mild apple juice and yeast.
Tasting Notes: Semi-dry, although with all the fruity notes some may perceive it as sweeter. Medium bodied. Nearly still (very little carbonation). Moderate acidity. Mild tartness. Mild tannins. No bitterness, sourness, or funk. Notes of apple, honey, yeast, mineral, floral, tropical fruit, and citrus. Slight richness. Moderate length finish with some unexpected warming. Moderate complexity. Strong apple influence. High sessionability.
My Opinion: Yum! I enjoyed all the apple flavor in this one, likely a product of them back sweetening the cider. This would make a great introductory craft cider..it retains some sweetness, the tannins remain mild, and it has a lot of apple flavor.
Most Similar to: Other semi-dry apple-forward ciders. It actually reminds me of Breton French ciders, except with much less carbonation, as it is so apple and yeast forward (although French ciders are typically keeved, not back sweetened).
Closing Notes: I enjoyed this cider and look forward to trying more from Whitewood. I still haven’t tried South Sounder, or the regular Old Fangled blend (instead of the single varietal Gravenstein one). My favorite cider from them remains the limited release Whiskey Barrel Kington Black, which I tried last year at Cider Summit Seattle and an event at Capitol Cider with Bill Bradshaw, and was one of my favorite ciders of 2015. Hopefully they make it again, as I didn’t get to purchase any bottles.
Have you tried Whitewood Cider Northland? What did you think?