It was actually last fall that I realized that I was shortchanging myself by not looking at ciders. At the Wine Tourism Conference in Portland, Colorado Wines had included several ciders for tasting. While not all of them were to my taste, I realized that ciders had changed a lot from 15 or more years ago, probably the last time I had tried some.
A a cider renaissance seems to be taking root, with all-cider festivals celebrating the historic drink, which ranges across a diversity of flavors and styles, sparkling or still, sweet to bone dry. Chicago's first ever hard cider bar recently opened, featuring more than 100 different cider varieties: apple, peach, pear, and more. I'm a fan of choice and locality, so hopefully some of these ciders will celebrate where they come from as much as what they are made of.
I was therefore really excited to be offered some samples from Sonoma Cider, especially since they work with organic fruit. Anything organic immediately gets extra credit in my book. It all starts with fresh juice from tree ripened apples, no concentrates, ever. They hand select small, organic apples, because their research showed them that smaller organic apples simply yield bigger, more intense flavors. Who could argue with that?
I'm definitely no cider connoisseur - as I said, I haven't really had many in recent memory. This was an exciting way to get back into them, as the quality is apparent even before opening the bottle. Organic, check. Simple and tasteful labels, check. Customized, embossed bottles, check.
My Neophyte Tasting Notes:
The Hatchet (Apple) - nice simple cider, neither overly dry nor too sweet; slightly effervescent and tart finish; tasty with a plate of Alfredo pasta; 6% ABV; SRP $10/12 oz 4 pack.
The Anvil (Bourbon) - slightly more complex, with a flavor of smoked apples; rounder finish; good accompaniment to dry-rub ribs; 6% ABV; SRP $10/12 oz 4 pack.
The Pitchfork (Pear) - pear comes in on the nose and subtly on the finish; fun tasting this with a plate of cheese varieties; 6% ABV; SRP $10/12 oz 4 pack.
Cider samples provided by Trellis Growth Partners: "Trellis Growth Partners is the premier source for marketing strategy and communications for epicurean purveyors in the wine, spirits, and hospitality industries."
This cider was provided for review purposes - all opinions are my own.
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