Cidermaker's Reserve: Our finest cider yet

We recently released our latest batch of Cidermaker's Reserve – the best of our ciders from the 2011 crop, coaxed through an extra year of conditioning, through the méthode Champenoise. We've been excited for its release, and have been absolutely enamored with this year's batch. It's a super complex, layered cider: rich in bittersweet apple tannin, but not over the top; juicy with sweet fruit aromas (think tree-ripe peaches, kiwi, grapefruit), but not sweet itself; brimming with vibrant aromatics – floral, faintly woody (maybe cedar or birch?), fall apples, subtle phenolics (that woody / spicy / sometimes smoky deep tone), and faint sweet candy. It drinks with an assertive astringency which highlights its dry character, but there is a touch of sweetness that darts in and out of the shadows in the background, bringing hints of fruit to the front before quickly dashing away again. 

Now, for the second year in a row, our Cidermaker's Reserve has been awarded first place in the bottle conditioned category at the Three Counties International Cider & Perry Competition in Malvern, Worcestershire. It's also been selected as one of "Five Washington Ciders to Try Now" on the Forbes Travel Guide Blog. We're absolutely honored – and hate to let this cider go, as we'd love to drink it all ourselves – but it's so good we want to share!

Peter, Tim and Robert bottling Cidermaker's Reserve at the start of its secondary in-bottle fermentation process


Cornice – New Batch!

We're releasing a new batch of Cornice this week, this time aged in Dry Fly Distillery's Washington Wheat Whiskey barrels. It's a refreshingly thirst-quenching cider – light, bright, but deep at the same time. There's a soft fruit flavor floating throughout that Lars thought was something like apricot jam, but we think Grace hit the nail on the head when she pegged it as starfruit. It's a light, creamy, hard-to-pin-down flavor. That's all hovering over subtle deeper tones of caramel, vanilla, fresh biscuits and roasted marshmallows from the Dry Fly barrels. 


Cider on KCTS9: PIE

This week, in honor of Valentine's Day, KCTS9 included a segment on cider as a new twist on Champagne. We agree with their sentiment, "forget opening a bottle of bubbly for Valentine's Day. Artisan hard cider is making a comeback in Washington state." If you missed it, watch the segment here!

Many see cider as a "new" alternative to Champagne – and we're, of course, happy for the interest. Indeed it is relatively a new movement in Washington and the Northwest. But cider's bubbly, corked-bottle format just may indeed have preceded Champagne as we currently know it. James Crowden's book, Ciderland, and James Russell's book, Manmade Eden both explore the history of cider and perry in England. According to historical documents they discovered, the use of coal in English glass manufacturing processes led to the ability to make higher-quality bottles that could bear the pressure from secondary in-bottle fermentation. It was the English cider & perry producers that honed the process of retaining this carbonation through the use of a larger cork, tied in place. From there, French expert Dom Perignon further refined the process for use with bubbly grape wines. In fact, perry enjoyed a heyday in the mid-19th century as England's prized sparkling drink.

We, however, are still trying to find the best place for cider. And so are others in the industry. But really we're probably over-thinking it. It's cider, afterall – it's its own thing. At our tasting room, we serve tastes in tall flutes. But when we sit down to enjoy a glass, lately we've been opting for something with a wider bowl to it, something that can hold the complex aromas, and still displays the color and light bubbles well.

How do you like to drink your cider?


A Snowdrift descends on Portland

This week our ciders are being featured at Bushwacker Cider in Portland. All week long (or until the cider runs out), Cliffbreaks Blend, Orchard Select and Dry will be on tap. Thursday the 31st, come on down at 6:30 to taste through the whole lineup of our bottled ciders, including our méthode Champenoise perry! 


Local Harvest Dinner at Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort

We're very excited about a lot of things we've got cookin' around here, not least of which is being part of the Local Harvest Dinner at Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort this Sunday evening! 

Chef Ken MacDonald is an amazing chef who is proud to produce delicious eats from local sources – organic fruit & veg from the valley and Sleeping Lady's own garden, meats from the best producers in our region, etc. etc. This Sunday we will be on the menu as well, as our cider is braising pork and will be paired with a delicious menu.

Don't miss this event, it'll be a wonderful evening with good company at an amazing location!