This cider house rules!

Bellwether Original Hard Cider

Click the label to visit Bellwether's website

Varietal: Apples! Apparently they use around 7 varieties for their original, probably including Liberty, Northern Spy, Tompkins King, Baldwin, English and French cider apples.
Price Point: $9.50
Alcohol by volume: 6.5%
Residual Sugar
: unknown, but my guess is about 2-3%.

Looks: Nice golden color.  This sparkling cider has a decent amount of carbonation, especially when poured vigorously, which diminishes after a little bit.
Nose:  I hate to start out with apple, but yes, this apple cider smells like apples*.  The other thing I get (and I get this on a lot of Bellwether ciders) is potpourri (i.e., cinnamon and floral spice).  Also some pear, and kind of a sour apple Blow Pop thing going.  I also get a bit of sulfur on the nose.
Palate:  Crisp acidity is nicely balanced by the palpable sweetness of this cider and a bit of {astringency} gives an interesting {mouthfeel}.  Also, in addition to the apple I get some Sprite-like lemon-lime characteristics.  The low alcohol (at least compared to most wine) makes it a rather refreshing thirst-quencher that’s both sippable and gulpable.

Rating: 3.5 corks corkcorkcorkhalfcork


Competing interest statement: I actually bought this glass.

Yes, I picked a hard cider as the first thing to review on a wine blog.  Well, it is one of the first stops on the Cayuga Wine Trail.  Plus, I was hungry and I wanted something that would pair with food.  I picked a good one.  A ham sandwich with brie and mustard from CTB with this stuff?  Money in the bank.

Bellwether Hard Cider is a family-run business as far as I can tell, with Cider Dad (the cidermaker), Cider Mom, and Cider Daughter pouring samples at the Ithaca Farmers’ Market and at the Cidery on Route 89, which is home to 4 Cider Cats.  They make a bunch of different ciders ranging from pretty “brut” all the way up to “Black Magic” and “Cherry Street” which are blended with blackcurrant and cherry juice (respectively) after fermentation.

New York state may be the 3rd biggest wine producer in the country, but it is 2nd in apple production, so maybe these folks are on to something.  Cider may not have the same snoot appeal as wine, but if you taste some, be it from New York or Normandy, it just might amaze you how good it can be.

*Science:  Many of the flavor/aroma compounds in fresh fruit will be lost during fermentation.   That’s why most wines don’t really taste like grapes.  However, producers of fruit wines will often backsweeten with fruit juice.  They do this not only to add sweetness (which has the additional benefit of  increasing the perception of fruit), but to add back those lost fruit aromas.

Published in: on 14 January 2009 at 1:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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