22 September 2014

Cider Brothers "William Tell" Hard Cider of Lodi

The Cider Brothers are Michael and Paul Scotto, 5th generation members of a Lodi wine family. They've recently branched out into hard cider production.

Cider was for a long time America's most popular alcoholic beverage, but lost favor with Prohibition and changing tastes after WWII. I was first exposed to it when it re-emerged as a curiosity in the 90s with brands like Woodchuck and a few British imports. Since then, the market has grown alongside the enthusiasm of the craft beer industry and there's more interest in traditional small production ciders made from fresh apples rather than concentrated juice. The Cider Brothers use a combination of five apples.

From the press release:
  • Golden Russets enhance the bouquet and aromatics, and contribute complexity and fruit flavor
  • Granny Smiths add tannic structure and tartness, adding to the mouthfeel
  • Galas help deliver a clean, refreshing finish
  • Fujis lend just the right amount of sweetness
  • Red Delicious brings rich mouth feel and distinct appley, aromatic qualities

Right now the bottles are available in the 22 oz. format, a little smaller than a 750mL wine bottle. But hard cider is usually a low alcohol beverage, so this is perfect for splitting between two people at dinner. (UPDATE: 12 oz. bottles are also available.)

William Tell Hard Apple Cider
Lodi, California
$9/22 oz. 6% abv.

Bright and slightly yeasty nose, with a clean, crisp, tart mouth feel. The dominant flavor is akin to a Golden Delicious. Completely lacking the sour note found in many mass-produced ciders.

William Tell Pinot Grigio Hard Apple Cider
Lodi, California
$9/22 oz., 6.5% abv.

This one is made with 85% Hard Apple Cider, 15% Pinot Grigio. Very similar to the first one, but the wine is definitely present with a rounder, smoother mouthfeel. I was skeptical of this kind of blend at first but after tasting found that I preferred it over the pure apple version. This would be phenomenal to serve at a BBQ.

Note: These ciders were provided as samples for review.

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