I’ll take a little break from cider and perry as I’m going to review a rhubarb sparkling wine from Estonian Tori Siidritalu. The story of Tori Siidritalu started in 2014 when Karmo and Veranika began to explore their passion for fermented beverages by making their very first sparkling cider. Recently, they expanded their product range with a rhubarb sparkling wine, which I’m about to sample now.
The Tori Siidritalu Rabarber received 96 out of 120 points and picked an Honor at CiderWorld 2019 in Frankfurt. Company: Tori Siidritalu
Place of Origin: Jõesuu, Pärnu maakond, Estonia
Sweetness as per label: dry
Package type: 750 ml clear glass champagne corked and wired bottle
Recommended type of glass: flute, chalice glass, wine glass
Appearance: pours clear pale red with an orange hue and a little head that quickly dissipates. Medium carbonation. Body is low to medium.
Aroma/Nose: the aroma is strong and clean. On the nose notes of red berries such as red currant, strawberry but also rhubarb and lemon.
Taste: my initial taste is dry with medium to high acidity. Medium astringency, notes of red berries, strawberries and rhubarb. Finishes dry with a lingering acidity of red berries mixed with rhubarb and distant bitterness.
Overall: For the first time, I sampled the Tori Rabarber at CiderWorld 2019 in Frankfurt and fell in love with it on the spot. It has a smooth and delicious acidity and fruitiness of a variety of red berries and rhubarb, which linger on, change over time and make this sparkling wine extremely refreshing. Also, there is a nicely balanced and smooth astringency that rounds up the taste. The Tori Rabarber is simply stunning. On the label, you can read that it’s suggested to pair with seafood. And I can only agree with that. I think it would taste magnificent especially with oysters in the summer’s warm weather. However, my friend who likes sweet ciders didn’t enjoy having The Tori Rabarber at all as she refused to drink her glass and I had to empty the glass for her. So it is clearly not suitable for everyone. 5/6
Availability: mainly in Estonia.
Price: Veranika passed me a bottle at CiderWorld 2019 in Frankfurt
I haven’t reviewed any sidra or sagardoa from Spain in a while. Time to change it! Sidra Bere is another sagardo or sagardoa (description for sidra in the Basque Country) from Sidras Bereziartua Sagardoak that I have a pleasure to review. The Bereziartua Sidra Bere is a blend of Basque apple varieties such as Txalaka, Urtebia, Judeline, Judo. Previously, I have sampled their Sidra Natural.Company: Sidras Bereziartua Sagardoak
Place of Origin: Astigarraga, Basque Country, Spain
Apples: a blend of Txalaka, Urtebia, Judeline, Judo
Package type: 330ml green glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass
Appearance: pours a hazy orange with no head. No carbonation. Body is medium. Sediment in the bottle.
Aroma/Nose: the nose does not explode out of the glass. It smells sour of lemon and vinegar. Also, notes of nail polish remover, funk, brown sugar, grapefruit flesh, grapefruit skin and fermented apples.
Taste: it begins dry with no residual sweetness and medium to high vinegary like-acidity and a strong flavour of lemon juice. The mid-palate has notes of fermented apples, nail polish, remover and lemon with a light astringency. The finish is dry with notes of lemon, grapefruit-like bitterness and low lingering astringency.
Overall: If you don’t mind notes of vinegar and nail polish remover, I’m sure you’re gonna love it. Sidra Bere is a full-bodied and refreshing sagardoa with a good structure, depth and good length. Only the nose could be slightly stronger. Anyway, I can imagine Sidra Bere would taste delicious on a hot summer day and would go excellent with food. Definitely worth a purchase. 4.5/6
Availability: from their online shop or through Grau Online, In the Czech Republic from Dobry Cider.
Price: Mikel passed me a bottle at CiderWorld2019 in Frankfurt.
The Crest Cyder Dabinett is a single-variety cider made with apples grown in a 4-acre orchard located in North Curry, Somerset. Michael takes care himself of the maintenance and pruning of all apple trees grown in his orchard. Previously, I tried their Traditional. Company: Crest Cyder Company Ltd
Place of Origin: Eaton Crescent, Somerset, UK
Sweetness as per label: dry
Package type: 500ml clear glass with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: wine glass
Appearance: pours very cloudy amber with an orange hue and no head. No carbonation. Body is medium.
Aroma/Nose: the aroma is moderately strong and tannic with notes of caramel, oak, orange and low sulphur.
Taste: it starts with low sweetness of caramel and low acidity of orange. On the mid-palate a bit watery taste, smokiness, moderate to high astringency, vanilla, bittersweet and red apples and a bit nutty flavour to it. The finish is moderately long, lightly flowery and herbal with low bitterness and a faint but still spicy taste of alcohol.
Overall: Like most cider makers, Michael has his own cidermaking style that you can easily recognise. Also, his Dabinett has lovely notes of orange blossom combined with medicinal notes along with flavours of caramel and vanilla. In addition, Dabinett leaves a pleasant tingling on the tongue caused by alcohol. The Crest Cyder Dabinett is rich though still a bit too watery. The finish is quite long but could be a bit longer. Anyway, it is an easy drinking offering that will pair great with food. But if you drink it it’s own you might get a feeling that something is missing. 3.5/5
Availability: online through Scrattings. in the UK and in many European countries.
Price: a sample was provided by Michael and Carol from Crest Cyder.
Speckbirne is a perry pear variety that comes most probably from Kärnten, Austria. It has been widely cultivated in Austria since 1888 when it was presented for the first time at the agricultural show in Vienna. Its name actually means ‘bacon pear’ and is due to the extraordinary shiny skin of this pear variety. Speckbirne basically looks as if it was smeared with bacon grease. As for the tannin content, it’s not rich in tannins although it has a light astringent taste when you bite into it.
Many Birnenmost producers of Austria use this perry pear in their blend but also as single-varietals Birnenmost. Today I give you the Distelberger Speckbirne.Company: Distelberger Genuss-Bauernhof
Place of Origin: Amstetten, Lower Austria, Austria
Sweetness as per label: trocken (dry)
Package type:1000 ml clear bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass
Appearance: pours a clear pale straw yellow with no head. No carbonation. Body is medium.
Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong. Smokiness, vanilla, fresh pear and low caramel. Hints of fresh yellow apple and of alcohol.
Taste: it starts lightly sweet of sugar with low acidity of lemon. Further down, low bitterness, low caramel, a taste of alcohol. Finishes with notes of higher alcohols and low plain bitterness with herbals.
Overall: My first impression of the Distelberger Speckbirne 2018 was actually quite good as I picked up a great, rich and interesting fruity scents with a lovely vanilla note in the background. Taste-wise, surprisingly I didn’t get much on the palate and the overall impression was rather disappointing. I thought it tasted too sweet with almost no existing acidity. I know, until now it doesn’t sound bad at all and is related to my personal preferences. But there was a herbal note on the palate that I didn’t find tasty. Not to mention the aftertaste, which was rather nasty, chemical and reminded me of higher alcohols mixed with plain bitter notes. Indeed, the taste started to improve with the rise of the temperature as the flavour of caramel was more pronounced. But it still wasn’t fun to drink. Exceptional nose stopped me from giving it a lower score. Please don’t hate me, Toni. 3/6
Availability: directly from their shop.
Price: Speckbirne 2018 was a sample provided by Toni from Mostbarone.
Cidrerie du Chateau Lezergue make approximately 2-3 million bottles annually, which translates to 200.000 litres. For their cidre, Cidrerie du Chateau Lezergue uses a number of traditional French cidre apple varieties such as Kermerrien, Marie-Ménard, Prat-Yeod, Douce-Moen, Kroc’hen Ki and Douce-Coêtligné.Company: Cidrerie du Chateau de Lezergue
Place of Origin: Ergué-Gabéric, Cornouaille, Brittany, France
Apples: locally grown cidre apples
Package type: 750ml green glass champagne corked and wired bottle
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass, chalice glass, flute or bollée
Appearance: pours cloudy pale amber with a white head that very slowly reduces to a ring. High carbonation. Body is medium.
Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong and fruity with notes of apricots, caramel, dried fruits and oak.
Taste: it starts lightly sweet with low acidity. Followed by a smoky note, apricots, low to medium astringency, light herbal notes, light woody from stems with low to medium astringency. Finishes dry and spicy with notes of toffee and oaky tannins.
Overall: apparently you can’t go wrong with cidre made by Cidrerie du Chateau de Lezergue as this is another excellent offering from them. This cidre is a delightful and balanced combination of flavours of caramel with dried fruits and oaky notes. It’s light with clear notes. No funk at all. Also, interestingly, the taste changes while the temperature is rising giving more oaky flavours. I had it on a warm day and thought it tasted glorious on its own. So it’s a great summer cider and a crowd pleaser. It will go well with duck or galettes. 5.5/6
Availability: mainly in Brittany, France. In Germany through Couple of Wines.
Price: a sample of this cidre was provided by Lucian from Cidrerie du Château de Lézergué.
Can you imagine? Anton and his team from DaDa Cider drove all the way from Moscow to Frankfurt to attend CiderWorld 2019 in Frankfurt as an exhibitor. I checked the distance with Google Maps and guess what, it’s nearly 2400km! It clearly shows that guys from DadaCider have a lot of dedication to cider. Unbelievable!Company: DaDaCider
Place of Origin: Moscow, Russia
Apples: a blend of Russian apple varieties
Sweetness as per label: dry
Package type: 500 ml green glass bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: snifter or wine glass
Appearance: pours a very cloudy pale orange with a white and quickly dissipating head. Low carbonation. Body is low to medium. Sediment in the bottom.
Aroma/Nose: Moderately strong and sweetish. Freshly pressed apple juice of red apples. Apple stem, white wine, a distant herbal note.
Taste: my first taste is bone dry with a moderate to high acidity of sour apple and lemon. A bit watery, yeasty, flowery, notes with low astringency. Finishes dry with a distant bitter note and flavours of lemon, yellow apples, flowers and note of higher alcohols.
Overall: The DaDa Cider Dry has a long taste and an interesting array of flavours and nice refreshing acidity. I enjoyed the flowery notes that appeared in the mid-palate and in the aftertaste. Speaking of aftertaste, it’s long and fruity. But the DaDa cider Dry reminds me too much of an apple juice, especially on the nose. And, the yeasty taste covers other flavours that might be on the palate. Also, I think it was made from pasteurised juice judging by its cloudiness. Anyway, it’s a nice and natural-tasting product that will go well with seafood and fish but also on its own on a warm summer day. But it could be better. 3.5/6
Availability: widely available in Moscow. Online from Pivoluchshe.
Price: Anton passed me a bottle at CiderWorld 2019 in Frankfurt.
The story of Pica Pica Cider is a tragic example of how big companies can take advantage of their power and destroy small businesses. Pica Pica Cider was previously released in Germany as Apfeldieb Satter Apfel
which I reviewed back in 2017. ‘Apfeldieb’ means ‘apple thief’ in German and the product name, unfortunately, is very similar to the name of alco-pop produced by Heineken, Apfel-Räuber (German for apple bandit). Despite the fact that Apfeldieb was launched much earlier than Apfel Räuber, Heineken reached out to Phillip and Michael and gave them a choice to either drop the name or Heineken will sue them.
Fortunately, Phillip and Michael are back with a new name, Pica Pica Cider. Pica Pica is a Latin name for magpie, a bird with a reputation of stealing shiny objects.
However, Pica Pica Cider Apfel is not exactly the same cider as their previous Apfeldieb Satter Apfel as the blend was slightly improved. Pica Pica Cider Apfel won first place at SISGA 2018 in the category dry cider and Silver at CiderWorld 2019 in the category still cider.
Company: Pica Pica
Place of Origin: Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Apples: a blend of Rheinischer Winterrambour, Belle de Boskoop, Roter Bellefleur, Blaucher Wädenswill, Roter Trierer Weinapfel, Gewürzluiken, Erbachhofer Weinapfel and others.
Sweetness as per label: dry
Package type: 275 ml clear glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or pint glass
Appearance: pours a clear golden with a quickly dissipating white head. Low to medium carbonation. Body is low to medium.
Aroma/Nose: moderately strong scent with notes of lemon, oak, yellow apples, caramel and a distant note of cinnamon. With a hint of gooseberries and white wine.
Taste: my first taste is lightly sweet of caramel with low acidity of lemon. Low bitterness of burnt caramel, smokiness, toffee, low alcohol, yellow apples, low astringency. Finishes dry with a touch of lemon and low but lingering burnt caramel-like bitterness.
Overall: until now I have sampled only two ciders that had an extremely longlasting taste, Avalon Vintage 2015 from Ramborn and Wilde Kerle 2016 from Gutshof Kraatz. Pica Pica Cider Apfel is the third cider with a striking, long finish. Pica Pica cider Apfel stands out not only because of the longlasting finish but also cause it’s a perfectly balanced marriage of English-style cider and flavours typical for old German apple varieties. Delicious and intensive notes of caramel and lightly burnt caramel remind me of English cider, whereas a flavour of yellow apples and low acidity of lemon but still higher than in a typical English cider round up the taste and create wonderful and easy drinking yet extremely delicious cider. What more can I say? I hope it will be available soon in my local shop. 5.5/6
Availability: only in Germany for now. Online from Ciderei. Check Pica Pica Cider facebook for updates.
Price: product sample was sent to me by Phillipp from Pica Pica Cider for testing.