Nöll Premium Cox Orange

Karl Nöll and his son Gerhard have established the Nöll Kelterei (German for cidery) in 1962. However, the Nöll family has been making apfelwein much longer than this as the apfelwein-making is part of a family tradition in Frankfurt/Main area and 1962 is only the year when it went to the commercial stage. They have a few apfelwein categories. The Apfelwein I am sampling today belongs to the Premium range.

Company: Kelterei Gerhard Böll GmbH 
Place of Origin: Frankfurt/Main, Hesse, Germany
Apples: made from Cox Orange Pippin
ABV: 9%
Package type: 750ml green glass wine bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear straw yellow with no head and almost no carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: On the nose overripe apples with a hint of white wine and wood. I can sense also floral and sweet notes with a touch of alcohol. The scent resembles slightly English cider.

Taste: Surprisingly, it starts very bitter with some sweetness, which I would classify as medium. On the mid-palate, some light smoky ham taste, but only in the beginning with a moderate slightly lemon-like acidity and a hint of white wine and overripe apples. The aftertaste has lingering bitter flavour with alcohol taste and gives a warming effect in the throat. The bitter taste gets milder after a while but is still dominating.

Overall: I am a huge fan of bitter flavours in cider, but the bitter taste in this apfelwein overpowers other flavours. In my opinion, the intensive bitter taste would indicate that this apfelwein was left too long on its lees. Moreover, I had ciders before that had the ABV of 8% and alcohol was not perceivable at all. Most probably sugar was added to increase the ABV, which is not an uncommon practice for German Apfelwein. Nöll’s Cox Orange is complex and rich, but just not balanced. This is a common problem with single varietal ciders. They are rarely perfect.  I think that Nöll’s Cox Orange is worth trying and may appeal to some but I wouldn’t purchase it again. It’s too unbalanced with too many off flavours. 2/6

Availability: from their online shop, Apfelweinkontor. Locally in InCiderbar in Prague.

Price: purchased online from Apfelweinkontor at 8 EUR.