Stonewell Nohoval Apple Oak Wine

Today, I have a very special stuff to sample. It is an apple oak wine from Stonewell/Finnbarra. It is a blend of Dabinett and Michelin grown in County Laois and matured in French Burgundy oak casks for a minimum of 12 months. To be frank, Daniel from Stonewell/Finnbarra shipped this beauty to me shortly after CiderWorld 2018 in Frankfurt. But since summer arrived early this year and stayed until October, not exactly creating the right conditions for an apple oak wine I postponed the sampling until Autumn. Now the conditions are perfect for such a drop and I hope that Daniel will not be too angry with me.Company: Nohoval Brewing Company Limited
Place of Origin: Nohoval, Kindle, County Cork, Ireland
Apples: a blend of Dabinett and Michelin grown in County Laois
ABV: 15%
Package type: 500ml amber wax sealed bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: sherry glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber. Still. Body is high.

Aroma/Nose: the scent is strong with notes of dried plums, vanilla, chocolate, dried apricots, baked apples, lightly sweet and red wine.

Taste: my first taste is dry with a low residual sweetness and a low level of acidity. Fresh and tangy apples followed by liquor-filled chocolates, berries, leaving a long-lasting note of red wine, vanilla and baked apples.

Overall: It was well worth the wait. It’s cold outside so a small glass of this apple oak wine can warm you up and set you in a good mood. Not only because it’s booze but because it’s a great booze. The level of sweetness is just right. Countless delicious flavours appear one after another turning the tasting experience into a never-ending but very enjoyable ride. With this drop in my cider stash, I hope the winter never ends. Daniel, can you please make more of this great stuff? 5/6

Availability: directly from Stonewell if they have any bottles left.

Price: Nohoval Apple Oak Wine was a sample provided by Daniel from Stonewell.


Galipette Cidre Biologique

This is the first time I’m reviewing cidre made from French cidre apples, developed by a French company Les Celliers Associés but owned by a company registered in Stockholm, Sweden. Galipette is French for somersault or flip and at the same time a brand name owned by Cider Supply Co., a start-up established by three entrepreneurs from Finland and Sweden. They have currently two products in their portfolio, Cidre Brut made with cidre apples from Brittany and Cidre Biologique made with cidre apples from Normandy. I shall start with the Cidre Biologique, which is a blend of Carting, Sweet Moen, and Belle Fille de la Manche from organic orchards.Company: Les Celliers Associés
Place of Origin: Pleudihen-sur-Rance, France
cidre apples grown in Normandy such as Carting, Sweet Moen, and Belle Fille de la Manche
Package type: 
330ml amber glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a clear vivid amber with a large white head that slowly dissipates. High and artificial carbonation. Body medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is clear and quite strong with notes of fresh red apples, wood, dried apricots, sweet and juicy pears and a hint of caramel.

Taste: my first taste is lightly sweet with a low acidity of lemon. Subsequently, you experience sudden but gentle tannic kick, which quickly gives way to notes of freshly pressed apple juice, juicy pears, dried apricots, woody and a hint of caramel. Finishes quite quickly leaving a distant note of slightly burnt caramel.

Overall: I’ll start with the looks. I must say that I love the bottle design as it’s modern yet it reminds me of vintage apothecary bottles. As for the bottle content, the taste is clear, I haven’t detected any notes of funk or sulphur. Also, it’s clearly made with cidre apples and tastes quite ok. But in comparison to countless cidres I’ve tried recently in Normandy, it lacks any character. Despite the fact that the Cidre Biologique has a structure, its taste is not rich and I know that I will forget it very quickly. It’s a technically correct cidre, which is not necessarily interesting but definitely very quaffable and food friendly. 4/6

Availability: in the UK from Waitrose and Eebria. In the Netherlands from Cider Cider and Drank Direct. In Sweden from Systembolaget.

Price: a sample of this cidre was provided by Cider Supply Co.

Taunton Cider Medium

It looks that the revival of the Taunton Cider Company is far more important to the people of Taunton, Somerset than I initially imagined. When in 1805, local farmers formed a co-operative at Norton Fitzwarren to make cider it was the beginning of a great West Country product, which in 1911 led to the creation of the Taunton Cider Company. Although the producer has disappeared for many years from the UK cider map and only recently resumed operations, people of Taunton seem to be very proud of this company. At least this is my impression after reading the comments below my review of the Original Dry, which I also posted on Facebook. Today, I’m reviewing their Medium. Company: Taunton Cider Company
Place of Origin: Taunton, Somerset, UK
Apples: locally sourced Yarlington Mill, Dabinett and Harry Masters Jersey
Sweetness as per label: medium
ABV: 4%
Package type: 500 ml clear glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear very pale amber with a white quickly dissipating head. Initially medium carbonation reducing to lightly sparkling within a minute. Artificial carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong. I can get notes of caramel, bittersweet apples, smokiness, hints of funk and sulphur.

Taste: my first taste is moderately sweet with a light acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate notes of caramel, cider apples, yellow apple, smokiness, bubble gum, watery, very low astringency and light oakiness. Finishes with a touch of bitterness and a hint of sulphur.

Overall: The level of sweetness is not the only difference between this cider and the Dry that I have previously reviewed. First of all, it’s much less watery (meaning that less water was added). Secondly, the Medium was clearly made with wild yeast as you can get the notes of funk and sulphur. Also, the taste was smoother but similarly rich in terms of flavours and good length. Despite the fact that it is classified as medium, it’s not overly sweet (because it was watered down). The Medium from the Taunton Cider Company is a good cider. I would buy it again and pair with moules-frites. 4/6 

Availability: only in the UK from Fetch the Drinks or British Corner Shop.

Price: a sample was provided by the Taunton Cider Company

Kiezbaum Birne

In 2017, Sebastian and Wanja from Mainz, Rhineland Palatinate, founders of Kiezbaum extended their portfolio and introduced cider with pears, the Birne. Their cider is made from apples and pear juice from concentrate. Previously, I’ve had their Cider Apfel.Company: Kiezbaum, S. Grüner, I. Kunisch GbR
Place of Origin: Mainz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Ingredients: apple cidre with pear juice from concentrate, sulfites
ABV: 4.9%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear dark golden/pale amber with a white quickly dissipating head. Low to medium artificial carbonation. Low to medium body.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is sweetish and moderately strong with commercial apple juice note, commercial pear juice, yellow apples. some oaky notes and apricots.

Taste: it starts moderately sweet with low acidity, a smoky note, commercial apple juice note, overripe pears, a very low astringency, canned peaches and a touch of plain bitterness. Finishes with a lingering note of an overripe pear and something artificial.

Overall: After their delicious cider, my expectations were rather high. But their Birne is not even half as good as their cider! And, the Birne is made with pear juice concentrate, which you can unfortunately actually taste. The notes of commercial apple and pear juice are typical features of juice from concentrate. It’s drinkable, but I thought it was too sweet and I didn’t enjoy the notes of commercial apple juice. I’ll stick to Kiezbaum’s Cider than Birne. Disappointing. 3/6 

Availability: online in Germany from CidereiBier De Luxe and Bierlager. In Switzerland from Gastro Drinks.

Price: Kiezbaum Birne was a sample provided by Ciderei.

Cidrerie du Château de Lézergué Brut

Cidrerie du Château de Lézergué has been named after Château de Lézergué, a manor built in 1770 and located in Ergué-Gabéric (Brittany). Nowadays, if you decide to visit this place you will see only the ruins of a once opulent manor. Cidrerie du Château de Lézergué is located just near the manor. Pay them a visit if you happen to be in Brittany. Company: Cidrerie du Chateau de Lezergue
Place of Origin: Ergué-Gabéric, Cornouaille, Brittany, France
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 a clear pale amber with a vivid orange hue and a large white head that quickly dissipates. High carbonation. Body medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong and floral with notes of apple blossom, cider apples, red apples, smokiness, malt, apple pomace, apricots and wood.

Taste: it begins slightly sweet with a low acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate peach, fresh apples, smokiness – like smoked cheese, apricots, low astringency, vanilla and low burnt caramel bitterness. Finishes with notes of caramel and burnt caramel bitterness and a light astringent taste.

Overall: Bottle stickers for award-winning ciders may drastically increase your expectations with regard to taste. So when I saw that the Brut from Cidrerie du Château de Lézergué picked up Silver from the Concours Général,  I was very excited. The scent was very intriguing with its floral notes. Simply beautiful with lots of flavours. So you can imagine that my excitement went to the roof. But taste wise I felt a bit disappointed.   In terms of structure, off-notes or length, everything is fine and I’m not surprised it won Silver. The palate is indeed unique and stands out but somehow I didn’t enjoy the overall taste. Many will love it but personally, I preferred their Fermier. Nevertheless, everyone should try their Brut and make own opinion. It’s a decent drop. Just not my favourite. Perhaps yours? 4.5/6

Availability: mainly in Brittany, France.

Price: a sample of this cidre was provided by Lucian from Cidrerie du Château de Lézergué.

Manoir du Grandouet Poiré Fermier

Manoir de Grandouet, a cidre producer from Normandy has also Poiré (French for perry) in the product range apart from Calvados and pommeau. Pears used for this Poiré grow between apple trees in their orchards near Cambremer. Their perry pears hat more acid than usual and have an astringent taste. After pressing, poiré is fermented for 3 months, subsequently bottled, where it undergoes the secondary fermentation.Company: Manoir de Grandouet
Place of Origin: Grandouet, Normandy, France
locally grown perry pears
Package type:
750ml clear glass champagne corked and wired bottle
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or flute

Appearance: pours a nearly clear yellow straw with a tiny white head that quickly dissipates. High carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong and with notes of fresh pears, green apples, sulphur – like gunpowder. Hints of polyfloral honey.

Taste: it starts moderately sweet with a low acidity of lemon. Notes of green apple, star fruit, gooseberry, a touch of bitterness – caramel and burnt caramel, very gentle, barely detectable astringency. Finishes with a note of green apple and a hint of burnt caramel.

Overall: this is a very decent Poiré. It’s light, refreshing and elegant. Very nicely balanced with a good level of sweetness and acidity. Fruity notes of star fruit, gooseberry, lychee and green apple make it a very refreshing drop, which is rounded by caramel notes far in the background. Flavours move smoothly from one note to another, which resembles a well-played symphony. Only the note of sulphur – gunpowder-like is a bit too overpowering and steals the beauty of this Poiré. A nice drop that will go well with chicken, fish and Camembert. I loved it. 5/6

Availability: directly from Manoir de Grandouet

Price: a sample of this cidre was provided by Lucile from Manoir Grandouet

Big Smile from Austria Apple Cider Cloudy & Light

The Apple Cider Cloudy & Light is made from locally sourced apples from Styria, Burgenland and Lower Austria. It has a very low ABV of 2.1%, which was achieved by adding apple juice and water. Previously, I’ve sampled their Hard CiderCompany: Big Smile Handel e. U. 
Place of Origin: Vienna, Austria
Ingredients: apple wine, unfiltered apple juice, water, sulphites, carbon dioxide
ABV: 2.1%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or wine glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy pale golden with a white foam that quickly dissipates. Low artificial carbonation. Medium body.

Aroma/Nose: the scent is weak. Sweetish with notes of apple juice, pears with a hint of canned pineapple. Nothing else.

Taste: it begins semi-sweet with a low acidity of lemon. Apple juice, pears, canned pineapple with a watery taste and a touch of astringency. Finishes with a taste of apple juice and canned pineapple.

Overall: it’s happening again, I’m reviewing an apple juice diluted with water, but definitely it’s not a cider. I have an impression that many producers abuse the word cider cause it is so much cooler to drink cider than a fizzy alcoholic juice at least in Germany or Austria. The previously reviewed offering from Big Smile from Austria tasted quite nice and it was an actual cider. But their Apple Cider Cloudy & Light is just a fizzy alcoholic natural apple juice. Cider is not a juice, cider is made from juice. 2.5/6 

Availability: online in Germany from Ciderei. In Austria from From Austria. In the UK from Piccantino.

Price: Big Smile from Austria Apple Cider Cloudy & Light was a sample provided by Ciderei.