Van Saft Bio Cider

There is a new cider maker in Berlin, Van Saft. As the name doesn’t not sound exactly German, it is not hard to guess that a Dutch stands behind Van Saft. Diederik and Toby, his friend from German. Diederik is a big cider enthusiast and together with Toby decided to start his own cider venture. Their cider is made from organic apples from Brandenburg.

This will be my first time trying anything from this cider maker.

Company: Van Saft
Place of Origin: Berlin, Germany
Apples : a blend of organic apples from Brandenburg
Sweetness as per label: n/a
ABV: 5%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with a screw cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or tumbler

Appearance: pours a very cloudy pale amber with a little foam. The carbonation is strong and artificial. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is weak with notes of a freshly pressed apple juice of red apples.

Taste: my first taste is lightly sweet with a low to acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, notes of a freshly pressed apple juice, red apple and a touch of bitterness. Finishes dry with a touch of grapefruit peel.

Overall: briefly, to me this is not a cider but a very refreshing sparkling apple juice resembling Apfelschorle, a popular beverage in Berlin being an apple juice with sparkling water. Even the bottle shape is not typical for a cider but rather a juice- at least in this part of Europe. Judging by the bottle, I would never tell that it is an alcoholic beverage. Taste wise, it tastes like a good quality apple juice with a lovely and refreshing acidity of lemon so I see no reason why anyone would not find it drinkable or even enjoyable. Due to cloudiness, I think that this beverage was made most likely from pasteurized juice. Not sure how to rate it to be honest. In terms of apple juice it would be a clear 5 to me. But since I’m supposed to rate a cider here, I can’t give it more than 2/6. This is nothing more than an apple juice that can make you tipsy.

Availability: in selected restaurants and outlets in Berlin.

Price:  Diederik provided me with a sample.

Böhm Ciderwerkstatt Zaisenhausen Mouschd Apfelwein 2020

It’s been two years since I last time reviewed a cider from Manfred of Böhm Ciderwerkstatt based in Mulfingen-Hollenbach, Baden-Wüttemberg, Germany. In the meantime, Manfred established a cider cellar along with a shop with locally grown fruit and locally made products. I invite you to visit Böhm Ciderwerkstatt if you are in the Mulfingen-Hollenbach, Baden-Wüttemberg area.

Today’s cider is a blend of all old apple varieties grown in several locations around Mulfingen-Hollenbach. Manfred usually names his cider after the orchard that gave the fruit for the cider but due to frost in early 2020, there were not a lot of fruit so apples come from several orchards. Hence, the name is a more general one Zaisenhausen. As for the apple varieties, Manfred’s cider comprises e.g. Brettacher, Hohenloher Zufallsämling, Jakob Fischer and Bittenfelder Sämling.img_8592
Company:
Böhm Cider Werkstatt
Place of Origin: Mulfingen-Hollenbach, Baden-Wüttemberg, Germany
Apples:
Brettacher, Hohenloher Zufallsämling, Jakob Fischer and Bittenfelder Sämling
ABV:
 8.1%
Package type:
 250 ml clear glass bottle with a screw cap
Recommended type of glass: wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber with a light orange hue. No visible carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is rather weak with notes of red apples and oxidized apples with a touch of alcohol. 

Taste: my first impression is dry with a touch of residual sweetness and moderate acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, low astringency, alcohol, low bitterness of apple seeds, a touch of rum. A bit watery. Finishes dry with a note of alcohol and rum. 

Overall: Manfred shared with me lab tests of this cider. As per the results, it has 0g sugar. However, interestingly,I could taste some residual sweetness to it. It was not significant but it was there. I guess my taste buds must be hyper sensitive to sweetness. Anyway, the Böhm Ciderwerkstatt Zaisenhausen Mouschd Apfelwein 2020 has a good length, a nice array or flavours. I initially thought that it could be too heavy for a really sunny and warm day due to high ABV,  but it was not the case. As is it slightly watery, it doesn’t make you feel that’s too heavy. Also the acidity is nicely balanced and  contributes to the overall positive perception of this beverage. My only comment is the nose, which is rather weak and not rich in terms of flavours. Nevertheless, I enjoyed having the Böhm Ciderwerkstatt Zaisenhausen Mouschd Apfelwein 2020 and I think this is one of these ciders that everyone is going to like. 4/6

Availability: from Manfred’s webshop and locally in his shop in Mulfingen-Hollenbach, Baden-Wüttemberg. 

Price: a sample of this cider was provided by Manfred

Muxaller Cider Friesenjung

The Muxaller Cider Friesenjung is a cider that received Honor in the category sparkling cider in the recent Cider World’21 Award. As the name already indicates, the Muxaller Friesenjung is made in Muxall, Schleswig-Holstein, not exactly a typical cider area of Germany. The person behind this cider is Steve O’Connor, who originally comes from New Zealand and has background in winemaking. Looks that not only traveling but also migration contribute to the spread of cider culture.

Friesenjung is the first cider released by Steve but he is planning to launch more ciders soon.

This will be my first time trying anything from this cider maker.

Company: Muxaller Cider
Place of Origin: Muxall Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Apples : a blend of apples from Schleswig-Holstein, Germany (Boskoop, Holsteiner Cox) and Devon, UK (Dabinett, Browns)
Sweetness as per label: n/a
ABV: 5,7%
Package type: 330ml amber glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or tumbler

Appearance: pours a clear cloudy golden yellow with a little foam. The carbonation is low and artificial. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is weak with notes of caramel, creamy caramel, yellow apple, a bit tannic, phenolic.

Taste: my first taste is lightly sweet with a low to medium acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, notes of yellow apple, moderate astringency and a touch of bitterness. Finishes dry with a touch of caramel and sort of liquid sugar.

Overall: The Muxaller Friesenjung is a cider that will be to everyone’s taste. It is a very balanced marriage between the German and English style cider. It has the right level of refreshing acidity thanks to local German apples and the tannin and body of Dabinett and Brown’s from the UK. There are no potentially off-putting off-notes, literally nothing disturbing. Also, it’s neither too sweet or too sour. Just right. Nevertheless, I’m going to give this cider only 4/6 and this is because of the aroma that is rather weak although admittedly complex and because the length might have been longer. It’s not short but the lovely tastes disappears too quickly. Steve wanted to create a cider that goes well with food and can be enjoyed on its own. Steve, you made it. But I think you can do better. 4/6

Availability: directly from Muxaller Cider. Also, in selected restaurants and outlets in the north of Germany.

Price: Steve provided me with a sample.

1785 Cider Brut

1785 Cider. No, 1785 is not a vintage. I don’t think you will find a cider that old! 1785 actually refers to the year where the house on a farm in the beautiful Black Forest belonging to Patrick and Wendy was built. Patrick grew up in the area making traditional “Moscht”, while his wife Wendy originally comes from Seattle. And, Seattle its the place where the idea of making cider was born. Thanks to the progressing craft cider evolution in Seattle, both Patrick and Wendy decided to leave their well paid jobs and focus on cider making in Germany.

This will be my first time trying anything from this cider maker.

Company: 1785 Cider
Place of Origin: Unterkirnach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Apples : a blend of local apple varieties
Sweetness as per label: brut
ABV: 7,4%
Package type: 750ml green glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or tumbler

Appearance: pours a slightly cloudy golden yellow. The carbonation is moderate and natural. There is a foam that reduces slowly to a ring. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong and complex with notes of yellow apple, ripe pear, some sweetness and spiciness. I’m also getting a touch of funk.

Taste: it starts dry with a touch of residual sweetness and a low to medium acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, notes of yellow apple, lemon, low astringency and some bitter notes. Finishes dry with a touch of sherry and a touch of grapefruit-like bitterness and just bitterness.

Overall: The 1785 Brut is a properly made cider that has complexity, an array of flavours, good body and a long-lasting taste. The nose is strong and appealing. Like I said, it is properly made. From the technical point of view, I have nothing to complain about. Yet, I didn’t find it exciting. The combination of many flavours both on the nose and the palate didn’t steel my heart. And, I’m afraid I will rather quickly forget its taste as it resembles many others ciders or sparkling apple wines made with so called Streuobst apple varieties available out there. Then again, if you decide to purchase this cider I think that you will not regret your decision as like I said it is properly made. And, you might also enjoy its pleasantly coating citrusy notes like I did. But it’s not enough to call this cider very good. It’s simply good. 4/6

Availability: from their online shop.

Price: Patrick provided me with a sample.

Kertelreiter Highway to Hüll 2019

Barry’s adventure with fermenting has begun in 2006 when he started experimenting with different hop varieties in his beers. Once Barry discovered cider, as a former beer brewer, he took advantage of his brewing experience and tried dry-hopping ciders with popular US hops that are frequently used by craft beer brewers. But due to citric flavors that would come with these hope varieties he wasn’t exactly happy with his experiments. So Barry turned to less known hop varieties that give more vinous flavors such as Hüll Melon. Hüll Melon is a German hop variety that is supposed to give fruity notes of honey melon, strawberry, apricot along with some sweetness.

The Kertelereiter Highway to Hüll is a small batch cider dry hopped with Hüll Melon. Previously, I sampled Barry’s perry, the Levitation 2019, cider, the An Craobh Airgid 2019 and quince wine, the Kertelreiter Quince 2019.

Company: Kertelreiter Cider
Place of Origin: Schefflenz, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Ingredients : a blend of local apple varieties along with a hop variety Hüll Melon
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 6,6%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or tumbler

Appearance: pours an almost clear pale golden yellow. The carbonation is moderate and natural. There is a foam that reduces slowly to a ring. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong and complex – it’s not easy to identify any particular notes. But I got a note of honey melon, elderflower and of salty olive brine.

Taste: my first taste is dry with a low acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, spiciness, notes of yellow apples, mineral notes, low but long-lasting bitterness and a touch of honey lemon. Finishes dry with a mineral note and a very low bitterness along with a note of salty olive brine.

Overall: Not sure how about you but when I see a hoped cider I have a sort of an idea how it may taste like. This is mostly due to the use of specific hop varieties for dry hopping of cider. Well, this is indeed not the case with the Highway to Hüll made by Barry. While having the Highway to Hüll, I never had a feeling that I was drinking a hopped cider. Neither a cider. Due to mineral notes I had the impression I was drinking a pleasant white wine from the Rhine area. It is complex, nicely build so for me it was actually a challenge to identify notes both on the nose and on the palate. I didn’t get any notes of strawberries or apricots but there was indeed something fruity in there. It doesn’t mean that there are no flavors but rather that they come at the same time -due to this fact the taste is perhaps not really short but not exactly long-lasting. I thought that the Highway to Hüll was a unique and interesting offering but it didn’t steal my heart. Anyways, definitely worth trying. 4/6

Availability: from their online shop– they also ship to other EU countries!

Price: Barry provided me with a sample.

Kertelreiter An Craobh Airgid 2019

Since Barry is Irish by origin, it is not a surprise that one of his ciders carries an Irish name. “An Craobh Airgid” is Irish for “the Silver Branch”, a symbol found in Irish mythology and literature. The Silver Branch with white apple blossom coming from a sacred apple tree represented a gateway to the Celtic otherworld.

The Craobh Airgid is a blend of Reine de Reinette, Jonagold, Boskoop, Brettacher and further apple varieties that was matured on pomace before moving to the oak barrel for 9 months. Afterwards, it was aged on toasted apple wood.

Company: Kertelreiter Cider
Place of Origin: Schefflenz, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Apples: a blend of Reine de Reinette, Jonagold, Boskoop, Brettacher and more
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 6,6%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or tumbler

Appearance: pours a cloudy pale golden with a greenish hue and moderate and natural carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong with wild notes, a touch of vinegar, grapefruit, distant yellow apples and and something spicy to it.

Taste: my first taste is bone dry with low to medium acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, watery notes, low grapefruit-peel like bitterness and plain bitter notes with faint notes of yellow apples. Finishes dry with a lingering acidity of lemon, green notes, notes typical for malo-lactic fermentation and a touch of astringency. Also, a champagne-like appeared to the end.

Overall: When I asked Barry whether he used wild yeast for the An Craobh Airgid, he denied as he usually works with selected wine yeasts. But after a while he admitted that the base cider for this cider was aged on pomace, which could be the source of wild yeast. Well, the funky notes on the nose clearly indicate that wild yeast had “their hands” in this cider. The nose was strong and rich and fruity and to me “obviously” very inviting. Although the palate also had many various flavors to offer with a good length and long-lasting notes of lemon and grapefruit, somehow they were not in harmony with each other. Despite so many features of a good cider – strong and rich nose, many flavors on the palate that went on and on, I didn’t enjoy having this drop. I tried to evaluate what is it in this cider that makes it to me taste rather unpleasant and I came to a conclusion that it’s the combination of green notes with the plain bitter notes. I suppose some may enjoy this combination but I clearly don’t belong to this group. 3.5/6

Availability: from their online shop– they also ship to other EU countries!

Price: Barry provided me with a sample.

Gutshof Kraatz Cydonia 2018

Quince is a quite tough fruit to work with due to its high astringency. For this reason, most fruit wine producers tend to blend it with apple juice or other fruit juice to reduce its astringency and make the fruit wine more palatable. But Florian Profitlich of Gutshof Kraatz took the risk and released a 100% quince wine made with locally sourced quinces in the Uckermark. Let’s try this beauty! 

Company: Gutshof Kraatz
Place of Origin: Nordwestuckermark-Kraatz, Germany
Fruits: made from quinces coming from local orchards
ABV: 5.5%
Package type: 750ml clear glass wine bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear golden yellow with no head. No visible carbonation. Body is medium. Some sediment in the bottom.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong (literally pours out of the glass) and clear with dominating notes of quince with some lemon to it.

Taste: my first taste is bone dry with a moderate acidity of lemon. Quince, some bitter note incl. grapefruit-like bitterness and moderate astringency on the mid-palate. Finishes with a lovely and refreshing note of lemon.

Overall: If you don’t have a clue how a quince may taste like, then you should definitely sample the Gutshof Kraatz Cydonia 2018. Its scent and taste are all about quince. Although the nose is very strong and intense, I didn’t get many notes on the nose apart from the note of quince and citrusy notes of lemon. The palate seems to be more complex with more variety of notes that can be identified but still quince is the dominating one. Also, it has a very good length that lets you enjoy all these flavours that come out while tasting. Again, if you compare my tasting notes with Cydonia 2016 that I sampled previously, you will find significant differences, which shows how the weather may impact the taste of cider/wine. Due to the bone-dry taste and a bit high astringency, I wouldn’t recommend to drink it on its own but to rather pair it with food. If you choose Cydonia 2018 to pair with fish, asparagus or soft cheese I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. 4.5/6    

Availability: from their online shop. In Frankfurt from Apfelweinhandlung.

Price: Florian contacted me and asked if I’d like to try their Apfelwein.

Gutshof Kraatz Wilde Kerle 2018

In 2018, I sampled the Gutshof Kraatz Wilde Kerle 2016. At that point in time, this apple wine made a huge impression on me and landed in my top 10 ciders of 2018. Just a quick reminder, Wilde Kerle means Wild Buddies or Wild Things (if referring to Maurice Sendak’s book ‘Where the Wild Things Are’) in German. And, it’s entirely made from wildly grown wild apple varieties collected from three different locations.

When I visited Florian at Gutshof Kraatz last summer, Florian passed me a bottle of the 2018 vintage. It took me a while to review this drop but the right moment finally arrived. Now I’m going to share my thoughts about this apple wine with you.Company: Gutshof Kraatz
Place of Origin: Nordwestuckermark-Kraatz, Germany
Apples: made from wild apple varieties
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 8%
Package type: 750ml clear glass wine bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass

Appearance: pours a deep clear amber with no head. No carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the scent is strong with notes of caramel,  baked apples, freshly pressed apples, apple flesh and apple skin.

Taste: it begins rather dry with low sweetness and practically no acidity. On the mid-palate, strong bitterness of seeds and lightly burnt caramel. Further down, notes of bitter chocolate but also fresh apple flesh. Finishes dry with low alcohol, lingering notes of caramel and moderate astringency.

Overall: Wilde Kerle is a great example that cider or apple wine is wine indeed and that weather conditions have a huge impact on cider that ends up in a bottle. Between the 2016 vintage and the 2018 vintage, I can see a huge difference in terms of flavours but not in terms of quality.  It is still very carefully made wine of the highest quality. Taste-wise, both have a different set of flavours, the 2016 vintage was more like white wine, while the 2018 vintage resembles cider in many ways, especially due to the moreish caramel flavour and moderate to high astringency. The 2018 vintage is quite unusual as at the same time it both warms up and tastes refreshing (due to refreshing fresh apple flesh and apple skin flavours). Personally, I enjoyed every sip. And, I can’t really say which vintage is better cause they are just so different. However, as I shared a bottle of it with a friend, and, she wasn’t fond of it, I guess you need to like the bitterness (although it wasn’t just pure bitterness as it came with notes of apple seeds and bitter chocolate). I will definitely get more of this when I’m back to Frankfurt. 5.5/6

Availability: from their online shop. In Frankfurt from and Apfelweinhandlung. In Berlin from Schaufenster Uckermark located in Markthalle Neun.

Price: Florian passed me a bottle when I visited him in the Uckermark.

Cider Tasting – Gutshof Kraatz in Frankfurt

img_4397Have I already told you that Frankfurt is a fantastic city, especially if you’re into Apfelwein? Apfelwein can be purchased pretty much everywhere here. One of the great apple wine spots in Frankfurt is the Apfelweinhandlung run by Jens Becker, where recently a tasting of apple wines made by Florian Profiltich of Gutshof Kraatz from the Uckermark took place. Actually, it’s not so long ago when I visited Florian in the Uckermark and had a guided tour of the facilities located 200km north of Berlin. For detailed visit recap, click here.

Actually, Florian together with his wife Edda just started their vacation. Their plan was to visit Metz, Luxembourg and Pfalz. But they also decided to squeeze in a short stop in Frankfurt and showcase Florian’s apple wines at Apfelweinhandlung before really going on vacation. Florian brought a couple of bottles that I have already tried and even reviewed. But, he also brought with him wines that were new to me so I was very excited to taste them.

Altländer Pfannkuchenapfel Schaumwein 2017 (ABV: 8% )

img_4386It’s not my first acquaintance with this apple wine as I tried it at Florian’s Gutshof Kraatz and also reviewed it recently (click here for the full review) so I was happy to be able to try this beautiful sparkling apple wine again.  Florian mentioned that this apple variety needs a marine/coastal climate and is rare to find in other regions of Germany. It’s a typical cooking apple used for baking. In addition, it’s a great apple to press and quite similar to Bohnapfel but with less astringency. The 2017 vintage was made from apples grown in two locations and bottled in 2018. Appearance: clear, golden, still. The body is medium. Aroma: caramel, lemon, yellow apples, a distant hint of Bretts. Taste: dry, moderate lemon-like acidity, yellow apples, smokiness, low bitterness, low astringency. Overall: Just like the last time and time before last time, drinking the Pfannkuchenapfel Schaumwein was a pure pleasure. Smooth, quite light, nicely balanced with a long-lasting taste. Interestingly, the wild notes were less strong both on the nose as on the palate. Other participants were fond of this drop too! 5.5/6

img_4388

Schwarze Katze 2018 (8.5%)

Schwarze Katze is made mainly with Bohnapfel. The juice was pressed 5 days after crushing, so the fermentation kicked in spontaneously and gave better juice yields. After the primary fermentation, Schwarze Katze underwent secondary fermentation in the bottle and was aged on lees. Appearance: cloudy, golden, medium carbonation. The body is medium. Aroma: yellow apples, not strong. Taste: dry, moderate to high lemon-like acidity, moderate astringency, low astringency, off-notes, short taste. Overall: Again, this was the 3rd time I was tasting this drop (here is full review). And, it still didn’t convince me. The off-notes are too strong. Also, the taste was rather short. Despite nice apple-y flavours on the palate, I’m not going to be friends with this one. 3/6

Bohnapfel 2018 aus dem Holzfass (8%)

img_4391This is a single-varietal apple wine made with Bohnapfel that was aged in French oak barrels that were previously used for red wine. Florian recommended decanting the Bohnapfel 2018. Appearance: clear, golden, still. The body is medium. Aroma: caramel, moderately strong, vanilla. Taste: dry, moderate to high lemon-like acidity, yellow apples,  lightly watery, low astringency, lemon, caramel, vanilla. Long taste. Overall: I tried this wine for the first time. It lacked the body although it was rich in terms of flavours. Others liked it and thought it was interesting but could imagine drinking only a glass of it, not more. I think it’s a good description as it didn’t strike me as well. 3.5/6

Goldrenetten 2018 (9.5%)

img_4394-2Goldrenette is a blend of 5 different renettes including Kasseler Renette, Blenheim Renette, Goldparmäne, Graue Renette and Boskoop. Appearance: clear, golden, still. The body is medium. Aroma: caramel, butter caramel, strong. Taste: lightly sweet, low acidity, low but lingering burnt caramel-like bitterness, medium astringency, caramel, butter caramel, vanilla. Long taste. Overall: Again, I tried this wine for the first time. There was lots going on both the nose and the palate. And, it was indeed a pleasure to drink this drop. I love the rich apple wines that make you discover more notes with every sip. Also, I personally loved the flavours of butter caramel. Definitely, something that I would like to try again. 5/6

Adamsparmäne 2018 (9.5%)

img_4396Adamsparmäne is actually an English apple variety also known as Norfolk Pippin. It gives quite small apples according to Florian. Appearance: almost clear, golden, still. The body is medium. Aroma: quince, strong, aromatic, apple skin, vanilla. Taste: lightly sweet, low acidity, moderate caramel-like bitterness that lingers on, caramel, butter caramel, quince, low astringency, alcohol. Long taste. Overall: I didn’t like the 2016 vintage at all (for full review click here) as I thought it tasted way too bitter. Hence, I was very curious to taste the 2018 vintage. The 2018 vintage is admittedly also quite bitter but the bitterness is not striking, not unpleasant. It’s just not a plain bitterness but a nicely incorporated bitterness contributing to the overall taste instead of killing it. Its taste is rich, with lovely notes that go on and on. I enjoyed it this year. 4.5/5

Wilde Kerle 2017

img_4398Florian makes this apple wine from wild apple varieties that once. Appearance: clear, pale golden, still. The body is medium. Aroma: caramel, quince, rather weak – but the tasting temperature was here a bit too low. Taste: dry, moderate to high acidity, yellow apples, moderate caramel-like bitterness, quince, high astringency. Long taste. Overall: It’s different to the 2016 vintage that I absolutely adored (to read the full review click here). The taste is still very long and a lot is going on on the palate here. Interestingly, the level of acidity was higher than I remember and made this apple wine taste very refreshing. Still, the acidity was a bit too strong even for me. It didn’t compliment this offering. But from what I heard also others had similar thoughts to mine. 4.5/6

Wilde Kerle 2018

img_4399It’s the 2018 vintage of the same blend. Appearance: clear, golden, still. The body is img_4404medium. Aroma: vanilla, caramel, lightly citrusy. Taste: slightly sweet, low acidity, caramel, apple seeds and apple seeds- bitterness, apple skin,  moderate astringency. Long taste. Overall: It’s fascinating to compare two very different vintages that were made from the same apples but in a different year. The 2017 vintage had a much higher acidity, while the 2018 vintage was rather low in acid. Also, while the 2017 vintage is more fruity with notes of quince, the 2018 vintage has more body and alcohol with more caramel-like notes. Even the colour was different. It shows how different weather conditions were in this region in both years (see the pic above). 5/6

Sauerkirschen 2018 (16%)

img_4400This is not an apple wine  as you can judhe by the colour but a wine made with sour and sweet cherries. Florian made only 300 bottles of this drop. It was the first time he managed to get the fruit as previously the birds would eat almost the whole crop. But somehow in 2018, starlings spared the cherries so Florian could also experiment with cherries. Appearance: dark magenta, still. The body is medium. Aroma: cloves, cinnamon, blackberries, like mulled wine, very strong. Taste: moderately sweet, low acidity of cherries, cinnamon, cloves, low bitterness, moderate astringency. Long taste. Overall: I double-checked with Florian if he added any spices to this wine. So no spices added. I was amazed as the notes of cinnamon and cloves together made this drop taste like a not so overly sweet mulled wine with extremely strong notes of Christmas spices. All participants loved this offering including me. 5.5/6

Overall, I knew Florian before and tried many apple wines or fruit wines made by him. So it wasn’t a surprise to me that most of the wines tastes during this evening were really brilliant. But this tasting gave me a rare opportunity of comparing different vintages of the same wines from the range of Gutshof Kraatz. It was striking that most of the 2018 vintages had a rather unusually low level of acidity but higher alcohol level. This is in line with weather conditions that were in 2018 that caused lower acid levels in apples. Also, it was interesting to see how the taste of Altländer Pfannkuchenapfel Schaumwein 2017 evolved. I tried this wine three times within 3 months and now there were almost no funky notes on the palate.  It just shows that there are truly many factors influencing the taste of cider and that apple wine is a wine not without a reason. With age, it changes. I wish there would be another tasting in another 3 months so I can compare my notes. From left to right: Edda Müller, Natalia Wszelaki, Florian Profitlich, Christine Isensee-Kiesau, Jens Becker, Michael Stöckl

Gutshof Kraatz Altländer Pfannkuchenapfel Schaumwein 2017

This is one of the products that I sampled during the visit to Florian Profitlich’s premises in the Uckermark. At the time, Florian wasn’t really fond of his product as, during secondary fermentation in the bottle, wild flavours appeared that he’s not a fan of. Whether I loved it? Just read below.

Altländer Pfannkuchenapfel is an old apple variety dating back to 1840 in Altes Land near Hamburg. It’s actually a cooker with pleasant acidity.Company: Gutshof Kraatz
Place of Origin: Nordwestuckermark-Kraatz, Brandenburg, Germany
Apples: Altländer Pfannkuchenapfel locally grown in the Uckermark
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 8%
Package type: 750ml green champagne bottle wired and corked
Recommended type of glass: wine glass or flute

Appearance: pours a clear golden with a huge white head. High carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong with notes of pear, leather, quince, yellow apples and distant hexane.

Taste: my first impression is dry with no residual sweetness and medium acidity of lemon. The mid-palate has notes of yellow apples, Bretts, smokiness, notes coming from lees, low astringency. Finishes citrusy with some bitterness of grapefruit pith.

Overall: My tasting notes don’t show the beauty of this product. It’s one of the most pleasant ciders or sparkling Apfelweins that I recently had. The taste is complex, wild and has an incredible length. The finish is citrusy with delicious flavours of grapefruit pith. Florian is a fan of clear taste in cider and didn’t like the notes of leather and Bretts. But these flavours are exactly what make this cider so special and give it more depth. I shared a bottle with a friend and she also enjoyed the Altländer Pfannkuchenapfel. Perhaps not as much as I did but still. So despite some wild notes on the palate, it is a product for everyone. This is definitely something I will buy again. 5/6

Availability: from their shop and online shop. In Berlin from Schaufenster Uckermark located in Markthalle Neun. Online from QRegio. In Frankfurt from Apfelweinhandlung.

Price: Florian contacted me and asked if I’d like to try his apple wine.