Tabun Cydr z Otomina Wytrawny Dziki 2019

It’s time for Polish cider! Today, I’m about to evaluate a cider from Tabun Cydr z Otomina made by Michał from Otomin. As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts about Michał‘s cider made, he, like any other cider maker, likes to experiment. Especially that he is still trying to create the best possible cider. His Dziki (wild in Polish) is one of his recently released experiments. It’s made with 8 different apple varieties (a blend of old apple varieties and cookers) fermented with wild yeast. After fermentation, it has been aged for 6 months and then bottle conditioned.
As per Michał, his Dziki sells like hotcakes despite Covid-19.

Company: Restauracja Tabun
Place of Origin: Otomin, Pomerania, Poland
Apples: a blend of 8 apple varieties
Sweetness as per label: wytrawny (dry)
ABV: 6,7%
Package type: 
750 ml green glass with crown cork
Recommended type of glass:
 white wine glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy bright straw yellow colour with no head. Low and natural carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma has very good intensity, literally pours out of the glass and is pleasantly refreshing with notes of lemon, grapefruit but also funk. In the background, very distant sulphur and something spicy.

Taste: my first taste is dry with low acidity of lemon and grapefruit. On the mid-palate, watery, smokiness, notes of funk, grapefruit peel and a hint of sulphur. Finishes with a pleasant and refreshing note of grapefruit peel followed by a touch of bitterness.

Overall: So far, my favourite cider made by Michał. It is lovely refreshing with notes of lemon and grapefruit but it’s not sour at the same time. Dziki has a good intensity on the nose, a good length along with complexity. It lacks a bit of body, which Michał sees as an advantage. But if you ask me, due to lack of body and a watery taste, one could say Dziki is something between a refreshing lemonade and white wine. An enjoyable one but still. This is the only comment I can make here. Again, since Dziki was fermented with wild yeast, and has some funkiness, not everyone will like e.g. my friend refused to drink it (good for me!). Overall, I’m not surprised that this cider is so popular within Tabun’s customers. I’m going to order some myself. Will pair well with fish, seafood or pizza. 4.5/6 

Availability: only in Poland for now at Restauracja Tabun in Otomin and from Alfroalko in Gdynia. Soon available in Warsaw from Zrodlo Niebanalnych Piw i Alkoholi and from Winnacja in Krakow.

Price: a bottle of this cider was provided by Michał (Restauracja Otomin)

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.

Tabun Cydr z Otomina 2018​ (with a black crown cap)

After I posted my review about the Tabun Cydr z Otomina 2018, Michał reached out to me saying that he agrees with my critical thoughts about his cider. Therefore, he created a new cider with improved acidity, sweetness and aroma. It is made also with 14 apple varieties but in a different ratio. And, although it carries the same name, the crown cap has a different colour. Black. The previous one came with a golden crown cap.Company: Restauracja Tabun
Place of Origin: Otomin, Pomerania, Poland
Apples: a blend of 14 apple varieties including 8 dessert or cookers such as Golden Delicious, and 6 old apple varieties such as Kaiser Wilhelm or Transparente de Croncels
Sweetness as per label: wytrawny (dry)
ABV: 6.2%
Package type: 
750 ml green glass with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: 
flute or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy dark golden yellow with a tiny white head that quickly reduces to a ring. Medium to high natural carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is rather weak with notes of yellow apples, lightly vinegary, apple stem and yeast.

Taste: it starts bone dry with low acidity of lemon. Smokiness, notes of lemon, red apples, banana, yeast, a bit watery and moderate astringency. Finishes with low bitterness and a touch astringency and a note of lemon. And, off-notes coming from lees.

Overall: the Tabun with black closure tastes indeed different than the version with a golden crown cork. Some features are better but some seem to be worse compared to the cider made by Michał that I tried before. The nose is rather weak and doesn’t have many notes on the nose. Also, the nose has strong yeasty notes, which cover other possible notes in this cider. The taste of yeast and off-notes due to lees are also detectable on the palate. Surprisingly, although the level of acidity is higher than in the previous batch I don’t find this cider refreshing. Admittedly, this one is less watery so the increase of acidity indeed made a difference. But I’m still not impressed. It’s drinkable but that’s it. Michał, you can do better. 3/6

Availability: at Restauracja Tabun in Otomin and from Alfroalko in Gdynia.

Price: a bottle of this cider was provided by Michał (Restauracja Otomin)