Obsthof am Steinberg Goldparmäne Alte Bäume 2014

Imagine an apple orchard with over hundred different, mainly old and rare apple varieties, where over fifty of them are used for the production of a fine Apfelwein, which is even served in Michelin-starred restaurants. Would you like to try such Apfelwein? Who wouldn’t! Today I have the pleasure of sampling the Goldparmäne Alte Bäume 2014 produced by Andreas Schneider of Obsthof am Steinberg in Nieder-Erlenbach, Hesse, Germany.
Company: Andreas Schneider/Obsthof am Steinberg
Place of Origin: Frankfurt / Nieder-Erlenbach, Hesse, Germany
Apples: single varietal from organic King of the Pippins
ABV: 5%
Package type: 750ml green glass bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass

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

Aroma/Nose: a beautiful bouquet with an array of overripe and fermented apples, apricot and wood with gentle funky notes of barnyard and leather. The nose makes me think of French cidre. Very inviting.

Taste: it starts moderately sweet with medium lemon-like acidity. The mid-palate has notes of caramel, apricot, red ripe apples, some smokiness and a gentle oaky taste with a moderate astringency on the tongue. The aftertaste has apricots, a gentle white wine note and a hint of grapefruit-like bitterness.

Overall: It’s hard to believe that this is a single varietal Apfelwein. It’s so rich and wonderfully balanced. The nose reminds me of French Cidre, but the taste apart from Cidre also has notes typical of English style cider, so it tastes like a meeting of English and French cider. Andreas squeezed out every drop and every possible taste of this apple variety. Really amazing! What I found surprising is that the Goldparmäne has no bitterness typical for this apple variety. Summarizing, the Goldparmäne is a sophisticated, but still easily drinkable Apfelwein that can be served instead of dessert wine. It could be slightly less sweet though, but it’s my personal preference. 5/6

Availability: at their farm and from Apfelweinkontor.

Price: purchased online from Apfelweinkontor at 12.50 EUR.


Hoflößnitz Original Sächsischer Apfelwein

Weinhaus Hoflößnitz don’t reveal too much information about themselves on their website. However, the region Hoflößnitz in Saxony, Germany has a long history of winemaking tradition, which began in 1401 with the purchase of three neighbouring vineyards by William I, Margrave of Meissen. Since wine production and cider production have a lot in common. it’s not surprising that Weinhaus Hoflößnitz also offers the Original Sächsischer Apfelwein (the Original Saxonian Apple Wine).Company: Weinhaus Hoflößnitz
Place of Origin: Radebeul, Saxony, Germany
Apples: unknown
ABV: 6.8%
Package type: 1l clear glass bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear orange with no head. No carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma has notes of dried fruits, apples, raisins, apricots, peaches and red apples.

Taste: the first sip is sweet with a rather low acidity. The mid-palate has notes of dried fruits, apricots, red and yellow apples with a distant bitter taste. The aftertaste has a taste of dried fruits with a persistent distant bitter taste. No astringency.

Overall: the Original Sächsischer Apfelwein is a refreshing pour that can be sipped on a hot summer day. Personally, I found it a tiny bit too sweet and too dull/tiring. I had enough after only one glass. But, for those who prefer a less tannic drink (and not tart or sour), I think this is a quite pleasant and drinkable alternative. 3.5/6

Availability: from their vineyard in Saxony, and from Not Only Riesling in Berlin.

Price: Not Only Riesling in Berlin at 6.90 EUR

Bright Side Cider

All I was able to find about Bright Side Cider is that the company was established in 2016 by Thomas Nowatzky and Rudolf Moos, two cider lovers and entrepreneurs. Despite the popularity of their product, they stopped the production earlier this year for unknown reasons. But, you can still find their cider in many shops in Berlin.Company: Bright Side Cider GmbH
Place of Origin: Berlin, Germany
Apples: locally grown apples
ABV: 5%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear deep golden yellow with a short-lived white foam. Low carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: smells like a sweet apple juice made predominantly from red apples, with a hint of fermented apples, and a buttery note.

Taste: it starts sweet and slightly watery with low acidity and a strong apple juice taste. The mid-palate has a hint of smokiness to the apple juice-like taste and gentle tannins. The aftertaste is dry and slightly astringent.

Overall: similarly to Outmost’s Outcider Mild the Bright Side Cider has a striking resemblance to Apfelschorle, an apple juice mixed with spritzer, which is a typical beverage drunk in this part of Germany. So, I am sorry to say this, but the Bright Side Cider is just another apple juice-like tasting cider. When I buy cider I want to drink cider, not Apfelschorle. Summarizing, Bright Side Cider is drinkable, but I still don’t get what is the point of producing an Apfelschorle with alcohol and calling it a cider. Is it because cider is getting more trendy? 2.5/6

Availability: only locally in Berlin from Weinberg, Tante Frizzante, FlaschbierschopGetränkefeinkost Berlin.

Price: purchased from Flaschbierschop in Berlin at 2.30 EUR.

Döhne Apfelschaumwein Brut 2013

In the northern part of Hesse, 15 km away from Kassel in Schauenburg Joachim Döhne makes his exquisite Apfelwein using the traditional champagne method. Although the cidery was established only in 1996 he and his Apfelschaumwein are already well known and highly regarded in the German as well as international cider world. Let’s find out why. Shall we? 🙂Company: Brennerei und Kellerei Joachim Döhne
Place of Origin: Schauenburg-Breitenbach, Hesse, Germany
Apples: a cuvée of Boskoop, Jakob Lebel, Schöner von Herrenhut and Kaiser Wilhelm
Sweetness as per label: brut
ABV: 10%
Package type: 375ml green glass champagne-corked bottle
Recommended type of glass: flute

Appearance: pours a clear deep golden with a large white head, created by massive bubbles. Carbonation is the champagne type. I love to watch those hypnotizing strings of bubbles.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is dry and has notes of pears with ripe apple skins and flesh.  More distant flavours include wood, and something earthy. The aroma reminds me a bit of French cidre.

Taste: it begins very dry with white wine notes and lingering moderate to high lemon-like acidity. The mid-palate has overripe apples, red apple flesh and skins. The finish is tart and dry with soft tannins. Also, it has a moderate astringency with a mildly bitter and wood flavour. The astringency slightly increases after a while. Alcohol, despite the high ABV, is not perceivable in the taste but gives you warming effect in the throat.

Overall: I loved it! Seriously! Both the palate and the nose show complexity, good structure and depth. Every sip was a pure pleasure. Taste wise somewhere between a French cidre, German Apfelwein and dry champagne. Döhne’s Brut is just a perfect bubbly to celebrate New Year’s Eve, your birthday or the fact that champagne made from apples can taste divine! A must try! 5/6 

Availability: as for now only shops in Germany seem to stock Döhne’s Apfelschaumwein. Locally at the farm and online from Brennerei und Kellerei Joachim Döhne. Online available from Apfelweinkontor, Apfel im GlasAhle Wurscht Shop, Kaufhaus Hessen, Weinzeche.

Price: purchased online from Apfelweinkontor at 8.5 EUR

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.




Apfelweinkontor WeinAusÄpfeln Apfelperlwein Streuobst Restsüss 2015

Since 2012 Apfelweinkontor have been supplying German Apfelwein lovers with the best quality Apfelwein along with English cider, Spanish sidra, French cidre and recently even Polish cydr. Some of you may know that Apfelweinkontor produces also their own Apfelwein under the brand WeinAusÄpfeln. Annually they produce 4-5 different Apfelweins, which year after year receives Pomme d’Or award at the Apfelwein International in Frankfurt in many categories. More than that, their Apfelwein won 3rd place at Australian Cider Awards in 2012. Time to try another award-winning apfelwein!

Company: Apfelweinkontor
Place of Origin: Sachsenhausen, Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany
Apples: old German varieties, so called Streuobst
Sweetness as per label: medium dry to medium
ABV: 5%
Package type: 750ml green glass champagne corked bottle
Recommended type of glass: flute or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale straw with a large white foam, which quickly dissipates. Carbonation is the mousseux type. Beautiful bubbles rising to the surface are absolutely hypnotizing (despite artificial carbonation).

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is typical for champagne or dry white wine. The nose has also a sweet note with a green and crisp apple.

Taste: the first sip has a moderate lemon-like acidity, which balances out a relatively high sweetness (at least higher than I was expecting). I can also sense a very pleasant and refreshing hint of green apple with a very distant acetic note. Also, other green notes are present, but they are unrecognizable to me. The aftertaste is dry with green notes.

Overall: This apfelwein has a very clean sophisticated taste without any off notes resembling rather medium sparkling white wine than apfelwein. No tannins or at least I can’t taste them. Also, I expected less sweet taste from Restsüss, which means residual sweetness in German. To my palate, this apfelwein was a bit too sweet, but it’s just my opinion. Nevertheless, Apfelweinkontor produced a refreshing apfelwein of great quality. I think that their ‘Trocken’, (German for dry) will be more appealing to me. Restsüss is for those, who prefer their cider on the sweeter side. 4/6

Availability: if I’m not wrong, exclusively through Apfelweinkontor in Frankfurt, Germany.

Price: purchased online from Apfelweinkontor at 8 EUR.

Gutshof Kraatz Schöner von Boskoop 2013

German apfelwein from Gutshof Kraatz, which I am sampling today is quite unusual as it comes from Uckermark located in the northeastern Germany. Uckermark is not really associated with the tradition of apfelwein like other German regions, such as Hesse or Swabia. However, there is a logical explanation to this. In the 1930ties Christian Kaufmann, who established the cidery, moved from Swabia to Uckermark and introduced the traditional Swabian cider to the local community with great success.Gutshof Kraatz_Boskoop 2013.jpgCompany: Gutshof Kraatz
Place of Origin: Nordwestuckermark-Kraatz, Germany
Apples: made from a single old apple variety Belle de Boskoop
Sweetness as per label: medium dry
ABV: 7%
Package type: 750ml clear glass wine bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass

Appearance: pours a crystal clear, golden amber body with no head. No carbonation.

Aroma/Nose: on the nose, there are floral notes with overripe apples and some pears. I can also sense mild and sweet honey notes with some kind of spiciness. Also, very distant sulphur. Overall, the aroma resembles more wine than cider.

Taste: this apfelwein is medium dry as some residual sugar is perceivable. There is also a moderate lemon-like acidity, which is still within a palatable range. The medium palate has overripe apples, apple peel, and apple flesh. Furthermore, I can taste citrus notes with some spiciness. The aftertaste is lingering and dry and has gentle bitter and astringent notes with a minimal touch of alcohol.

Overall: My experience with German apfelwein/cider wasn’t the best so far. But I think this apfelwein can be a sort of breakthrough. Boskoop has a really nicely balanced moderate acidity. Good structure and complexity. Imagine biting into a juicy apple but instead of sourness and sweetness, you taste pleasant moderate acidity and dryness. But it doesn’t taste like apple juice at all. This is quite rare. Great apfelwein! 4.5/6

Availability: good question. Gutshof Kraatz has their own online shop but apart from that, I think only locally in Uckermark. Gutshof Kratz’s apfelwein should be also available through Apfelweinkontor.

Price: purchased locally from Anna Vom Feld in Berlin (7.9 EUR). They closed recently.