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.

Gutshof Kraatz Kaiser Wilhelm Renette mit Quitte 2018

Florian of Gutshof Kraatz likes to experiment with pears and quinces that are locally grown in the Uckermark, Brandenburg. This time, he blended quince with a winter apple variety, which is widely spread across Germany, Kaiser Wilhelm. From my experience, Kaiser Wilhelm gives lovely acidity but it’s not very aromatic itself. Company: Gutshof Kraatz
Place of Origin: Nordwestuckermark-Kraatz, Brandenburg, Germany
Ingredients: Kaiser Wilhelm and quince locally grown in the Uckermark
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 8.5%
Package type: 750ml clear glass wine bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: wine glass

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

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong with dominating notes of ripe quince, yellow apples, fresh apple skin with a distant hint of vanilla.

Taste: my first taste is slightly sweet with a medium acidity of lemon. The mid-palate has a low to medium astringent taste with notes of ripe juicy quince and overripe quince, fresh yellow apple, low bitterness, alcohol, toffee and low vanilla. Finishes with notes of low bitterness, alcohol and vanilla.

Overall: I shared a bottle of Kaiser Wilhelm Renette mit Quitte with my family so there were 5 different judges. My mom who’s not a fan of cider surprisingly enjoyed her glass. My dad seems to like anything that is not sweet and doesn’t taste artificial so he obviously liked it too. My brother and his wife had mixed feelings at the beginning but with the rise of temperature (I served it chilled) or contact with air they even liked this drop. As for me, I loved the refreshing and fruity nose. Also, the bottle content seemed very refreshing despite a pungent taste of alcohol to it. It warmed me up, which is a great feature of a winter cider/apple wine. In addition, I thought it was longlasting with a nice finish. Also, the flavours seemed to change with time, which made it a very interesting drinking experience. But, due to a very intense note of quince both on the nose and the palate, to me, it tasted like a quince wine with Kaiser Wilhelm instead of Kaiser Wilhelm with quince. I’d wished more apple flavours or at least less quince on the palate. Overall, it is a good and quality product that will go well with white fish and crepes with goat cheese. 4.5/6

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.

Gutshof Kraatz Schwarze Katze 2018

Florian Profitlich from Gutshof Kraatz, based in the North of Germany actually makes apple wine, not cidre or cider as he simply thinks that local apple varieties are not suitable for cider making. But make good apple wine.
Nevertheless, he has been frequently asked, whether he makes also cider or cidre. So accidentally he made one. The yeast, in one of his experimental apple wines, re-tarted to ferment in the bottle producing a lightly sparkling beverage with some bitter notes. Since the feedback for this product has been very positive, Florian decided to release his first cider and name it the Schwarze Katze – the black cat. As every cidery has a cider dog or a cider cat.
Schwarze Katze is made with apples grown locally in Uckermark, Brandenburg and harvested in 2018.  As per Florian, Schwarze Katze should go well with specialities of Frankfurter cuisine or smoked fish, wild boar sausage or salat with feta cheese.

Company: Gutshof Kraatz
Place of Origin: Nordwestuckermark-Kraatz, Brandenburg, Germany
Apples: made from old apple varieties grown in Uckermark
Sweetness as per label: brut
ABV: 8.5%
Package type: 750ml glass wine bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: wine glass, chalice glass or flute

Appearance: pours a cloudy golden with a small white head that slowly reduces to a ring. Medium carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is lightly sweet and exhibits notes of yellow apples, fermented apples, smokiness and alcohol.

Taste: it begins dry with a medium acidity of lemon. The mid-palate has a low astringent taste with notes of yellow apples, lemon, gooseberry, unripe fruits, unripe banana and berries. Finishes with a note of alcohol and a longlasting note of lees, higher alcohols with low bitterness.

Overall: The Gutshof Kraatz Schwarze Katze is one of these products that will taste better with food than on its own. Similarly to most products made by Florian, also Schwarze Katze has a rich set of fruity flavours and a longlasting taste. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very keen on the longlasting finish, which was dominated by autolytic notes from lees ageing and a note of alcohol. Personally, I thought the finish was slightly disturbing. Nevertheless, in my opinion, bubbles make Schwarze Katze taste refreshing. And I think it should go well on both cold or warm evening preferably with food. 3.5/6

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

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

Gutshof Kraatz Adams Parmäne 2016

Adams Parmäne is another Apfelwein from Uckermark that was provided to Cider Explorer for testing by Kelterei Gutshof Kraatz. Adams Parmäne is a name of an old English apple variety, better known under an English name, Adams Permain, Matchless, Norfolk Pippin or Norfolk Russet, producing a rich and aromatic juice. Company: Gutshof Kraatz
Place of Origin: Nordwestuckermark-Kraatz, Germany
Apples: single varietal with Adams Permain
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 7.5%
Package type: 750ml clear glass wine bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass

Appearance: pours a  clear pale golden with no head. No signs of carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is dry and exhibits notes of caramel, red and pink apples, overripe red apples, apple skin, fresh red apple flesh, red berries, with a lightly smoky note and a light vinous note.

Taste: it starts dry with little residual sweetness and low acidity, which quickly makes room for a strong persistent plain bitter taste, which lingers on throughout the whole sip, including aftertaste. On the mid-palate, a smoky note (only in the beginning), red berries, yellow apple, watermelon and a watery note with a taste of booze. The finish is dry with a lingering apple seed-like bitterness, yellow apple, low astringent taste, watermelon and a hint of vanilla. The bitter note gets milder/smoother with time.

Overall: I must admit that my expectations towards Adams Parmäne were very high after the glorious tasting Wilde Kerle 2016, Boskoop 2013, Cydonia 2016 and Apfelglühwein. But I have to break your heart, Florian, the Adam’s Parmäne tasted terrible. It was rich, with plentiful flavours of red berries and crisp red apple, but the high lingering and unpleasant bitterness in combination with a watery watermelon-note and a booze-like taste made this Apfelwein undrinkable. To be fair, the bitter note has improved with time, but the Adams Parmäne’s taste was still far from being good. Especially the mid-palate made me grimace. It’s the first ever Apfelwein/cider I have received for testing that actually tastes unpleasant. I’m truly sorry, Florian, this time I didn’t like your Apfelwein. 2.5/6

Availability: from their online shop, Q Regio. In Frankfurt from Apfelweinkontor and Apfelweinhandlung. In Berlin from Schaufenster Uckermark located in Markthalle Neun. In Poland through Vinoteka in Szczecin.

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

Gutshof Kraatz Cydonia 2016

The word ‘Cydonia’ has at least two meanings. It can be a region on Mars or a fruit if referring to Cydonia oblonga M.better known as quince. For his quince wine, Florian from Gutshof Kraatz uses only fruits from local orchards in the North of Uckermark. To be honest, I haven’t had a quince wine before. But I have very pleasant memories with quince liquor made by my friend’s dad. I remember the fruity, lightly acidic taste breaking down the sweetness and a lovely astringent taste to it. Hopefully, the Cydonia crafted by Florian will bring back these memories.Company: Gutshof Kraatz
Place of Origin: Nordwestuckermark-Kraatz, Germany
Fruits: made from quinces coming from local orchards
ABV: 6.5%
Package type: 750ml clear glass wine bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass

Appearance: pours a beautiful, crystal deep clear pale straw with no head. No visible carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is intense, rich and fruity with notes of mirabelle plum, peach, unripe and ripe quince, ripe pumpkin and ripe juicy cantaloupe.

Taste: the initial taste is only slightly sweet with a pleasant medium lemon-like acidity. Then it gets more fruity with notes of ripe and unripe quince, the mirabelle plum, pumpkin, ripe cantaloupe and a light astringent taste. It finishes dry with lingering fruity notes of mirabelle plum, quince, cantaloupe, a lightly chalky taste and a note of lemon drops with a distant herbal note.

Overall: Cydonia is another great wine from Florian of Gutshof Kraatz, only this time it’s made from other fruits than apples, quinces. Interestingly, the Cydonia has nothing in common with the liquor from my memories as it is sophisticated, very rich with a nice balance of sweetness and acidity, with extremely long lingering wonderfully captured fruity notes, which are typical for wines made by Florian as I’ve noticed. Cydonia is a light and refreshing wine, which can be consumed alone or with food. A wine to fall in love with. 5/6

Availability: from their online shop, through Q Regio. In Frankfurt from Apfelweinkontor and Apfelweinhandlung. In Berlin from Schaufenster Uckermark located in the Markthalle Neun. In Poland through Vinoteka in Szczecin.

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

Gutshof Kraatz Apfelglühwein

It’s freezing outside so the best way to warm up is to drink Apfelglühwein! Apfelglühwein means mulled/spiced cider or apple wine in German. And, mulled/spiced cider is obviously mulled with traditional spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamon, star anise, allspice, ginger or bay leaves. Sometimes even with orange or lemon to add some tangy twist. Florian from Gutshof Kraatz has crafted his own Apfelglühwein so all you have to do is heat the cider, enjoy it and relax. Company: Kelterei Gutshof Kraatz
Place of Origin: Nordwestuckermark-Kraatz, Germany
Ingredients: Apfelwein and apple juice made from apples coming from local orchards and gardens, sugar, honey, spices (star anise, cinnamon, cloves)
ABV: 6%
Package type:
750ml clear glass wine bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: ceramic, porcelain or glass mug
Way to serve: bring to a simmer, but don’t boil. You can add extra sugar or honey if desired.

Appearance: pours a hazy clear golden with no head. No carbonation. Body is low. Sediment in the bottle.

Aroma/Nose: the nose exhibits notes of cloves, cinnamon, crisp apple and pear. It smells like a marinade that is used for spiced pickled pear. Except, there is no vinegar note.

Taste: it starts moderately sweet with medium acidity. Then the taste moves to red and yellow apples, cinnamon, cloves, crisp apple, apple juice and a gentle astringent taste. It ends with a lingering flavour of spices with a note of apple juice, baked apples and a hint of bitterness.

Overall: usually cider used for mulled cider is of poor quality as the spices cover all the cider faults so there is no need to use anything better. But you can’t say this about the Apfelglühwein from Gutshof Kraatz. Flavour of spices and Apfelwein are in perfect balance with each other not dominating over another. So you can tell that Apfelwein used by Florian is of good quality giving a lovely lingering flavour of crisp and baked apples. I shared the bottle with a friend and my friend loved it. So did I. This Apfelglühwein warms you up and provides drinking pleasure at the same time. I loved it and would drink it again. 5/6

Note: At first, I’ve tried the Apfelglühwein at room temperature and it tasted less crisp, but when the temperature increased, the level of acidity increased as well. So you might want to add some sugar or honey if you like your cider sweet or to balance out the acidity.

Availability: from their online shop. In Frankfurt from Apfelweinkontor and Apfelweinhandlung. In Berlin from Schaufenster Uckermark located in Markthalle Neun. In Poland through Vinoteka in Szczecin.

Price: sample was provided to me by Florian from Kelterei Gutshof Kraatz