Ramborn Apple and Quince Blend 2017

It’s time to turn to Ramborn cider that was made in 2017 in combination with quince. It’s their limited edition cider.Company: Ramborn Cider Co.
Place of Origin: Born, Luxembourg
Fruit: apples and quinces
ABV: 7%
Package type: 750ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy pale golden and a huge white foam that slowly reduces to a ring. High carbonation. Body is medium. Sediment on the bottom.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong. Notes of wood, unidentified fruits, mirabelle plum, quince, banana and yeast.

Taste: my first taste is dry with a touch of sweetness, low acidity of lemon. Smokiness, low to medium astringency, distant apricot, watery, a bit yeasty. Finishes with a touch of astringency, herbal notes, low bitterness and off-taste of yeast.

Overall: my first time trying this cider was at Cider Gourmet in Frankfurt at CiderWorld2019. I loved its fruitiness and low residual sweetness that rounded up the taste. But judging by the taste of the currently sampled cider, fermentation must have kicked in again making this cider highly carbonated, taste bone dry and yeasty. Unfortunately, for this review, I should evaluate a bottle that was sent to me by Ramborn not cider I had at Cider Gourmet. And, the content of a bottle of Apple and Quince Blend 2017 that was provided by Ramborn is weak. The nose is not rich. The palate is unbalanced, a bit yeasty, not really fruity and with a rather short finish. It’s drinkable but drinking is not entertaining like it was at Cider Gourmet. So I think it would be fair to give two scores. Cider at CiderGourmet would get most probably 4.5 (based on my memories) but this particular bottle sent me for a review gets only 2/6. 

Availability: in Luxembourg from Ramborn’s farm.

Price: Apple & Quince Blend was sent to me by Ramborn Cider Co.

Ramborn Somerset Blend

Cider has deep roots in Somerset, UK. This is indisputable. But Luxembourg, this tiny country bordering Germany, France and Belgium, has also a beautiful tradition related to the beverage made from fermented apples called locally ‘viez’. So why not combine Somerset and Luxembourg cider heritage together in one bottle? That’s how the Somerset Blend was created, a blend of traditional apple varieties of these two regions, Luxembourg and Somerset.Company: Ramborn Cider Co.
Place of Origin: Born, Luxembourg
Apples: a blend of Luxembourgish and English apples
Sweetness as per label: medium dry
ABV: 6%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, white wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear deep golden with an amber hue and a small quickly dissipating white head. Almost no carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: on the nose notes of caramel, yellow and red apples, ripe fresh yellow apples, apple stems and oak with a hint of herbal notes.

Taste: it begins moderately dry with a low acidity. Subsequently, a strong astringent taste gets more prevalent on the taste with a light bitterness of burnt caramel, ripe yellow apples, yellow and red apples and pears. Finishes dry with a light bitterness, a note of burnt caramel, light woody with a touch of yellow apples.

Overall: if I were to create a cider that would be an ode to Somerset and its cider but with a Luxembourgish twist I would have created it exactly like this. Quite strong, but moreish tannins, notes of caramel with lovely lingering apple notes. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Ramborn’s Somerset Blend is a complex and easily drinkable cider offering a journey in the glass from Luxembourg to the English Somerset. I loved it. And, you’re gonna love it too. 4.5/6

Availability: all over Luxembourg. In Germany from The Hop Shop Trier and online through Ciderei. In the Netherlands from CiderCider. In Italy from Sidro&Cider. In Switzerland through Ciderhouse.ch. In the UK through Crafty Nectar. In Belgium from Fermenthings.

Price: Somerset Blend was a sample provided by Adie from Ramborn Cider Co.

Ramborn Kingston Black

No, Kingston Black is not an apple variety typical for Luxembourg. Kingston Black comes actually from Kingston, near Taunton, Somerset, the UK and produces a bittersharp juice, which is just splendid for making cider. It contains a nice balance of tannins, sugar and acids, which make this apple variety suitable for single-varietal cider. But how did Kingston Black end up in Luxembourg? It’s easy. Ramborn has entered into a collaboration with Peter Mitchell, who is an internationally renowned cider and perry authority.

Kingston Black is a limited edition cider from Ramborn Cider. Only 3000 bottles were produced. I’m trying one of them. Company: Ramborn Cider Co.
Place of Origin: Born, Luxembourg
Apples: single variety Kingston Black
Sweetness as per label: medium dry
ABV: 7.3%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, white wine glass or snifter
Ingredients: contains sorbic acid

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber with a little quickly dissipating white head. Almost no carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is slightly sweet with an acidic touch and exhibits notes of red and yellow apples, caramel, butter toffee, juicy fresh apple with a hint of green apples.

Taste: the first sip is moderately sweet with a faintly watery note and low acidity. Subsequently, a hint of green apple, red apple, freshly pressed red apple juice, crisp apple with a delicate astringent taste appears. It ends with an apple seed, apple stems, and a lingering caramel-like bitterness, which moves to a red apple taste. It has a spicy alcohol bite to it and tastes lightly chalky as well.

Overall: Kingston Black tastes like a cross between English cider and German cider (not to confuse with German Apfelwein). It’s a good drop, but not mind-blowing simply because the alcohol burn in the aftertaste doesn’t allow you to appreciate lovely initial tastes of crisp apple, red and green apples with caramel. Due to the alcohol burn, I have the impression that Kingston Black is slightly out of balance so I think I prefer Ramborn’s experiments with local fruits than with English cider apples. Summarizing, the Kingston Black is a nice tipple with a kick. 4/6

Availability: since it is a special edition cider the availability might be limited to Ramborn’s farm. In Germany available perhaps from The Hop Shop Trier.

Price: Kingston Black was sent to me by Adie from Ramborn Cider Co.

Ramborn Cellar Editions Erbachhofer 2016

Erbachhofer is an apple variety that has been used for making Apfelwein or, as locals call it, viez in German Saarland but also in small Luxembourg. When it was time to make a blend for the Farmhouse, my personal favourite cider from Ramborn, Caroline, the cider maker at Ramborn kept some separated Erbachhofer as it simply tasted so good. Hence, tasting Erbachhofer, a cider from Ramborn’s Cellar Editions should give one a picture of what Luxembourg’s cider apples are really like.Company: Ramborn Cider Co.
Place of Origin: Born, Luxembourg
Apples: single variety Erbachhofer
Sweetness as per label: medium dry
ABV: 7.5%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or snifter
Ingredients: contains sorbic acid

Appearance: pours a clear amber with orange hues and no head. No carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is rich and slightly sweet with notes of red and yellow apples, overripe apples, apple juice, oak, and a hint of pear. I can also get a very distant flavour of caramel, cinnamon and cloves.

Taste: it starts with low sweetness and a delicate watery taste with relatively high lemon-like acidity that instantly stimulates your salivary glands to produce saliva. Subsequently, a note of red apples and yellow apples, light astringent taste, oak and apple-seed bitterness appear with a strong smoky note, detectable only in the beginning. A lingering lemon flavour with moderate apple seed-bitterness and a hint of green apple in the aftertaste

Overall: when I tried an apple juice made from Erbachhofer I thought it tasted glorious. Hence, it is not a surprise that also a cider made from this apple variety has an exceptional palate. Ramborn’s Erbachhofer is rich, with a good structure and nicely preserved refreshing appley taste. I was especially fond of the apple-seeds-bitterness, which was quite strong but not disturbing at all. It made me feel that I’m really drinking a traditional viez from Luxembourg. In addition, I enjoyed the fact that the Erbachhofer is a still cider, not sparkling. For those who are not fans of sour-tasting cider, the Erbachhofer may be less palatable. Taken together, The Farmhouse is still my favourite but I wouldn’t say no to a glass of Erbachhofer if it’d be offered. 4.5/6

Availability: since it is a special edition cider the availability might be limited and therefore hard to get. In Germany available at this moment only from The Hop Shop Trier.

Price: Erbachhoffer was kindly sent to me by Adie from Ramborn Cider Co.

Ramborn Farmhouse

Farmhouse is another cider from the Ramborn’s lineup that I’m trying out. It is a blend of three apple varieties Erbachhofer, Holzapfel (also known as the European crab apple), and Wiesenapfel, all indigenous to Luxembourg and surrounding areas, where the cidery is located and sources its apples.Company: Ramborn Cider Co.
Place of Origin: Born, Luxembourg
Apples: a blend of Erbachhofer, Holzapfel and Wiesenapfel
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 6.5%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, white wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber with orange hues and a short-lived white head. Carbonation is artificial but long-lasting and low. Body is light.

Aroma/Nose: the nose exhibits fruity flavours of red crisp apples and apple juice, which then give way to more intense notes of caramel and wood.

Taste: my first sip is dry with a nice level of residual sweetness and moderate, refreshing lemon-like acidity. Crunchy red apple, yellow apple, pear, white wine and wood with a distant freshly milled wood come through on the palate. It finishes with a delicate lingering wood-like, but not spoiling, bitterness and astringency with a hint of honeydew melon.

Overall: the mix of flavours results in something that could be described as “mild diluted whisky sour meets crisp red apple”. Sounds weird, but tastes amazing.  I actually liked it more than their Original simply because the level of sweetness was more to my liking and tannins were more abundant. Farmhouse is an easy-drinking and delicious crisp cider to celebrate the end of your day, every day. When you can’t decide between cider and whisky, this is a perfect in-between. That said, it’s not a cider for everyone due to its distinctive taste. You either love it or hate it. But, if you love it, the Farmhouse lures you back for more. I think I’m lost. 5/6

Availability: locally everywhere in Luxembourg, e.g. in a supermarket Cactus in Remich. In Germany available through The Hop Shop Trier and online through Ciderei. In Italy from Sidro & Cider. In the Netherlands from CiderCider.

Price: Ramborn Cider Co was kind enough to send me a sample of this cider.

Ramborn Perry

Most of you, including myself, were probably not aware until now that Luxembourg is famous for its unique pear varieties, which are very rich in tannins and have an exquisite fruity taste. These features make them perfectly suitable for the production of perry. Therefore, this is not really a surprise that Ramborn Cider Co, the only cider maker in the whole Luxembourg created a perry from fruits coming from very old traditional perry orchards.
Company:
Ramborn Cider Co.
Place of Origin: Born, Luxembourg
Pears: traditional pear varieties including Mostbirne and Nelchesbirne
ABV: 5.8%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, white wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear golden with a large short-lived white foam. Medium artificial carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: smells dry and surprisingly sweet at the same time, with notes of a sweet juicy pear,  white wine notes, wood and distant herbal notes.

Taste: the first taste is moderately sweet with no acidity to it. Subsequently, you get a strong tannic kick, where tannins coat the whole mouth. Interestingly, the tannins here are not aggressive like sometimes those in cider, but still very strong. Just different. After the initial kick, the taste gets more fruity thanks to notes of an overripe sweet and juicy pear with a touch of wood. The aftertaste has a lingering astringency and a chalky touch.

Overall: Wow! I don’t think I have ever tried such an astringent perry so far. It’s very tannic, but as mentioned earlier the tannins are strong, not aggressive. The taste of pear tannins differs from those found in cider and is really special. What I also enjoyed was the fruity taste of pear, which is really pleasant. As for the level of sweetness, it’s just right, not too sweet. However, in my opinion, a touch of acidity would definitely round up the taste. Taken together, I enjoyed Ramborn’s Perry as it is really very unique and one of a kind. But due to high tannins, not everyone might enjoy it. I did! 4/6

Availability: In Luxembourg at their farm, at the LiquidLe Bisdorff Hotel & Restaurant, Brasserie um Tennis. In Germany from The Hop Shop in Trier and online from Ciderei. In Switzerland from Ciderhouse.ch. In Italy through Sidro & Cider. In the UK from Crafty Nectar.

Price: Perry was sent to me by Ramborn Cider Co for testing.

Ramborn Avalon Vintage 2015

According to the Arthurian legend, Avalon was an island full of wild apple trees. And so is the Avalon from Ramborn Cider Company, full of apples coming from old and forgotten apple orchards. The Avalon features 82 different apple varieties. You can find their names on a poster that comes with a beautiful and exquisite packaging, thus making you feel that you are drinking not just any cider, but an extraordinary beverage. I’ve received the Avalon for testing a while ago, but the bottle along with the packaging were just so beautiful and looked so precious, I couldn’t help but stare at the Avalon and constantly delay the moment of uncorking the bottle. Just take a look at the picture below and you’ll understand why. But, I’m ready to try it now.Company: Ramborn Cider Co.
Place of Origin: Born, Luxembourg
Apples: a blend of 82 apple varieties
ABV: 6.3%
Package type: 375ml clear glass bottle with natural cork
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear deep golden with no head. It is supposed to be still, but there are a few tiny bubbles in the glass. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: first note that I get is champagne or white wine-like, but of a noble wine,  not cheap. It smells of both crisp and overripe red apples with a touch of pear. I also get sweet fruity notes. Very inviting.

Taste: the first sip is moderately sweet with low to medium acidity and a note of lemon with blood orange. The mid-palate has a light note of smoked cheese with red crisp apples, a note of white wine and gentle astringency from the tannin. The aftertaste is dry with a pleasant lingering red apple note and a delicate blood orange-bitterness. Once it goes down the throat you can feel the alcohol’s warming effect.

Overall: the Avalon is a beautiful cider, which is very well balanced on the palate, with a long, and pleasant lingering finish. The level of both sweetness and acidity is just right. Moreover, the Avalon comes in an extremely inviting packaging, which makes it just perfect as a gift for any occasion. I assure you that the person to receive the Avalon will not be disappointed as it is a great cider for everyone. However, I have one note to make. If you are in the mood for a lightly sparkling cider or thirst quencher, you’d better grab a bottle of the Original, another cider from Ramborn. But, if you are in the mood for white wine or just want to celebrate, then consider having the Avalon as it is an excellent alternative to white wine. 5.5/6

Availability: all over Luxembourg. Many bars and restaurant stock the Avalon. In Germany available at this moment only from The Hop Shop Trier.

Price: the Avalon was sent to me by Ramborn Cider Co for testing.