Czider Félédes

Do you know how Orsi from Hungarian Czider got into cider making? She got familiar with cider in London where she had lived and worked for a few years in Finance. But the breakthrough happened during a cider tasting in a bar in Budapest in 2010. Since none of the sampled ciders came from Hungary, a country with a relatively high apple production, she has decided to change it. So after several homemade ciders, she applied for an EU found ‘Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs’ and I got it. With this, Orsi has received a financial support and could go to an EU country learn a business. This is how she met Mike Johnson from the Ross-on-Wye Cider & Perry Company who taught her everything about cider and cidermaking. In 2013, Orsi and her business partner Kata released their first cider in Budapest. Czider plans to expand and modernise the production facility so Orsi and Kata applied for an EU funding for research and development. Fingers crossed that you’ll get it!Company: Magyar Czider Kft.
Place of Origin: Vértesboglár, Fejér county, Hungary
Ingredients: a blend of three Hungarian dessert apple varieties with xylitol
ABV: 7%
Package type: 330ml brown glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or wine glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy pale golden with a huge white foam that slowly reduces. Medium natural carbonation. Body is medium and has a creamy texture. Some sediment in the bottle.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is quite strong, sweetish and fruity with notes of pears, white wine, apple stems and yellow apples.

Taste: it begins moderately sweet with a light apple seed bitterness and low acidity of lemon. Notes of white wine and champagne, light astringent taste, strawberries, red apples and apple stems on the mid-palate. The aftertaste has hints of fresh cut grass, and ethanol and something harsh once it warms up.

Overall: surprisingly Félédes (semi-sweet) tastes drier than the previously reviewed Száraz (dry). Also, it has a different set of flavours and resembles more cider this time than perry. Félédes actually tasted quite pleasant and refreshing when it was chilled but once it warmed up, a harsh flavour of alcohol and a rather unpleasant harsh note came to shine and did no good to this cider. So drink it properly chilled. Nevertheless, I would consider using other apple varieties in the blend. 3/6

Availability: directly from Czider, at various festivals, in many restaurants and bars especially in Budapest’s party district Gozsdu udvar and in Jamie’s Italian Castle Buda.

Price: Czider Félédes was a sample provided by Orsi from Czider.

Abavas Ābolu Vīns Pussaldais

Ābolu Vīns Pussaldais is a semi-sweet apple wine created by Abavas, a cider maker from Latvia. As advertised by Abavas, Ābolu Vīns Pussaldais is made from selected Latvian apples, which are pressed and subsequently slowly fermented at low temperatures.

Company: SIA Abavas dārzi, “Kalējkrāmi”
Place of Origin: 
Slampes country, Tukuma region, Latvia
a blend of selected Latvian apple varieties
Sweetness as per label: semi-sweet
ABV: 12%
Package type: 500ml clear glass wine bottle with natural cork
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass

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

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is fruity and vinous with notes of raisins, watermelon, stone fruits and guava.

Taste: my first taste is moderately sweet of plain sugar with a light acidity of lemon.  Notes of yellow apples, guava, lychee, cantaloupe melon and some raisins on the mid-palate. In the finish, a biting taste of alcohol with a light bitter note and the lingering sweetness of sugar.

Overall: there are many sweet ciders that taste phenomenal. I’m sorry to say that Abavas’ Semi-Sweet doesn’t belong to this group. I didn’t enjoy the lingering sweetness of plain sugar with fruity notes of guava and lemon. Also, there was a biting touch of alcohol with other harsh notes towards the end, which I thought were very disturbing. Overall, drinking this apple wine was like listening to a slightly unsynchronised music band. Great musicians who didn’t find a musical connection with each other. I’m sorry, Martins, but your semi-sweet apple wine was one of the weakest offerings from your line-up that. 2.5/6 

Availability: in the Netherlands from CiderCider, and in Latvia from Spirit & Wines.

Price: Ābolu Vīns Pussaldais was a sample provided by Abavas.

Mr. Plūme Ābolu Sidrs Dzirkstosais 2016

Spring has arrived in Europe (at least in Berlin) with sunshine and temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius. So I thought to give a try to a nicely chilled sparkling cider Ābolu Sidrs Dzirkstosais 2016 from Mr. Plūme. The Dzirkstosais is a blend of various Latvian apple varieties and local crab apples, and also two vintages. Interestingly, the Dzirkstosais was obtained using the keeving process combined with several rackings, a method that retains the sweetness in cider. Company: Mr. Plūme sidra darītava
Place of Origin: Jumpravas pagasts, Lielvārdes novads, Latvia
Apples a blend of various Latvian apple varieties and local crab apples
Sweetness as per label: semi-sweet
ABV: 5.5%
Package type: 
375 ml amber glass champagne corked bottle
Recommended type of glass:
flute or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy pale golden with a large white frothy head. Carbonation is high and natural. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is fruity and acidic with notes of lemon, lime, fresh green and ripe yellow apples, ripe juicy pears and a hint of yeast and cloves.

Taste: it has a lightly sweet and slightly acidic start. Next notes that come into play are of lemon, yellow and green apples, ripe pears. Also, a smoky and vinous note with a light astringent taste appear on the mid-palate. The finish is dry and short with a light astringency, a taste of ripe pears and yellow apples with a hint of green apples. A very distant hint of bitterness and light chalky taste as well.

Overall: should good or bad news come first? I’ll start with what I liked, the Dzirkstosais from Mr. Plūme is very fruity and aromatic, both on the nose and the palate. Especially, I was fond of the ripe pear taste. Also, I loved the structure, nicely balanced sweetness and acidity with a touch of soft tannins. However, I have a comment to make here. The finish is too short so the lovely fruity taste of the Dzirkstosais disappears too fast. Also, it lacks a bit body. In spite of that, I enjoyed the Dzirkstosais very much. I think it’s a versatile cider that can be likeable by everyone, as it is not too sour, not too dry or too sweet. Just the finish is too short. But, yes, I would love to have it again. 4/6 

Availability: available from Mr. Plūme. At farmers markets and many other places in Latvia. Possibly also from Siidrimaja in Tallinn, Holm Cider in Copenhagen and MostBirnHaus in Austria.

Price: Ābolu Sidrs Dzirkstosais 2016 was a sample provided by Māris from Mr. Plūme.

Cider Bohemia Barrique

When I posted the review of the Cannabis Cider from Cider Bohemia some were saying that I have to try their Barrique. I got intrigued and when the opportunity occurred I’ve purchased a bottle through a Czech online shop Opily Jabko. The Barrique is made from apples grown in the Pilsen area. After the apple juice is pressed out, it is fermented and after three months moved to new Slovenian oak barrels. Don’t know how about you but I can’t wait to try the Barrique!Company: Cider Bohemia
Place of Origin: Pilsen, Czech Republic
Apples: Czech apples from Pilsen area
Sweetness as per label: semi-sweet
ABV: 4.8%
Package type: 330 ml brown glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass of flute

Appearance: pours a lightly hazy straw yellow with a short-lived white head. Slightly sparkling. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is rich and exhibits notes of ripe yellow apple and red apple, apple juice, apricot jam, peppermint with hints of vanilla, oak cask and lightly medicinal notes.

Taste: the initial taste is moderately sweet, with very low acidity. On the mid-palate crisp yellow and red apple, apple juice, elderflower, pear, vanilla, oak, a taste of oak cask and distant vinegar. It finishes dry with a distant peppermint, and a light medicinal and herbal taste to it.

Overall: indeed, the Barrique is one of the better tasting and most intriguing Czech ciders I have tried until now. It has many interesting and rare notes, has an apple-forward taste with unique and strong lingering oak cask notes in the aftertaste. However, I found the Barrique a bit too sweet to my palate, but if you prefer sweet ciders then I’m sure you’d be satisfied with this Czech cider. Summarizing, a nice cider with an extraordinary palate from Cider Bohemia. Definitely worth trying. 4/6 

Availability: at many food and farmers markets across The Czech Republic. Online from their online shop or Opily Jabko (they ship abroad!).

Price: purchased through Opily Jabko at 45 CZK (1.80 EUR)

Manufaktura Cydru Półsłodki

The Polish cider scene had been dominated by men until Dorota Krawczyk and her Manufaktura Cydru’s team released last year their first cider Wytrawny (dry). Since then she has been creating unique and delicious ciders from, one would say, boring dessert and eating apples. Today I’m reviewing their Półsłodki, which is a semi-sweet cider made from Champion, Gloster and Jonagored.Company: Manufaktura Cydru
Place of Origin: Podolszyn, Masovia, Poland
a blend of Champion, Gloster and Jonagored
Package type: 
500ml green glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: chalice glass, white wine glass, snifter or pint glass

Appearance: pours a clear straw yellow with no head. Slightly sparkling. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is fruity with yellow apples, pear, hints of funk and a touch of sulphur.

Taste: the first impression is medium sweet with low to medium lemon-like acidity, which gives way to notes of pear, yellow apples and a hint of sulphur. It finishes dry with a distant note of bitterness, a chalky taste on the tongue and a pleasant flavour of lemon drops.

Overall: whereas Manufaktura Cydru’s Scrumpy was a cider for a connaisseur, their Półsłodki is a cider for everyone. It will be appreciated by those who like sweet cider, but also by those who like their cider on the drier side. It’s a perfect in between. It’s not as rich on the palate as the Scrumpy, but still leaves some room for sensory exploration and can be likeable. Taken together, I think that Półsłodki is a pleasant and drinkable pour and a good alternative to the Polish mainstream ciders. I would order it again. 3.5/6

Availability: from Skrzynka Piwa, a może Pifko ?Czarodziejka Gorzałka, Hoppy Story, Chmiel i Żyto in Warsaw. In Wroclaw through Drink Hala and Dobre Moce.

Price: a sample of the Półsłodki was provided to me by Dorota from Manufaktura Cydru