There was plenty of wine, but this past summer actually turned out to be the summer of cider. I hunted down cideries on my travels and brought home a beautiful bottle from Albemarle CiderWorks in Virginia, scanned beer tap lists for ciders to try, and got super excited when the BB&T Pavilion in Camden started carrying Ironbound Hard Cider so I could finally drink something I enjoyed at concerts.
Gravitating toward dry ciders, I'm still on the hunt. The most recent find? Downingtown, PA's, Dressler Estate Origin Manor. The bottle was in among the small but expertly chosen options of craft cider on the bottle shop shelves inside the recently opened Bloomsday Café in Philadelphia, just asking to be brought home.
(Get to Bloomsday ASAP if you're in the region. Coffee, carefully chosen craft booze, good food and a bottle shop. Enough said. No. Wait. One more thing to say: Apple & Whipped Goat Cheese toast with red wine, candied almonds and arugula. Yum.)
Origin Manor is a very limited cider. According to Dressler Estate's website, only five cases were released. It's made from apples harvested at a private orchard in Downingtown from dabinett, gold rush, winesap, golden russet and harrison apples. It's beautifully dry and balanced like a good sparkling wine, fruity, a bit dusty, and tannic with good acidity. The ABV comes in at 7.6%, and I'm wondering if my belief that most ciders fall under 6% ABV might be incorrect.
I'm still wrapping my head around how to describe ciders,needing more of an education - both the type that only tasting, tasting, tasting can bring and also a more formal education. The US Association of Cider Makers offers an intro level certification that can be completed along. I need to make time to fit that in.
The opportunity for those reading this to get their hands on a bottle of Origin Manor are slim, but Dressler Estate produces other ciders, many of which have a larger production. I'll be hunting them down.