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In-Cider Trading

Posted by on October 26, 2010

There may be debate about whether or not Albemarle Ciderworks has a place on the Virginia Wine map, but not for us. To me, apples are just like anti-social grapes (no bunching here!) that grow on a monstrous vine . After all, you can see apple trees espaliered (trellised) like vines at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Or, if you require a serious answer, Frank at DrinkWhatYouLike did a post that gets into the specifics of making cider, including the difference between apple cider and apple wine. Sorry, I just had to deal with the elephant in the room. Onward!

We’ve been to Albemarle Ciderworks before, shortly after the tasting room opened last summer. Some friends of ours were going to be in the area, so we decided to meet up for a re-visit. This time around they had four ciders to offer. First up was the Jupiter’s Legacy ($16), a blend of 15 apples and crabapples. It’s very dry, floral, and a little spicy, with great apple flavor (duh). Given what crabapples taste like fresh from the tree, it’s amazing how great they are in cider.

From there we moved on to the Old Virginia Winesap ($16), made from 100% Winesap apples. We were blown away by the incredibly clean, fruity flavor with a great balance of floral and tartness. Royal Pippin ($16) was next. This is made from Albemarle Pippins, which are probably my favorite apple. I want to mention that I would never have tasted a Pippin were it not for the great folks at Vintage Virginia Apples – the same folks behind Albemarle Ciderworks. They sell at the Charlottesville City Market, as well as at their own harvest festival. But I digress. The cider is crisp, clean, and like an apple champagne with its light effervescence.

We finished with the Ragged Mountain ($16), a cider made from Winesap, Grimes Golden, Stayman, Black Twig, and other apples. It’s a little sweet but oh-so-apple-y. My comment was “Love. It.” For me, the worst part of any visit to Albemarle Ciderworks is trying to decide what to bring home with me. I feel like Mozart trying to choose a wig!

We also wanted to give a shout-out to two vendors who were there that day, sampling their wares. Caromont Farm, who makes some of our favorite goat cheeses, was there. We love them. They were accompanied by Jam According to Daniel, makers of some of the most ridiculously awesome jams you could ever hope to find. If you get the chance to try their wares, be warned – you will be powerless to resist!

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Creative Commons License
The In-Cider Trading by Swirl, Sip, Snark, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

5 Responses to In-Cider Trading

  1. VAWineDiva

    I absolutely love this place, and I plan to make sure that it doesn’t take us another year to get there again. I’m not as sold on the Winesap as my partner, but I think that may have more to do with my lack of familiarity with the flavor of Winesap apples than anything else. (I grew up on Cortlands and have become a convert to the Pippin now that I’m in VA.) I’m really looking forward to pairing the bottle of Jupiter’s Legacy we brought home with some great grilled pork tenderloin. I’m also intrigued by their suggested pairing of the Ragged Mountain with slightly spicy food. As a final note – go buy Jams from Daniel and Caramount goat cheese – your tastebuds will love you for it!

  2. Chris

    Not to sound too drunky drunky, but is this hard cider or sweet cider? And how big are the bottles (jugs?) available for sale?

  3. Chef Shawn

    Thanks for the review, but now you’ve made me thirsty. I have to drive by this place 4 times a week (twice each time I go to Cville), and it takes a serious act of willpower not to stop by every time!

    Don’t forget the Vintage VA Apple Fest, coming up on Nov. 6th. I know I’ll be there all day, gorging myself on food, hard cider (to answer Chris totally out of turn since this isn’t my blog, ACW itself does only hard ciders, and they’re all fairly dry. Even the “sweet” one is pretty dry.), and easily the best sweet cider (from VVA) I’ve ever had!

    I love all ACW’s hard ciders. My favorites are the Winesap and Pippin, right now, but that latter might just be because of the memories of some friends, a lot of hard cider, and a day watching LotR on the big screen with a live orchestra. Of course we bought the Pippin for that…what else could you possibly get that would be so appropriate!? So, it has a special place in my heart. But, it’s also just darn good. I like the Winesap because it’s so dry and crisp–it tastes just like the apple, but with no sugar. I want to pair it with some really hard cheeses soon!

    And I have a foodie crush on both Jams According to Daniel and Caramont. Really, putting these three places in one room would be enough to keep me happy for years to come (happy, drunk, and fat, actually; but, it would totally be worth it!).

  4. Kat Barnard

    I’ve only made it out here once, but was really impressed with how friendly they were! The ciders we tried tasted like they had probably been open for a few days, so we bought a couple try at home when they were freshly opened- now you have reminded me that we should open them up and try them!
    There is a new cider place opening up across the street from us on the historic Castle Hill estate some time next year – I can’t wait!

  5. GrapeEnvyGuy

    Thanks for the heads up on the new cider place, and glad you like Albemarle Cider Works!

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