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!
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.