Drink Review: E. Z. Orchards Cidre

February 10, 2011

On February 3, cidermaker Kevin Zielinski of E. Z. Orchards Cidre did a tasting at Bushwhacker Cider, which has since grown into a nice little neighborhood pub.

Zielinski was pouring his 2009 vintage. It is a nice amber gem color, though slightly hazy because it is bottle conditioned naturally carbonated but the excess lees the carbonation produces was not removed. It has an excellent and strong aroma. The flavor is very pleasant, though between alcohol, sugar, and acid, sugar is the dominate flavor, though it is probably an off dry. It has a very pleasant mouth feel, and no lingering aftertaste. It is incredibility easy to drink, and may become my new favorite craft cider.

Zielinski says he does not use sulfites, does not filter, and does not pasteurize, and so far has not had a problem with shelf stability here in the Pacific Northwest. He added that he had not lost a batch to spoilage from not using sulfites due to using good fruit and cleanliness, though he has lost batches due to cider maker mistakes.

Zielinski had the foresight to plant cider apple trees in his orchard in 2000, and he began making cider in 2003. He said he would do a single crush, but then split the juice four ways to run various experiments, such as temperature differences during fermentation or different yeasts. He said in 2007, he felt he finally had a commercial worthy product, which he then repeated in 2008, which lead him to become licensed in time for the 2009 vintage, which is now on sale for $12 a bottle. He only makes one cider style, which is done in a French method, which he said he found does not work on dessert style apples.

We were asking him a little about his orchard, and the advice he had was to first find out the growing habits of the trees, as some are more vigorous than others. Next, he said to find out the tree’s retention. That is, does the apple have a short stem, so it is likely to be squeezed off the tree in the first windstorm? The United States, due to E. Coli outbreaks on dropped fruit, does not permit the use of dropped fruit for anything, even though there is enough evidence that E. Coli does not survive fermentation. However, an apple that stays on the tree longer is also more likely to have more sugar and will have better flavor. Zielinski added that he actually picks his fruit and then puts it into cold storage, and then crushes and presses all the fruit at once in January.


2 Responses to “Drink Review: E. Z. Orchards Cidre”

  1. […] Anyway, on the docket for Saturday, I will be tasting new cidery Methow Valley Ciderhouse. My husband Burtle and I will be tasting the two hopped ciders side by side for comparison. I think I will also give Finnriver’s Spritied Apple Wine a try. I’m not sure I’ve had all of Tieton’s cider, and it is difficult to get Westcott Bay cider, so that is 3-4 more to try. Is Carlton Srumotown new? I’ll give Sea Cider another taste. The two French ciders could be interesting, too. Of course, there are the favorites Red Barn and EZ Cidre. […]

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