“On Farnum Hill, we stick to the true meaning of the word “cider:” an alcoholic beverage fermented from particular apples, just as “wine” is fermented from particular grapes.”
This was quoted from Farnum Hill’s website and I couldn’t have said it better. Visit their website, watch their videos and you will understand the importance of true cider apple varieties. Just like a winery selects the ideal grapes, the cider maker utilizes the optimal apple varieties.
When I visited Farnum Hill’s web site I got a bit more than just a brief descriptive list of available ciders. What I got was a thorough lesson on the life of the apple tree, the history of cider and a biography of all members of the cider making family. This is the real deal folks.
Between 1960 and 1980 McIntosh and Cortland apples were the varieties grown on the old dairy land of New Hampshire. As the market turned toward industrial and imported apples such as Red Delicious and Granny Smith, Poverty Lane started growing heirloom varieties for wholesale. This led to the next big step of growing true cider apples such as bittersharps and bittersweets. On their site they list 24 varieties and call that a small selection. Just imagine…Wickson, Ashmead’s Kernel, Dcalville Blanc D’Hiver, Chisel Jersey and Foxwhelp just to name a few.
I anticipated this to be a big and special cider. The reputation has preceded my drinking experience.
For the pour
A brilliantly clear and clarified butter color made a canvas for tiny bubbles that rose uniformly to the surface. This had great legs and I knew the mouth feel was going to be rewarding.
Farnum Hill takes pride in their choice of apples and just from the nose, this is evident. The aroma provided intense floral and earthy characteristics quickly followed by a mineral character and then the unique characteristic shone through. Subtle butterscotch and honeysuckle. Yeah this is going to be amazing
The body was full, just as I expected. It takes effort to move the cider across the tongue. A great and rare quality. This is an indication of bittersharp apples. A badass, in your face cider. Acidity takes a big bite off your palette. A non apologetic cider.
For the main show, I am hit with medicinal and funky flavors. Wet earth and rose pedal water. As expected, this cider was bone dry with bold but approachable tannins. Farnum Hill extra dry reminds me of a proper British garden.
My over all impression
This proper farmhouse style cider is not for sissys. It was unapologetic, a “this is what cider should taste like” concoction. Love and passion went into this. I imagine a don’t give up approach went into to making this superb product.
I have been on a role lately. Oliver’s, Argus and now Farnum Hill. Please send me more Meredith!