Category: Tasting Notes

Inside Cider: 10 Reasons to Add Cider to Your Beverage Menu

While cider is certainly a growing category in bars and restaurants, it doesn’t yet have the universal availability of beer or wine. To find out how we can remedy this, I reached out to Dan Pucci, former cider director at Wassail in New York City (now founder of Wallabout Hospitality); Mattie Beason, co-owner of Black Twig Cider House in Durham, N.C.; Ambrosia Borowski, front house manager at The Northman in Chicago, Ill.; Jonathan Chambers, beverage director at Capitol Cider in Seattle, Wash.; and Diane Flynt, cider pioneer and owner of Foggy Ridge Cider in Dugspur, Va. Collectively, they’re some...

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USACM Standardizes Cider Descriptions

With a nod to the pioneering work of Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition (GLINTCAP) and the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), the United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM) announced its first-ever set of style guidelines in October. Ten distinct cider and perry styles are identified and divided into two main categories (standard and specialty), then further delineated based on aroma, flavor, appearance, ingredient criteria, and, in some cases, production and/or aging methods. According to the document, the guidelines were designed to “build a foundation for the lexicon we use to discuss cider. We hope they will...

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Author Daniele Cernilli Puts Italian Wine at Your Fingertips

Renowned Italian wine and food writer Daniele Cernilli has released The Ultimate Guide to Italian Wine 2018. While the project started years ago as a website-magazine, it’s now the book’s fourth published edition. Organized by region (and cross-indexed by producer), the Guide identifies and reviews “the best and most interesting Italian wineries and wines” found at public tastings both in Italy and abroad. Cernilli, aka Doctor Wine, led a team of experienced professionals in evaluating the more than 2,500 wines (from about 1,000 wineries) mentioned in the book. Wines are categorized by numerous ratings systems, including a quality-to-price ratio,...

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The Wonders of Wood: Cooperages and alcohol producers are expanding the roles barrels can play in altering or refining a beverage’s flavor profile.

A well-built barrel provides alcohol beverage producers the opportunity to fully take advantage of the alchemy that occurs when juice or mash comes in contact with wood. And a finished wine, beer, cider, or spirit can take on even more complexity if it spends time in a used barrel—kissed by the impression of another beverage.   The barrel family tree According to Henry H. Work in Wood, Whiskey and Wine: A History of Barrels, wooden barrels were developed by the Celts in the first millennium BC. As their design and quality became increasingly refined between 1300 BC and AD...

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Editor’s Toast: The Learning Curve

Because I take this job seriously, I decided to learn more about those parts of the industry I’m less familiar with, namely, distilled spirits. Of course I’ve had hard alcohol before, but I’d never really studied it—approached it the way I would a wine tasting—evaluating its aroma, mouthfeel, and flavor rather than just sipping to enjoy. For assistance, I turned to Spirit Works Distillery, where founders Timo and Ashby Marshall have been crafting award-winning spirits since 2003. I spent an informative morning with head distiller Lauren Patz, learning about the ingredients, processes, equipment, and regulations that turn a simple...

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