Despite their fruit-based and agricultural similarities, cultures surrounding cider and wine are very different. Many wine lovers happily drink cocktails but shun cider. Yet the broadest definition of wine is simply “fermented fruit juice.” There is common ground between cider and wine not only in process, but sometimes in aromas, flavors and texture, too. Here are seven ciders that might surprise your wine-focused friends and possibly convert them to the cider side, with a wine variety to reference when you do. And remember to pick cider yourself!
Like Sauvignon Blanc?
Try Santa Cruz Cider Lot 16 Luz del Valle.
For fans of cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc, this single-orchard blend of handpicked, heirloom apples from the Santa Cruz, California, maker is alive with pineapple, passionfruit, tangy apple and pear, lemon-lime, tart white peach, green apple candy and a light kiss of oak. Enjoy it with traditional Sauv Blanc fare, such as goat cheese, salads and fried green tomatoes.
Try Christian Drouin Poiré.
Here’s a perry bottling which resembles Champagne on the yeasty, savory-sour nose with inflections of dried white flowers, dried ginger, lemon, chalk and fresh, whole wheat bread. But the palate of this Normandy cider channels German Riesling. It starts sweet and fills the mouth with pear, piquant stone fruit, lemon and delicate white flowers, then finishes with mouth-watering tanginess.
Try Redwood Coast Cider Biker Chardonnay.
Now that many wine drinkers are passing up oaky, buttery Chardonnay for crisper versions, the leap to ciders like Biker Chardonnay from this San Carlos, California, cidery isn’t big. Dry and made entirely from Sierra Foothills apples, this cider reveals fragrances of ripe green apple, lemon, lemon verbena and tropical fruit. The smooth, light-bodied palate is similar — green and yellow apples, pear, nectarine skin and floral undertones — with a clean finish.
Try Michel Jodoin Pétillant Rosé.
The Canadian godfather of pink cider, Cidrerie Michel Jodoin grows more of the red-fleshed Geneva crab apple that anyone in North America. The apple is showcased in this bouncy sipper, with some help from McIntosh. Strawberry, watermelon, spring blossoms and freshly sliced apple plump up the bouquet, with fruit-sweetness and simple acid that wraps up off-dry and on point with sparkling bubbles.
Try 2 Towns Ciderhouse Rhubarbarian.
Rhubarb is the secret weapon in this delightful, seasonal drink from Oregon’s largest craft cider producer. Light-bodied, yet complex, intensely flavorful and very mouthwatering, its flavors of rhubarb, tart red cherry, strawberry and dark flowers make it a perfect choice for Beaujolais lovers.
Like Pinot Noir?
Try Sundström Sponti 2017.
This small-lot, bottle-conditioned New York cider mirrors the structure of the Pinot Noirs of Burgundy, France, with very fine, persistent tannins. Though its core flavors differ — honeydew melon, crème fraiche, underripe stone fruit and dried citrus peel — the texture is a great match for Pinot-friendly dishes such as pâté, poultry and pork loin.
Like Cabernet Sauvignon?
Try Farnum Hill Kingston Black Reserve.
Capitalizing on the high-acid, high-tannin Kingston Black apple variety, this cider from the New Hampshire-based cider pioneer can take on similar pairing prowess to the beloved Cabernet Sauvignon, which also touts a full-bodied structure built on big acid and bold tannins. To make it even easier, this bottling goes sans bubbles to showcase the subtly aromatic and bright, dry cider.
This story originally ran in the Vol. 13 print edition of Cidercraft magazine. For the full article and more like it, click here.