The Packbasket is a newer, small batch (only 96 cases) cider from Steve Selin of New York’s formidable South Hill Ciders. Out of the bottle, the appearance of the cider is revealing. Not so much for the muted golden color, but rather for the absence of any bubbles. This is one of those still-rare dry and still ciders. On the nose, the Packbasket leans forward with a combination of both fresh and stewed apples. The aromas possess apple purity. The 7.4% alcohol is not in the building. The barest hint of yeast forms a thin cap atop the apple aromatics. On the palate one is faced with an explosion of juiciness that gets lifted up by lovely, noticeable acidity and a modicum of tannin. Almost entirely dry, the Packbasket delivers up the same ripe apple purity found on the nose along with notes of lemon and a halo of herbal flavors. The finish is creamy and long. It’s a cider that is produced, in the Selin way, with foraged apples taken from seedling trees. This is beautiful, well-crafted cider that is wine-like and trades not only on its purity of apple aromas and flavors but a fantastic balance of fruit, acid, tannin and alcohol.
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