It is going to be difficult to find this somewhat rare cider, unless you are traveling on Highway 128 through Anderson Valley and happen to want to find “The Apple Farm”, located off the highway outside the tiny town of Philo. The Apple Farm grows upwards of 100 different varieties of apple trees, some 100 years old. This cider is sold primarily at the farm and might be found in a restaurant or two in the Bay Area. The yellowish/green cider is slightly cloudy upon pouring and while sparkling, it’s bubbles don’t bubble up much. This is an aromatic cider the sports prominent roasted yeast notes, hints of brett, stewed apples and citrus. There is also a not of sulfur, that deposits a bit of the rotten egg aroma. Medium bodied on the palate, what makes this cider stand out is its structure. The Empire State building is a perfect skyscraper and beautiful for the symmetry of its lines and shape. The same can be said of the Bates and Schmitt Hard Cider. This is beautifully built with a near perfect collection and combination of tannin, acid, alcohol and slightest note of sugar. The flavors here are very adult. Tartness on the green (not yellow) side hits first and is followed by underripe green apple. There is a saltiness on the palate too, along with a distinctly herbaceous character that I like. The cider finishes long and refreshing with the effect of the tannins lingering on the side of your mouth. I’d certainly want to serve this with food, and probably something fairly substantial. Were it not for the sulfur in the nose, this cider would get a higher rating.
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