Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Massachusett's West County Cider...Another Fun Cider

Another fun cider you should try and find is West County Cider from Massachusetts. It's worth the effort. The Maloney family –Terry, Judith, and Field— began making hard cider commercially in l984. They’d been making cider for themselves and their friends for years before that. They grow much of the produce that appears on their table. It makes sense to them to ferment cider from the apples of these hills.

They moved to the Northern Berkshires from Northern California in l972. This was Apple Country, not Grape Country. They didn’t find grapes for their year’s supply of wine, but instead they found a living, pleasurable tradition.

Here's some quotes about them:
"The Next Great Drink"
The Maloney family from Colrain, Mass, offers the lightest, cheerful bottled hard cider-the very thing to drink with dinner... To appreciate the subtle location in the musical scale of the mouth of the taste of this hard cider from West County Hard Cider, first rid your taste buds of the things it is not. It is not dark, swilly and robust like regular cider (however good), nor does it have that slightly frustrating neither here nor there quality of a wine cooler. It's not wine of course, though there's a distant cousinship-pingponging from grape to apple-between the lightest of light white wine and this bubbly hard cider, which has less than half the alcohol (from four to six percent), a difference you can pleasantly appreciate when you can still read a book after dinner. This family winery, in business since l984, uses local apples (not from concentrate!) blending bittersharp and bittersweet ones with sharps like northern spy and sweets like red delicious. Too bad it must be called 'hard' because if anything it tastes and makes you feel easygoing. Also too bad the word 'refreshing' has been overused by tinny tacky soft drinks, because it well applies. It's an Emma Thompson of a drink, both modest and bracing. Bottled (no six packs) and capped, this cider goes very well, unobtrusively, indeed enhancingly, with food. It comes in 'bone-dry'to sweet-and even that is restrained-and can be found at DeLuca's, Martighetti, Hi-Rise Bread Company-and on tap at the Plough and Stars."

Mopsy Strange Kennedy, The Improper Bostonian Newspaper

"The temptation is to compare these ciders to a white wine. They have a similar complexity, though the alcohol content is consistently lower (4% to 7.5% by volume, compared with 8% to 14% for wine). Ultimately, though, this comparison is misleading. In hard-cider tastings, wine connoisseurs may find themselves at a loss for words; the vocabulary used to describe wine doesn't quite apply. These ciders, in short, must be appreciated in their own right. They are American classics, and their only equals belong to another age."

Thomas Christopher, Martha Stewart Living, October 2001

More 'Acclaim' in Saveur (The Saveur 100'), Jan.'03; Wine Spectator(9/02); New York Times('A Guide to Apple Ciders'),Jan '97;