I picked up a bottle of this Eve's Cidery Essence ($22) at the Ithaca Farmer's Market last summer -- after I spent way too much time deciding which of the amazing, mostly ethnic, food stalls to buy lunch from.
Essence is an "ice cider" that is made by allowing late harvest juice to freeze partially. As the juice freezes the water is separated out and the remaining juice is concentrated with high brix and intense flavors -- just like ice wine.
I don't know that much about them, but ice ciders are apparently very popular in Canada, but the U.S. TTB doesn’t have an ice cider category yet, so this cider can't be labeled that way.
Pure fresh and roasted apple aromas are joined by a distinct caramel note on a bright, intense nose.
Sweet but not sugary or cloying because of balancing acidity, it tastes almost like apple pie without the crust -- apples, caramelized sugar and something that hints at spice.
The finish is long and while I think this would work best with fall, tree fruit desserts, it was a surprisingly good pairing with a blue cheese made in the Finger Lakes.
Producer: Eve's Cidery
Rating: (3 out of 5 | Recommended)