Presque Isle Farm’s Farmhouse Hard Cider 2020

I’ve not seen a bat in my house for more than a week now! And the summer’s heat has been (at least temporarily) replaced by cool mornings, golden evenings, and the freshest breezes I can remember. I’m so grateful. My weekend celebrations involved orchard time and so much fresh produce. And I love bringing out an exciting new cider to pair with my favorite recipes. That’s how I decided to open my bottle of Presque Isle Farm’s Farmhouse Hard Cider 2020.

This is how the folks at Presque Isle Farm describe the project and its goals.

Presque Isle Farm is a small centennial farm in northern Michigan. Our mission is to grow nourishing food, a healthy community, a vibrant local economy, and an ecologically flourishing environment. As the local and sustainable food movement grows nationally, we are working to bring that momentum to northern Michigan and build a foundation for health in our community and the world.

You can learn more about Presque Isle Farms online here:

This cider was shared with me at GLINTCAP by the cidermaker, after learning of its fantastic gold-medal performance in the competition. Many thanks! This is my first review of anything by Presque Isle Farm.

Here’s the cider’s official description.

6.9% ABV

Apples: 46% Kingston Black, 20% Northern Spy, 10% Bulmer’s Norman, 8% Brown Snout, 7% Idared, 6% Wild, 3% Rome

Tasting Notes: earthy, apple skin, over-ripe apple, dried fruit

The Farmhouse cider is our table cider blend. It is an everyday cider to drink with foods ranging from steak to seafood, to salads and greens. It contains about 20% bittersweet varieties of apples and 50% bittersharps which give it complexity, body, mellow tannins, and a small amount of perceived sweetness. The other 30% includes apples that add a balanced acidity bringing a crisp and refreshing finish. It tastes and smells of apple orchards.

And now for my experience with Presque Isle’s Farmhouse 2020!

Appearance: transparent, mellow straw hue, few visible bubbles

The color of this cider reminds me of late summer dried grasses; it’s a mellow shade of straw. I’ll call the Farmhouse 2020 transparent. I can see a few stray bubbles in the glass but not many.

Aromas: overripe apples, dried orange, leather

The Farmhouse 2020 smells absolutely mouthwatering to me. I’m awash in notes of leather, overripe apples, and dried orange. The cider just wafts up to my face and offers me many of my favorite cider aromas and creates a strong salivary reaction.

Sweetness/dryness: Dry

I love a dry cider. This cider brings flavor and dimension while remaining dry in a very satisfying way!

Flavors and drinking experience: overripe apples, fried lemon, caramel, tannic

The Farmhouse Cider 2020 evokes many of the same flavor notes in its flavors that I noticed in its aromas. This cider blooms with overripe apple, dried orange, and leather flavors. Additional dimensions like candied orange peel and fried lemon arrive just on the palate. The cider bursts with high tannins and high acidity.

Everyone at the table was oohing and ahhing over this dry, perfectly balanced cider. The Farmhouse 2020 arrives with heft, and structure, lifted up by tiny active bubbles. Though it’s dry, somehow subtle flavors remind me of caramel and nuts; I suspect this comes from the partial barrel aging in the blend.

I love this cider’s creamy full body, luscious fermented flavors, and balanced excitement. It was served with tomato pie, corn on the cob and a pepper cucumber salad. The pairings were seasonal and lovely.


Haykin Family Ciders’ 2018 Method Ancestrale Ela Family Farms Cuvee

This week’s cider was part of a small birthday dinner for a dear friend. It still feels new to me to host little parties again, but it’s the most delicious kind of new. This time of year is perfect for it. I have more tomatoes than I’ve ever had access to in my life, and bread baking is very dinner-party friendly. Plus, my cider stores are rather brimming from all of the dinner parties I haven’t hosted for the past 18 months. This meal got accidentally planned around focaccia bread, the birthday lady’s caprese salad, and my desire to break into a bottle of Haykin Family Cider.

Haykin Family Cider comes to us from Colorado. The cidery is extremely well-decorated from many GLINTCAP wins over the years. The cidery was founded by Talia and Daniel Haykin in Aurora, Colorado. You can visit a tasting room, order Haykin Family Cider online or join the cider club. This cider was shared with me for review, but as always my opinions are my own.

I’ve only ever reviewed Haykin Family Cider’s Harrow Pear before:

You can visit the cidery online:

Here’s Haykin Family Ciders’ official description for the 2018 Method Ancestrale Ela Family Farms Cuvee.

A blend from Ela Family Farms, a fourth generation Colorado fruit grower, including Cox’s Orange Pippin, Ashmead’s Kernel, Jonathan, Golden Delicious and others. This sparkling cider boasts the character of pear, banana, cardamom, lime, and substantial minerality. This bottle was aged 15 months sur lees and disgorged by hand. This cider is semi-dry. 5% of sales of this cider goes back to Steve Ela and Ela Family Farms to help rebuild their orchard after a devastating frost. 7.9% ABV.

Appearance: Slightly hazy, gentle warm straw, bubbly

The Ela Family Farms Cuvée looks decidedly bubbly. I had to pour a second time to make sure we got enough cider and not just lovely frothy bubbles in our glasses. The color is gently warm straw; it isn’t intense. The cider is just a bit hazy and gets more so towards the end of the bottle.

Aromas: Mellow mineral, spices, ripe apple, lemon, honey

I’m expecting something mellow and structured based on what I smell in this cider. Immediately, I get notes of minerals, spices, ripe apples, lemon, and honey. My appetite is most decidedly whetted.

Sweetness/dryness: Semi-dry/semi-sweet

The level of sweetness on this cider surprised me. I thought it would be drier, but while this is semi-dry it’s nearly semi-sweet. Lots of fruit flavors are accessed through the cider’s sweetness.

Flavors and drinking experience: high tannins, medium high acid, woody, minerals, creamy

What a heavenly journey. This cider rolls across my palate with lushness and surprises. At first I was surprised by how near to a semi-sweet cider these tastes. The Ela Family Farms Cuvee follows that surprise with high tannins and medium acidity. I love the excellent sparkle that can only be obtained with the laborious Method Ancestrale. This cider gifts us notes of wood, minerals orange peel, banana, and ripe apple. I love little touches of bitterness that layer between the fruit flavors. The finish is creamy and perfumed. All in all, this cider is such a neat mix of gentleness and firm structure.

We paired this cider with herbed focaccia bread, caprese salad, sauteed zucchini and cauliflower, and veggieful pasta dish with feta. It was a full-flavored summery meal with a cider pairing well matched for the zesty bright garden flavors. What a treat!