Hard Cider Review: Estate Winesap by Blue Mountain Cider Company

I discovered Blue Mountain Cider Company‘s products recently at Scrumpy’s Hard Cider Bar in Fort Collins, Colorado, and overall I’m liking their products.  Their Dry Creek semi-dry is particularly noteworthy, being remarkably champagne-like, refreshing, and festive.

Like Dry Creek, their Estate Winesap is part of their primarily lineup, and is made from Winesap apples grown onsite with an emphasis on sustainable practices. It’s available, as is the rest of their lineup, by mail order on Blue Mountain’s online store…which is how I obtained mine.

Side note: Though shipping these to Colorado is ridiculously pricey, they have a cider club that sends you 6 bottles of cider–selected by Blue Mountain staff–twice a year; as part of this, they extend you a 20% discount on your other cider purchases throughout the year. Plus, they have amazing customer service, if my experience calling and emailing them is any indicator. So yeah, I belong to their club now…

Single-variety cider is a risky proposition, as it’s hard to achieve a full, complex flavor profile without blending multiple varieties with different characteristics together. I’ve heard that it can be done, with such varieties as Golden Russet, but that appears to be very much the exception rather than the rule. And so I was interested to see what a single variety Winesap cider would be like. As you’ve probably surmised, now I know.

The Estate Winesap is a little bit disappointing, frankly, compared to Blue Mountain’s dry and cherry ciders. It’s just as well-executed as the others in terms of clarity, strength (6.75% by volume), carbonation, appearance, consistency, and packaging–and the flavor is unique and interesting, if only subtly different from other ciders that use primarily table or dessert apples–but it just isn’t robust enough to be memorable.

It’s perfectly refreshing and tart, and there is an interesting, unique twinge of astringency to it that I can’t quite put my finger on, but it’s only a ghost…call me unsubtle, but I need a bit more character in a cider, a bit more woody earthiness that I’m just not getting here. I’d put it on par with Glider Cider, and wouldn’t hesitate to drink either of them, but they’d both take a back seat to some of the more robust alternatives out there.

While the Estate Winesap isn’t as amazing as had hoped, I remain excited to try what Blue Mountain sends me through their cider club, and to see what shows up through their distribution channels to cider bars like Scrumpy’s. Plus, their onsite cider club benefits may eventually entice me to visit them in person…

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