Awards

More on Pioneer Pippin, from an expert

unnamed (3).jpg

Pioneer Pippin, a new Governor’s Cup for Cider and some words on our industry

Courtesy of Mark Grimaldi, owner+founder

The Cellar d’Or Wine and Cider Shop, Ithaca NY

from his August 16,2018 e-newsletter discussion of the first New York Wine Classic to include a Governor’s Cup for Cider

Last week, I was invited to be a judge for New York State's premier wine competition, The Governor's Cup from The NY Wine Classic, where hundreds of wineries submit close to 1000 wines for judging.  This year, they added cider to the competition, which myself and cider guru Dan Pucci (formerly of the cider bar Wassail in NYC) were responsible for judging.  I've never really cared much for what it meant for wineries to be given these bronze, silver, and gold medals in the past.  Sure, it means something, and garnering the best of anything in NYS deserves praise. But, you can literally go to some of the worst wineries in NYS and see dozens and dozens of medals adorning empty wine bottles along their walls, so I never really took it seriously.  This year though, the organization had done some major reorganizing and brought in fresh faces to not only run the NY Wine organization, but the judges were all fresh faces as well.  I sat amongst all types of serious wine people, from all different parts of the business--from Masters of WIne, Certified Somms, wine buyers, wine writers, winemakers, consultants--to say that these were serious judges with serious palates would be an understatement.  A far cry from what I had heard about the old guard of judges.  I didn't know I would be also judging ciders in addition to wine until after I sat down with my group. I was beyond excited that they were letting me judge the ciders, and looking back, they had made a good decision by doing that, being that I have tasted hundreds and hundreds of ciders here since The Cellar d'Or's inception five years ago, I would be able to give a better go at it than most people there since not many have had access or devoted as much time to cider as we have here.

Cider Coming Into Its Own


There were 8 flights of ciders, 71 ciders in total.  The range was broad, but they had it broken down into 3 categories--"heritage", "modern". and "Specialty".  Obviously, heritage was going to be the more serious ciders, made mostly from heirloom, wild, or heritage apples, without any other fruits or flavorings.  When we got into modern and specialty ciders we saw a lot hopped, fruited, overly sweet, barrel aged, and lots of ciders that were delicious but made for the mass market.  There were serious ciders in there too--Pommeaus, ice ciders, high-quality barrel aged and fruited ciders for sure. We gave some golds and some double golds out to some of them.  But going back to the Heritage ciders, it was clear that this is where the most serious and complex ciders were. 

The final round of judging came down to the best from each category that we had all unanimously decided to push through to the Governor's Cup final.  It was hard to pick the winner of the Heritage round, and it came down to almost a toss-up between two, but in the end, we thought that Kite & String's Pioneer Pippin was the best cider entered into the competition, followed very closely by Black Diamond's "Hickster".  We only sent two ciders through to the cup round from the "best of modern" flight, which was Angry Orchard's Baldwin and Meral House's Oro d'Oro--both of these ciders were excellent!

Notes on our (K&S) Pioneer Pippin


Today, I want to focus on the Pioneer Pippin from Kite & String. You may know them from their organic farm, known as Good Life Farm, where they farm organically, plow by draft horse, and ethically raise animals and the most amazing fruits and vegetables. Or you may know them from their local cider-only tasting room named The Finger Lakes Cider house, that is the default tasting room for their own ciders, as well as Eve's Cidery, Redbyrd Cider, and Black Diamond Farm.  The Pioneer Pippin is an exquisite cider, and one of the reasons it won best cider was it's sheer beauty.  The aromatics alone were something more associated with a white wine, or some sort of flower-infused tincture, tinged with herbs, yellow tropical fruits, and even a hint of spice.  None of the other ciders had these aromas, and in my years of tasting cider, not many have smelled as beautiful as this one ( and when they do, they are from the Finger Lakes!).  While many heirloom apple based ciders boast a wild, rough, edgy, funky side--with many cidermakers desiring to have a rustic side to their ciders, Kite & String boasted a clean. pure, pretty side of cider.  On the palate, it has a ripeness, with more yellow fruits coming through, but the magic of this cider, besides for the aromas, are its racy acidity and minerality and how it interplays with the slight bit of residual sugar (it's just a hair bone dry) it has.  I love a slight residual sugar when there is high acid, it gives you that mouthwatering sweet-tart sensation, and I really only pick that up to this degree in good German Feinherb Riesling.  The bubbles are also superb, as this is a hand-disgorged, Champagne method cider. 

If you're a cider lover, or a wine lover who just hasn't found cider that interesting--this may be the one to try.  The ciders from our region here in the finger lakes, are proving to be some of the most exciting in the world.


How to get Pioneer Pippin

You can always shop with us! Our Cider Club featured Pioneer Pippin in August (still shipping til mid October when we change over to the new quarter). We also ship all our ciders to over 35 states!

ORDER CIDER OR JOIN OUR CIDER CLUB

We want to share our gratitude especially to Mark and The Cellar d’Or for their long-time support of FLX orchard cider. The Cellar d’Or has an exquiste cider club which features ciders from around the world mixed with the best of our region.

MORE INFO ON THE CELLAR D’OR AND THEIR CIDER CLUB

winning the governor's cup.jpg

Breaking news: Kite & String Wins NY Governor's Cider Cup at the New York Wine Classic!

IMG_2380.JPG

'Pioneer Pippin' breaking all kinds of ground!

K&S Pioneer Pippin wins both Governor's Cider Cup- first time awarded to a cider- and Best Heritage Cider.

FULL NEW YORK WINE CLASSIC RESULTS

We're psyched! This year seems to have a run on the FLX for wine and cider for accolades, and we're not complaining. The work has and is being put in, and New York State and the FLX are showing our stuff!

A few months ago, the Finger Lakes Cider House won #7 in USA TODAY'S 10 Top Cider Bars (nationally). Now, the Finger Lakes Currently Leading USA Today Poll for Best Wine Region, (you can vote through August 20).

About Heritage Cider

The US Association of Cider Makers (USACM) put together a style guide for cider, to help differentiate the incredible range in our industry. We identify as Heritage Style and choose more frequently to define ourselves as "orchard cider". For context...

Heritage Ciders are made primarily from multi-use or cider-specific bittersweet/bittersharp apples,heirloom varieties; wild or crab apples are sometimes used for acidity/tannin balance. These ciderswill generally be higher in tannins than Modern Ciders. This style encompasses those produced in the West Country of England (notably Somerset and Herefordshire), Northern France (notably Normandyand Brittany), Northern Spain (notably Basque and Asturias regions), as well as New World ciders and others in which cider-specific apple varieties and production techniques are used. Aroma/Flavor- Increased complexity derived from the cider maker’s selection of apples and production techniques. Common attributes include increased astringency, bitterness and complex aromatics.
Appearance- Typically yellow to amber in color. Ranges from brilliant to hazy, depending on the cider maker’s intention.
Varieties- Commonly used varieties include Dabinett (bittersweet), Kingston Black
(bittersharp), Roxbury Russet (American heirloom) and Wickson (crab).

Join us in continuing to shed our love on the FLX and heritage (orchard) cider!!

Dan Berger International Wine and Cider Competition: Eve's and Good Life win!

Eve's Cidery's 2015 'Darling Creek' takes Best in Class

Good Life's 2015 'Cazenovia' takes silver

View all the results here

We're not surprised! Eve's Cidery has been racking up accolades over the past few years- notably many in Cider Journal which participated in judging the Dan Berger Cider categories.  'Darling Creek' is one of our favorites too, and we're pleased to be serving it this weekend as part of the Eve's Cidery Cider-Maker Afternoon on Saturday, June 10 from 2-5pm.  Drop on in and ask Autumn more about Darling Creek!

Good Life Barrel Rye Wins 2017 Good Food Awards!

More about the Awards and our Traditional Method Orchard Cider

What are the Good Food Awards?

Criteria, with which we concur

The Good Food Awards were created to redefine ‘good food’ as being tasty, authentic and responsible. We aim to set criteria for entry that are realistic and inclusive of food and drink producers who have demonstrated a commitment to be part of building a tasty, authentic and responsible food system, going far above and beyond the status quo for their industry, while not making them so strict that eligible participants are limited to a small handful of products. The Good Food Awards reviews and revises its category criteria each year under the supervision of its Committee Members to ensure that the criteria advance with the advancement of each industry. The Awards are rooted in a belief that by being inclusive, our American food system will more closely embody the principles of tasty, authentic and responsible more quickly.

Principles

Tasty
• Food is delicious, bringing joy to those who consume it.
Authentic
• No artificial ingredients are used.
• Food is an expression of tradition and culture.
• Seasonality and locality are valued in crafting of food.
Responsible
• Respect and fair compensation are core values within the production chain.
• Ingredients are grown without synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides and are GMO free.
• Growing practices are chosen to promote healthy soil and biodiversity.
• Local ingredients are utilized wherever possible.
• Water and resource conservation and recycling are practiced.
• Transparency and honesty is practiced with consumers.
• Direct, face-to-face communication is sought out between growers, food crafters and everyone else in the production chain.
• Good animal husbandry is practiced and farm animals can eat and behave according to their natural instincts.

How We Fit

Good Life Cider is an expression of Good Life Farm.  Good Life Farm is a wildly diverse small organic farm where we focus on Good Soil to create Good Fruit and Good Cider. Two of our ciders- ‘Cazenovia’ and ‘Honeoye’- are named for the main soil types on the farm.

Good Life Farm is owned by Garrett Miller and Melissa Madden, who work alongside a delightful and dedicated crew.  Our orchard is young, and we use a mix of our own high-brix organic apples and those sourced from nearby Finger Lakes orchards. Good Life Cider comes from the hearts and minds of the Brothers Miller- Garrett and Jimmy form a dynamic duo to turn FLX fruit into your drink.

Our ciders are distinctly American in style, which means we’re not afraid to borrow from the world of traditions. Good Life Cider creatively blends international influences with a taste of the Finger Lakes through our mineral-rich, acidic apples. Our cider line ranges from tannic and dry to bright, fruit-forward and sweet; in sparkling, traditional method (champagne) and barrel-aged styles.  Our range is based on traditional bittersweet apples and sharp, acidic heirloom fruits. 

'Barrel Rye' highlights the fabled NYS-native Golden Russet apple, balanced with the tannic influence of bittersweets 'Yarlington Mill', 'Dabinett', and 'Tremlitt's Bitter'.  'Barrel Rye' is a barrel-aged, traditional method cider, with natural bubbles from a second in-bottle fermentation.  We disgorge all our bottles here at Good Life Farm and age for several months with cork and cage before releasing each vintage for sale.

Where to try 'Barrel Rye'

In honor and gratitude, we offer free tastings of 'Barrel Rye' through February, right here!  Drop by any day of the week (we are still open 7 days a week through the winter) and tell us you want to explore Good Food.

How to get 'Barrel Rye'

Buy it here!  We will always have it on our shelves, and you can taste it for free!

Not in our area and can't stop by?  We'll ship!  Order on our online cider store.

Looking for it now?  Email us for locations in upstate NY and the New York metro area!