Maker: Blake’s Hard Cider, Armada, Michigan, USA
Apples: “Late season varieties”
Style: Sparkling apple cider fermented with plum skins.
Purchased for $10/500 ml (Holiday Market)
Appearance: Little head, but persistent bubbles.
Nose: Apple juice, citrus blossom.
Palate: Effervescent and semi-sweet. Semi-tart table apples, pinch of tannin, pinch of yeast.
Finish: More acid and tannin with lingering sweetness.
Parting words: Blake’s Foraged series includes ciders made with fruit “foraged” from Blake farms. There’s Nova, made with Nova raspberries, and then there’s this cider made with the skins of Santa Rosa plums also grown on the estate (see map). Santa Rosa is a 112 y/o variety created by Luther Burbank, inventor of the russet potato. Santa Rosa was very popular through most of the twentieth century but it doesn’t ship well so it’s not often found in grocery stores. It’s soft and sweet and has tart, slightly tannic skin.
The specific varieties that go into this cider are not disclosed on the label but we are told that they are late-season varieties. Whatever they are, they work perfectly with the plum skins, adding tartness and tannins to produce an elegant, balanced cider with a beautiful pinkish color. There is no plum flavor at all here, there’s just added depth and structure.
Santa Rosa pairs very well with food and I even served it at Thanksgiving this last year. $10 is a great price too. I love this cider. Blake’s Santa Rosa is highly recommended.