Cider Review: Argus Ozark Brut
There's something about a numbered bottle of cider that excites me. It might be the exclusivity of it - it's a limited production cider and we managed to procure it. Or perhaps it's that it's going to be a cider unlike any other we've tried before, and one that won't be duplicated in the future. Mostly though, I think it comes from knowing that the maker is proud of the liquid in the bottle.
This bottle of Ozark Brut Cider from Argus Cidery in Austin, Texas is number 449 out of 1668. It was made from the 2015 harvest of Jonathan, Jonagold, Stellar, Golden Delicious, and Melrose apples from A & A Orchards in Arkansas. It was fermented with both wild and cultured yeast before aging 3 years in French and American cider casks. Yes, I am sure the folks at Argus are proud of this cider.
Straw yellow and completely clear. Fairly carbonated upon pouring, but carbonation quickly dissipates leaving tiny bubbles rising in the glass. Swirling the glass reveals the cider as thin but not afraid to show its legs (must be becuase it's warm in Texas).
Funky barnyard notes. Woody, too. The barrel character really shows up, which I suppose it should after 3 years. Some of the funk turns slightly acetic, but not offensively.
This cider packs a lot of malic acid up front. Some of the acidity is slightly acetic, but it quickly gives way to oaky smoothness. As the acidity melds with the wood, juicy fresh apple flavor comes through. Trailing off toward the finish there's a subtle smokiness and yeasty barnyard notes that join the party.
This cider finishes dry. The acidity is astringent and oaky tannins are smooth. The apples, and the wood they spent so much time in, stick around for quite a while.
Rustic but not rough. Sour, but then smooth. The wood is present all throughout but never overpowering, and it's pleasantly funky from start to finish. I've had mixed luck with Texas ciders but Bottle # 449 of Ozark Brut falls cleanly into the enjoyable category.