Cider Review: Eden Extra Sec
Cider is an incredibly diverse drink. I’ve lost track of how many unique ciders I’ve tried, but the count keeps rising. Still, there are entire styles of cider that I have yet to explore, and others – such as American heritage cider – I’m only starting to discover.
I have tasted a few American heritage ciders over the years. There are a lot of great heritage cider options, but most are not widely distributed in the Midwest. Wanting to change that, I ordered seven different ciders from Eden Specialty Ciders in Vermont.
It was difficult to choose which cider to open first, but Eden’s Extra Sec seemed like a good place to start. This dry heritage cider is made from proper cider apples – bittersweets and heirloom varietals – and finished in the méthode champenoise to create natural carbonation. Each bottle is hand disgorged and dosed to an inconspicuous 9g/L residual sugar with Eden’s ice cider, which softens the acid ever so slightly and highlights the fruit from which it’s made.
Light golden hue, extremely clear, lots of carbonation on pouring, quickly foams up and then dissipates leaving tiny, natural bubbles rising in the glass. Also, at 8%, this cider shows off its legs a bit.
Sweet and slightly overripe apples, in an “I’m fermenting whether you want me to or not” kind of way. There’s a woodiness to it that makes it seem the tannins are reaching out of the glass (which is interesting as tannins can’t really be “smelled.”
I want to chew this cider and extract every last bit out of it. First there’s big, ripe apple flavor. The hard (bitter) tannins turn to soft (astringent) tannins. Brisk acidity is balanced by a smooth, yeasty character and the slightest hint of sweetness. It’s all here.
Dry and drying but not abrasive. Medium body, and warming, probably from the higher alcohol content. Takes most of the moisture off the tongue, but there's enough acidity to keep the mouth watering for more.
Extra Sec is the first cider I’ve had from Eden, and even given my limited experience with American heritage cider, I can say it is among the best out there. I had the pleasure of talking with and attending sessions featuring Eleanor Léger, founder and co-owner of Eden while at CiderCon 2019. Her passion for this craft shows because extraordinary cider isn’t created by accident. This is real heritage cider, made using proper apples and techniques. No concentrates, no artificial sweeteners, and no nonsense. I’m looking forward to trying the others even more now.