Cider Review: Vander Mill Casnovia
CiderCon 2019 was brought many things with it: new friends, new opportunities, new connections, and of course, new cider. Throughout the week I was able to sample dozens of new-to-me and new-to-market ciders. There were just as many, if not more, that I missed simply because the options were nearly endless. All the more reason to continue seeking cider, right?
Vander Mill’s Casnovia was one of the ciders I missed. Fortunately though, I was able to bring a bottle home. Casnovia is made from the harvest of the first crop from recently cultivated bittersweet varietals like Yarlington Mill and Dabinett, and heritage sharps like Spitzenburg and Golden Russet. This version is fermented with a cultured yeast, but another that has been fermented by native yeast called Casnovia Wild is available.
Golden yellow and brilliantly clear, with light carbonation on pouring that quickly dissipates, leaving a fair amount of tiny bubbles rising in the glass.
Fresh apples mostly, with hints of baked and spiced apple.
Stone dry minerality with a hint of spiciness. Essence of apple, but not over the top with fruitiness. There's mild acidity that wants to become sharper and hit you but bitter tannins balance it out and keep it in check.
Bone dry, but not abrasive. Supple body and smooth astringency. There's a bit of woody spice that lingers, along with mild (in a good way) apple flavor.
Vander Mill makes many excellent ciders, and Casnovia is a worthy addition to their heritage line. It showcases the apples without any adjuncts or other flavors to get in the way. The acidity and tannin are well-balanced and approachable – this would be a good introduction to heritage cider for those who are new to sharp acidity and tannins in cider while offering ample complexity for cider snobs. Though it clocks in at 8.5% ABV, it's very smooth and not boozy.
Enjoy this cider chilled but not cold. While it was fine coming out of the cider fridge, it really came to life as it warmed up. More aromatic, bolder tannin, sharper acid, and a juicier apple flavor all around.