Have you jumped on the craft cider bandwagon? I remember when the LCBO had selection of maybe four different ciders and now there’s a whole large section dedicated to the drink! While wine is my true love, I will occasionally cheat and have a cider. My interest in cider was especially peaked this summer when I learned about all the wineries in Ontario making their own ciders. All over Ontario wineries are getting in on the cider trend, and they’re making some great stuff! I tasted five ciders made by Ontario wineries this past weekend and here’s what I thought…
No Boats on Sunday cider is originally from Nova Scotia. When Halifax was once Canada’s busiest port, the no boats on Sunday policy was created so that locals could pull up their oars and spend time with family and friends. The cider was created to honour this mentality. And with this delicious cider it’s not difficult to put your oars up, unwind and enjoy. In Ontario, the No Boats on Sunday cider is made by Peller Estates Winery in Niagara using 100% Ontario apples. It’s light and fresh with a bright sweetness and smooth dry finish. Variations of the cider are also made in Nova Scotia and BC using local apples. I also saw cranberry rose cider available on the site that I am very interested in trying! In Ontario, you can purchase the Ontario cider at the LCBO or The Wine Shop.
Rood Apples is produced by Creekside Estate Winery in Jordan Ontario. Rood is the Dutch word for red and this cider is made from five different types of red apples. They chose the Dutch word for red because Jordan, where Creekside is located, was founded by the Pennsylvania Dutch. Rood cider is one of the most unique tasting ciders I’ve tried, in a good way! It has a lot of intense and complex apple flavours with a touch of sweetness. The “creek geeks” say this cider is best enjoyed over ice, on a mountain, in a hammock….basically to be enjoyed wherever you want!
Tawse is an organic and biodynamic winery in the Niagara Escarpment. They produce beautiful old world wine and their cider is no different. After losing about 40% of the grape crop in 2014 and 2015, the Tawse winemaker decided thought cider would be great to fill the gap. What started as 20L kegs of cider only sold to restaurants is now widely available in cans at LCBO stores across Ontario. The Tawse cider is exactly how I like my cider; dry, clean and crisp. There’s a touch of sweet macintosh flesh that gives the cider a nice smooth finish. As with their wines, Tawse has created an exceptional cider.
Apple cider and Pinot Noir? Yes please! Combine wine with anything and I’ll try it. And this combo worked. The Shiny Pinot Cider is 10% pinot noir grapes and 90% apple cider. You can definitely taste the distinct pinot noir grapes, which give this dry cider distinctive fruity and earthy flavours. It’s produce in Niagara-on-the-lake by Small Talk Vineyards, who’s land has been in the family since 1954. They originally farmed fruit and then in 1985 planted grape vines. Re-branding in 2014 as Small Talk Vineyards with the release of Shiny Cider, I think they’ve done a great job creating a unique cider in the ever growing Ontario craft cider market.
Located in Beaver Valley in the Blue Mountains, Georgian Hills Vineyards produces cool climate wine varietals expressive of this unique region in Ontario. This northerly region is also in the heart of apple county where local farmers grow unique varietals like Cortland, Spartan and Russet apples. These are crisp, tart and higher acid apples that produce a dry flavourful cider. Under the Ardiel Cider House, Georgian Hills Vineyards produces three different types of cider: dry, hopped and pear. Available at the LCBO is the Ardiel dry cider which is a “classic” style cider, which means that it has a full body of flavour and clean finish. This also means it’s delicious!
I love that some of my favourite Ontario wineries are starting to produce cider. As I mentioned, if I’m going to cheat on wine it’s probably going to be with cider. Most of the ciders I tasted are going to be at the Toronto Cider Festival at Sherbourne Common on August 24th and 25th. The line up is extensive and a great opportunity to sample different ciders if you’re new the cider world. Visit the Girl Drinks Wine Instagram for your chance to win two tickets to the event!