** $ Astarbe Natural Hard Cider, Euskal Sagardoa, Basque, Spain: Wine/Cider Tasting & Review

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Astarbe Sagardoa cider.

By way of background:
 Today we're trying a dry hard apple cider from the Euskal Sagardoa region in Basque, Spain.  The Astarbe enterprise has been crafting these ciders since 1563, a whopping 450+ years!.  15 generations of the family have been involved in this business!  We'll actually be sampling a more aged version of this cider in the coming days.

Inspired by this cider: We're touring amongst the craggy trees in the old apple orchard on a cool fall Saturday, bunches of apples have already fallen and become nourishment for the plentiful deer!

Specs: This hard cider is finished at 6.5% alcohol and is unsweetened, unfiltered, unpasteurized and uncarbonated.  Just cider!  It does not include a vintage date, but is being first sampled about one year from retail receipt, in April, 2022.

In the glass: Light olive and orange tones, looking a bit like a medium-weight lager beer.

On the nose: Poured at cellar temperature and swirled vigorously, a bit of effervescence rises, but a deep, yeasty, slightly funky note predominates on the nose. Suggests a deep sip with no sweetness.  At this temperature, I am sampling this somewhat warmer than the recommended temperature as low at 10 degrees celsius.

On the palate:   The taste delivers what the nose suggests: a full, dry, funky wash across your tongue.  The apple funk makes you think the apples have stepped JUST beyond their ripeness. Absolutely no sweetness in the sip, but you get the bracing tartness and yeastiness as the primary notes. 

In summary: Overall, rates two stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale and does show good acids and balance between the body and brightness.  I'll look to make some follow-up notes at colder temperatures.

(Follow-up one day later, at refrigerated temperature: The pieces of this sip hold together much better at the cold temperature.  Full mouth-feel with gentle surrounding acids.  Hint of apple brightness around the perimeter.  Almost stretches to a plus on top of the two stars, for solid balance.)

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