Style: Cider (blended with grapes)
Founded in 2017 by Vitalii Krvayha, this cider is blended and fermented with Cabernet Franc grapes. The apples are picked from old orchards in the Kiev and Bukovina regions. Cabernet Franc is a grape commonly grown in the French regions of Loire and Bordeaux, but is also present in Ukraine. Due to the war in Ukraine that began in March 2022, production has been put on hold as the cidery has been completely destroyed due to shelling. I was very lucky to get hold of some of the last bottles still available in Systembolaget as it seemed like something completely different o set it apart from the other ciders we were trying on the night. To say this cider was divisive though would definitely be an understatement.
The colour of this was quite beautiful, with a deep indigo purple flowing into the glass when decantered. There was a frothy scum that has accumulated around the top of the bottle which was off-putting but didn’t seem to affect the cider. The aroma was a blend of green apple, blackberries and a big green pepper kick, which is a major flavour component of Cabernet Franc grapes. These all followed through into the taste, with the peppery taste at the forefront behind the acidic dark fruits. Carbonation seemed to be on the low side when tasted, but the cider coped well enough without it. The aftertaste was long, with a dry finish that focused on the red wine skin tannins, red apple and blackcurrant.
This was the cider that caused the biggest split of opinion in the tasting. Some loved the dark flavours, with the red grapes adding an extra intensity to the cider, while others disliked the green pepper notes that were prevalent. I fell somewhere in the middle personally, as I wasn’t too keen on the pepper notes but did enjoy the richness of this strange cider. I think this is a cider that you should try if given the chance as it was quite unique, but it won’t be to everyone’s taste.