I was recently afforded the opportunity to try my first ever Ploughman Cider, and how lucky was I that it was one of their limited batch releases, Cerise D’Or. Ploughman Cider is a smaller scale operation located in Adams County Pennsylvania, in a town called Aspers. They take pride in tending to their own fruit farms each year, and revel in the fact that with every year comes a slightly different variation in produce, adding an extra layer of complexity to their beloved ciders.

Ploughman describes themselves as having a “frontier mentality,” meaning that they are always willing and eager to try new things, but with authenticity to quality. These “experiments” result in limited batch releases, known as “Ploughman 64.” These products don’t fit into their standard categories of cider or wine. The “64” in the name is in reference to the 64 acres of apples planted in 1964 which later became Three Spring’s Fruit Farm. This Scratch Series allows the farmers and cider makers to explore fruit, fermentation, and other qualities that are unique to the area and make these beverages so one-of-a-kind. Each year these experiments are driven by what’s made readily available for harvest at Three Spring’s Fruit Farm.

One of their most recent Scratch Series resulted in Cerise D’Or, a fine cider with notes of cherry. Cerise D’Or was unlike any other cider I’ve tasted. It had a slight carbonation on the pour, and while most of the bubbles dissipated rather quickly, a few small bubbles remained along the edges of the glass. This led to a rather smooth quality to the cider, while the acidity contradicted it nicely.

In my opinion, this cider was super acidic, but in the nicest way possible. Cerise D’Or is definitely for a more advanced palate that can really appreciate all of the complexity of the flavors. I never would have thought that I would enjoy such acidity that practically led to a burning sensation, thanks to the warming amaretto characteristics from the cherries, as it traveled across the palate and down the throat. While this may sound unpleasant, quite contrarily I found that I appreciated this quality. Think of it as sipping a fine bourbon or scotch. It really makes all the difference in this rare blend.

Cerise D’Or had a very pleasant flavor, thanks to the bold Goldrush apples and tart Montmorency cherries. It was refreshing, yet warming, tart, yet sweet. Weighing in at 9.5% ABV, this cider is a bit heavier than most and is really qualified as an apple wine rather than a traditional cider. A perfect selection for sipping, or enjoying with a meal. I enjoyed my first glass paired with a chimichurri blackened swordfish, and roasted potatoes and asparagus, a divine combination if I do say so myself.