Dancing Buffalo Cidre is a line of artisan hard ciders produced by Carl Schmitter, winemaker (and co-owner with wife Suzi) of Chateau Buffalo Wine Shop & Tasting Room (Buffalo, NY). The seven or so varieties of cider offer a light and refreshing change of pace to the wine enthusiast looking for something a little bit different.
Hard ciders taste more like white wines than I had initially expected them to. However, because their flavor profiles are simpler, they are easier (and, I think, more refreshing) to drink than most fruity white wines.
My favorite Dancing Buffalo Cidre is Mambo ($10) the only semi-dry cider in the line-up. Its slightly sweet, crisp and fruity flavor make it a perfect summertime beverage. Other Dancing Buffalo Cidres include Polka (dry, $10) and Promenade (dry and sparkling, $15).
All of these ciders are made from a blend of Golden Russet, Yellow Delicious and wild apples. The Golden Russet apples are used for their aromatic character, the Yellow Delicious apples for their sweetness, and the wild apples for the slight astringency they impart to the cider. The ciders are also aged for six months in bourbon barrels to give them added depth and flavor.
Hard ciders should be served well chilled. Carl says they even go well over ice. The ciders--particularly the dry ones--can be served with many of the same foods you would eat with white wines (e.g., poultry or fish). The semi-dry Mambo would go well with a salad or other light summertime fare.
The Dancing Buffalo line-up also includes a sweet, holiday cider infused with mulling spices, a cider made from heirloom Baldwin apples, and a pear-based cider. One that I'm really looking forward to tasting several months from now when it is available is apple ice wine, a concentrated and sweet ice wine made from frozen apples. That sounds like lots of fun.