In the 2022 Virginia Governor’s Cup Wine competition, Albemarle Ciderworks won Best Cider with their Virginia Hewe’s Crab.

Charlotte Shelton, owner of the ciderworks, kindly sent me a bottle of the cider to review. This varietal labeling is their first reserve cider, and they say “it has a complexity rarely found in single varietals.”

It has a light copper color, and a subtle nose. On the palate, it is full-bodied with a touch of tannin to give it dimension, but the relatively high alcohol for cider (9.5%) makes it balaced overall, and more like wine, such as an unoaked Chardonnay, than most ciders, which can be two-dimensional and simple by contrast.

This Virginia Hewe’s Crab dry cider is versatile, and can be enjoyed either solo or with food; I enjoyed it with steamed oysters and ripe cheese, but the Sheltons recommend sausage.