Pilton Cider – Fox, Dog, Cat – Reviewed

Producer:  Pilton Cider http://www.piltoncider.com/products/foxdogcat
Available at: https://orchardexplorers.club/pilton-cider-fox-dog-cat
Cider Name: Fox, Dog, Cat – Season 2020 – Episode 1
Region: Somerset, Uk
ABV:5.5%
Taste: Bittersweet, Smoky, Biscuity
Served:  750ml Bottle Room Temperature
Smell: Kiwi, Passionfruit, Smokiness, Funk
Colour: Golden
Clarity: Crystal Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review / Tasting notes

“A super-smooth blend of mature Jonagold, with just a touch of funk and a dash of smoke on the finish; sweetened with our classic bittersweet keeved cider.”

Pilton Cider is renowned for the quality of their keeved ciders and this is simply stunning. The selection of the sharper mature Jonagold apples to balance the keeved bittersweets in this blend works very well.

The aroma is fabulous. There are notes of kiwi and passionfruit in the nose and the keeved cider smells typically sweet.

On the palate, there is plenty of upfront sweetness, acidity, and a touch of bitterness. There is a smokiness to the finish that isn’t overpowering at all, like some. There is a biscuity taste to the finish too. The aftertaste lingers alongside a drying mouthfeel.

Verdict:

From the wonderfully unique label to the stunning clarity of the cider presentation, this is cider making at its very best. Beautifully balanced and idiosyncratic enough to be memorable on the palate.

Rating: This is a Silver Award Winner in the category (Craft cider)

Ranking: To be announced (01/07/2021)

Oliver’s – Fine Perry (Wild Ferment, Rolling Blend) – Reviewed

Producer: Oliver’s https://www.oliversciderandperry.co.uk/
Cider Name: Fine Perry (Wild Ferment, Rolling Blend)
Region: Herefordshire, Uk
ABV: 6%
Taste: Pear, honey, citrus, elderflower, melon
Served: 330ml bottle (Lightly chilled)
Smell: Wildflowers, honey
Colour: Straw
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling
Award Category: Vintage and Fine Perry

Review / Tasting notes

“Bracing citrus acidity and fruitiness, think rhubarb and goosebery, hints of melon and elderflower mingle with honeyed sweetness and prickling sparkle. Drinks great straight from the fridge.”

Just as you should never judge a book by its cover; never judge a cider by it’s aroma.  This beautifully balanced perry, warms you initially with pear and honey, before a rush of citrus, elderflower and melon. The infused sweet taste lingers long on the palate, begging you to sample more.  

Verdict

A high quality perry, perfectly combining sweet and sour to create a memorable taste that never disappoints.  Summer in bloom, a comfy chair and this perry: the perfect way to spend a day!

Rating: Silver Award* (Fine Perry)

Ranking: To be announced (01/07/2021)

*A Silver award is awarded to only 5% of ciders reviewed by us. Therefore this is a highly rated perry in the category of ‘Vintage and Fine Perry’.

Meon Valley Cider – Dragonfly – Reviewed

Producer: Meon Valley Cider http://www.meonvalleycider.co.uk/
Cider Name: Dragonfly
Region: Hampshire, Uk
ABV: 6%
Taste: Bitter-sharp, crisp apple skins, broad tannin bitter-sweet
Served: 500ml bottle (Lightly chilled)
Smell: Wildflowers
Colour: Amber (Honey)
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling
Award Category: Regional Cider

Review / Tasting notes

“Honey coloured, wildflower nose with almond notes, hints of bittersweet and a lingering dry finish.”

An intriguing fusion of East meets West apples in this delightful Hampshire blend.

The upfront bitter-sharps fizz momentarily before crisp apple skins and broad tannins give depth to the taste. There follows a little bitter-sweetness alongside honey and latterly clove. The finish is bitter but not too much so, neither is this so dry that the fruit is overwhelmed. Finely balanced with just a modicum of astringency in the after-taste.

Verdict: This is a fantastic and intriguing blend. One for the table to accompany a blue cheese perhaps. This is a very fine cider indeed and one of only a handful to be issued our silver award.

Rating: Silver Award* (Regional Cider)

Ranking: To be announced (01/07/2021)

*A Silver award is awarded to only 5% of ciders reviewed by us. Therefore this is a highly rated cider in the category of ‘Regional Cider’.

Henney’s Dry Cider – Reviewed

Producer: Henney’s  http://www.henneys.co.uk
Cider Name: Dry Cider
Region: Herefordshire, Uk
ABV: 6%
Taste: Bittersweet, clove, honey notes, Dry
Served: 500ml bottle (Lightly Chilled)
Smell: Fresh Apple and Honey sweet aroma
Colour: Gold
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review / Tasting notes

“’Sweet appley aroma. palate has a delicious bittersweet apple character with some spicy bite and a bit of tannic grip. Very fruity and quite pure, with a nice savoury twist.’”

The upfront taste is a fellowship of sweetness, spice, bitter-sweetness and broad tannins. The fruit taste does not get lost or overwhelmed as it does sometimes in very dry ciders. Honey notes take over for a short while before spice kicks in toward the end, leaving a warm mouthfeel.

The balance of the cider is outstanding as the acidity, bitterness and sweetness never dominate, they just seem to introduce each other politely before the spice dominates the finale. The aftertaste is stunning and should be savoured as the hint of spice and tannins linger on the palate.

Verdict: This is an early contender for a position near the summit of our Top 100. Henney’s Dry Cider is only the second cider to be awarded the silver medal by our reviewers.

Rating: 8.7 (Silver Award)

Ranking: To be announced (01/07/2021)

Oliver’s – Bottle Conditioned Medium (Season 2018) – Reviewed

Producer: Oliver’s  https://www.oliversciderandperry.co.uk/
Cider Name: Bottle Conditioned Medium (Season 2018)
Region: Herefordshire, Uk
ABV: 5.4%
Taste: Bittersweet, well-balanced, great depth of apple flavours
Served: 750ml bottle (Cool room temperature)
Smell: Strong nose, earthy, cheesy
Colour: Amber
Clarity: A little cloudy
Carbonation: Sparkling

Review / Tasting notes

“Sparkling through conditioning in the bottle with a full, natural apple sweetness. Hints of clove and spice and red apple skins. Beautifully integrated. The cork and wire is back.”

An exquisitely well balanced sparkling cider with incredible depth. This poured like amber champagne and gave off a distinct aroma which we felt was quite pungent and not as pleasing as the great taste.

The upfront sweetness is followed quickly by earthy bitter-sweetness and broad tannins. The level of acidity never dominates the overall flavour leaving a smooth and delicate mouthfeel. The aftertaste is stunning and should be savoured as the hint of spice and tannins linger on the palate.

Verdict: This is an early contender for a position near the summit of our Top 100. Oliver’s Bottle Conditioned Medium (Season 2018) is the first cider to be awarded the silver medal by our reviewers.

Rating: 8.71 (Silver Award)

Ranking: To be announced (01/07/2021)

Meon Valley Cider – Brown Trout reviewed

Producer: Meon Valley Cider http://www.meonvalleycider.co.uk/
Cider Name: Brown Trout
Region: Hampshire, Uk
ABV: 6.0%
Taste: Medium Dry – caramel notes
Served: 500ml bottle at room temperature
Smell: Oak and Apple (strong nose)
Colour: Light Brown
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review/Tasting Notes:

This award winning (Joint-second – Cider of the Festival CAMRA Southampton 2018) cider is a complex medium dry craft cider. High in tannins, leaving a wonderful after-taste that lingers well beyond tasting.

“Amber cider lightly oaked with vanilla, kiwi fruit, and caramel notes. Good with stilton cheese and desserts. Using local Hampshire and Sussex dessert apples together with bittersweeets from the West Country.”

Verdict: Complex and mature. Sure to feature in the Top 100.

Rating: 8.6 (Silver Award Winner)

Ranking: To be confirmed (01/07/2021)