Meon Valley Cider – Chalk Stream – Reviewed

Producer: Meon Valley Cider http://www.meonvalleycider.co.uk/
Cider Name: Chalk Stream
Region: Hampshire, Uk
ABV: 6%
Taste: Bitterweet apple
Served: 500ml bottle (Lightly chilled)
Smell: Bittersweet apples, hint of almond
Colour: Golden Amber
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review / Tasting notes

“Our mainstream cider. Eminently quaffable! A golden amber coloured refreshing cider with an appley nose and long dry finish. Well balanced flavour comprising our own and locally sourced Hampshire and Sussex dessert/culinary apples bittersweets and bittersharps from the West Country”

The third and final of the Meon Valley bottled range to be reviewed. This is the least complex of the three but undoubtedly the most refreshing.

The aroma is sweet apple with a hint of almond. Golden amber and lightly sparkling, Chalk Stream looks stunning in the glass and promises plenty. Upfront bittersweets dominate this blend of East meets West apples. Only towards the end, are the bittersharps present giving a crisp and tannic finish. The aftertaste is really pleasant and demands another sip.

Verdict: A very moreish, well-balanced medium cider. Although it lacks complexity, it is a cider that I would happily “quaff” on the river bank for hours.

Rating: Bronze Award* (Good Cider)

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

*A Bronze award is awarded to only 10% of ciders reviewed by us. Therefore this is a highly rated cider in the category of ‘Good Cider’.

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’.

Galipette – Galipette Brut Cidre – Reviewed

Producer: Galipette  http://www.galipettecidre.com
Cider Name: Galipette Brut Cidre
Region: Brittany, France
ABV: 4.5%
Taste: Rich Apples
Served: 500ml bottle (Chilled)
Smell: Sweet Apples
Colour: Golden
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review / Tasting notes

“Sweet appley aroma. The 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.”

A fine French cider made of pure and vivacious fruit.  Golden coloured, clear and slightly sparkling with the unmistakable scent of rich apples, and a dry taste full of lively fruit.

French make fine wines, cheeses and perfumes and you can add good cider to that list.  A rich, apple, aroma gives way to the sweet taste of fresh French apples that ultimately does not linger long enough to class this as a fine cider though the short flavour burst is one you will enjoy.

Verdict: Galipette is the French word for somersault.  This cider is more of a three quarter roll.  The sweet, rich taste does not stay long enough on the taste buds to complete a full somersault.

Rating: Recommended* (French Cidre)

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

*A recommended cider is one that meets the very high standards set by us for the category of entry. Therefore, this is a recommended cider in the category of ‘French Cidre’.

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)

Cranes – Blueberries and Apple Cider- Reviewed

Producer: Cranes https://www.drinkcranes.co.uk/
Cider Name: Blueberries and Apple
Region: Cambridge, Uk
ABV: 4%
Taste: Fruity, naurally sweet fruit of cranberry blueberry and apple
Served: 750ml bottle (Chilled)
Smell: Fruity
Colour: Red (cranberry juice colour)
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review / Tasting notes

“Ben & Dan brew the finest cranberries alongside apples to deliver this refreshingly crisp cider with blueberries and apples for that delicious fruity taste. We have managed to create a naturally light cider by utilizing the sweetness of the fruit..”

This is a delicately balanced collection of complimentary flavours that culminates in a refreshing cider. At just 4% ABV it isn’t syrupy like some fruit ciders.

The upfront fruitiness of the blueberries and cranberries remains throughout. The apples bittersweet tones are overwhelmed by the berries a little too much for this to be regarded as an apple cider but we loved it nevertheless.

Verdict: From the first sip, the fruit quality was extremely high. Although destined for a commercial market, this is a thoroughly enjoyable and refreshing fruit juice cider.

Rating: 7.85 (Bronze Award)

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

Oliver’s – Pomona Rolling Blend (Season 2019) – Reviewed

Producer: Oliver’s https://www.oliversciderandperry.co.uk/
Cider Name: Pomona Rolling Blend (Season 2019)
Region: Herefordshire, Uk
ABV: 6.5%
Taste: Bittersharp, dry
Served: 330ml bottle (Cool room temperature)
Smell: Musty, Woody
Colour: Amber
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review / Tasting notes

“Dry, lightly sparkling bittersharp cider. Refreshingly satisfying.”

Bittersharp ciders are arguably an acquired taste and a little too acidic for some. Whilst, this rolling blend may not be to everybody’s taste, we enjoyed it.

The upfront bitterness and brief sweetness is soon followed by mouth puckering sharpness. Although not unpleasant, the acidity does dominate a little too much in our opinion but it’s fair to say that this is a feature of bittersharp cider. The aftertaste lingers on the palate for an age.

Verdict: This is a very fine bittersharp cider with an aftertaste that lingers like morning dew on a spider’s web .

Rating: 7.15

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

Cornish Orchards – Gold – Reviewed

Producer: Cornish Orchards

https://www.cornishorchards.co.uk/

Cider Name: Cornish Orchard Gold

Region: Liskeard, Cornwall

ABV: 5%

Taste: Fruity Apple Tones, Crisp and Dry

Served: 500ml Bottle (Chilled)

Smell: Sweet Apple

Colour: Gold

Clarity: Clear

Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review/Tasting Notes

“An immensely refreshing cider, lightly sparkling, with fruity apple tones and a long dry finish”

This is as refreshing to drink as it looks in the bottle.  Desert and bittersweet apples immediately come to the fore, followed by a satisfying, morish, dry finish.

Verdict

An excellent cider, delivering on smell, taste and refreshment with a satisfying dry finish that will tempt you to open another bottle.

Rating: TBC

Ranking: TBC (01/07/21)

Dudda’s Tun – Perry – Reviewed

Producer: Dudda’s Tun https://duddastuncider.com/
Cider Name: Perry
Region: Kent, Uk
ABV: 5.5%
Taste: Subtle pear, lingering honey notes / Crisp and fresh
Served: 500ml bottle (chilled)
Smell: Light Pear, Honey Notes
Colour: Pale, chartreuse hue
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review / Tasting notes

“A lightly sparkling, well balanced perry, with subtle honey notes produced from super ripe Comice pears”

A good perry can be a highly prized, multi-faceted drink bursting with flavours. Dudda’s is a delightful, refreshing perry that leaves a nicely balanced pear taste, though struggles to release the more subtle honey notes.

Verdict: A clean, crisp, refreshing perry that will only disappoint those looking for more than a clean pear taste.

Rating: 7.6 (Bronze Award)

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

Dudda’s Tun – Elderflower – Reviewed

Producer: Dudda’s Tun https://duddastuncider.com/
Cider Name: Elderflower
Region: Kent, Uk
ABV: 4.0%
Taste: Smooth and floral
Served: 500ml bottle (chilled)
Smell: Fresh apple and elderflower
Colour: Pale, gold
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review / Tasting notes

“The perfect blend of cider and fresh elderflower with a gentle sweetness and light sparkle.”

Gentle elderflower floral tones are ever present in this likeable cider from Dudda’s Tun. It’s probably not one for the purists but we found it difficult to fault. The aroma is floral and the taste is pleasant and softly fruity. A delicate balance is achieved but like the ‘Sweet Apple’ it lacks in complexity of cider flavours (bitterness, acidity).

Verdict: A very likeable and subtle sweet cider. Scored well with quite a difficult to please group of tasters tonight.

Rating: 7.4

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

Dudda’s Tun – Sweet Apple – Reviewed

Producer: Dudda’s Tun https://duddastuncider.com/
Cider Name: Sweet Apple
Region: Kent, Uk
ABV: 5.3%
Taste: Delicately Sweet
Served: 500ml bottle (chilled)
Smell: Sweet Apple
Colour: Pale gold
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review / Tasting notes

“Lightly sparkling and bursting with freshly picked apple flavour. This sweet cider is deliciously moreish, with soft honey notes.”

Although this is a highly drinkable sweet cider, our tasters were underwhelmed by this one. The sweet apple is overpowered by sweet and saccharin cloying. As a result, ‘Sweet Apple’ lacks balance and, with little else being offered, lacked character. Honey notes lacked presence.

Verdict: A sweet and sugary apple cider. Not a high scorer and unlikely to threaten the Top 100. Not very well balanced and lacking in character.

Rating: 4.4

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