Artistraw – Woodseaves Oak Apples 2019 – Reviewed

Producer:  Artistraw Cider http://www.artistraw.co.uk
Cider Name: Woodseaves Oak Apples 2019
Region: Herefordshire
ABV:6.4
Taste: Full-bodied earthy pet nat, Medium Dry
Served:  750ml Bottle Chilled
Smell: Fruity, floral
Colour: Bright Amber
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Sparkling (Pet Nat) plenty of Fizz

Review / Tasting notes

“This is an orchard blend of apples picked a pip’s throw away from the famed Great Oak of Eardisley. Recorded in the Domesday Book this stately 900 year old tree is much revered but perhaps has only become so because of its age. It serves as a wonderful reminder to protect and indeed plant young trees, so that they too might reach the same lofty status! Light and refreshing, reflecting the earlier styles of Herefordshire Cider.”

Artistraw have produced a cider on the drier side of medium which is quite a departure from their earlier ‘Shrews’ flight. The result here is a far more complex cider which is floral and earthy on the nose and beautifully balanced on the palate.

A trace of lemon citrus acidity and sweetness sits beneath a fruity and tannic blast upfront. There is a definite nod to the French with this pet-nat which fizzes on the pour and sparkles in the glass.

Verdict:

Racked a little less and fermented for longer than some of its predecessors, this ‘Straw has great depth and body. A super table cider that would accompany most meals.

Rating: This is a Cider of Merit in the category (Craft cider)

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

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)

Gwatkin Cider – Cloudy Medium Sweet Cider – Reviewed

Producer:  Gwatkin Cider Co http://gwatkincider.co.uk
Cider Name: Cloudy Cider (Medium Sweet)
Available at: https://orchardexplorers.club/gwatkin-cloudy-cider
Region: Herefordshire, Uk
ABV:4.5%
Taste:  Medium Sweet, Juicy with honey notes and light citrus
Served:  500ml Bottle Chilled
Smell: Fruity Apple, Lemon zest, Honey
Colour: Golden
Clarity: Cloudy
Carbonation: Still Cider

Review / Tasting notes

“Gwatkin Cloudy Cider is a medium-sweet, traditional style farmhouse cider, with a natural taste.”

This cloudy cider, made from 100% apples, is very good indeed. The blend is dominated by the russet apples, giving an upfront taste of pure juice and honey before the sweetness kicks in. Beneath the caramel and light acidity, there are enough sharps to make themselves present on the palate. A trace of citrus, possibly lemon zest, occurs naturally and adds to the complex flavours.

Pure sugar is used to sweeten this blend and for some, this may be just too sweet to enjoy. However, as a reviewer who enjoys dry ciders, I was surprised by how much I loved this.

Verdict:

Gwatkin make cider in the traditional way. This cloudy, medium sweet apple cider is rated very highly by our tasters. Expect to see it appear in our Top 100.

Rating: This is a Cider of Distinction in the category (Regional cider)

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

Angioletti – Riserva Craft – Reviewed

Producer: Angioletti www.angioletticider.com
Cider Name: Angioletti Riserva Craft Italian Cider
Region: Dolomites, Italy
ABV: 6.8%
Taste: Clean, crisp apples
Served: 500ml Bottle Chilled
Smell: Crisp apple
Colour: Golden
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Slightly Sparkling

Review/Tasting Notes

“Fine bubbles, rich and complex aromas, beautifully balanced by the characteristic delicate house style.  Ripe structured apple flavours give way to a long, clean, crisp aftertaste.”

This pours with a reassuring fizz that more than hints at the clean, crisp refreshment to come.  The smell of fresh, ripe, Italian apples is evident as soon as the sparkles start to form in the glass. A theme which continues as the taste of those Italian apples never diminishes, even long after the glass is empty.  There are no other distractions and none are needed.

Verdict

Definition of consistency, with clean, fresh, refreshing apples being evident at every turn.  It has a reassuring taste combined with a crisp refreshment provided by the native Italian applies.  A cider as finely tuned as an Italian sports car engine and as culturally refined as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. As exquisite in taste as a fine Italian, tailored suit.

Awards: Bronze Award

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

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’.

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)