Ross-on-Wye – Foxwhelp – Reviewed

Producer:  Ross-on-Wye http://rosscider.com
Cider Name: Fowhelp (2021 – Pressed 2019)
Region: Herefordshire
ABV:6.0
Taste: Bittersharp and Acidic
Served:  500ml Bottle Chilled
Smell: Fruity, citrus
Colour: Golden
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review / Tasting notes

“Foxwhelp must surely be the most iconic cider apple: a lovely fruity aroma leads immediately into a burst of acidity that has sharpness, intensity and depth like no other variety can offer.”

This is not for the faint-hearted at all. Imagine you are sucking on an alcoholic lemon that tastes of apples…that’s Foxwhelp!

In our opinion, Ross sets the standard for single variety cider and perry. Foxwhelp looks fabulous in the glass: golden and clear with a buttery shine. The aroma is mostly fruity, a little phenolic, and a little citrus.

On the palate, Foxwhelp is like no other. Upfront bittersharp turns to sour acidity on the tongue leaving a lemony aftertaste that lingers pleasantly for an age.

Verdict:

This is an extremely challenging cider for most but highly rewarding for those who can rise to the challenge at least once to appreciate the complexity, intensity, and acidity of this iconic apple.

Rating: This is a Good Cider in the category (Craft Cider SV)

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

Artistraw Cider Subterranean Homesick Shrews 2019 – Reviewed

Producer:  Artistraw Cider http://www.artistraw.co.uk/cider
Cider Name: Cloudy Cider (Medium Sweet)
Available at: https://orchardexplorers.club/artistraw-cider-subterranean-homesick-shrews-2019
Region: Herefordshire, Uk
ABV:6.6%
Taste: Astringent Finish, Fruity, Straw, Biscuity
Served:  375ml Bottle Room Temperature
Smell: Fruity Apple, Fragrant
Colour: Orange
Clarity: Hazy
Carbonation: Naturally Sparkling

Review / Tasting notes

“Artistraw Cider Subterranean Homesick Shrews 2019 is a naturally sparkling, dry, pure juice Herefordshire Cider, made from a handpicked blend of Dabinett, Chisel Jersey, Ellis Bitter, Yarlington Mill, and Bramley. Pressed in December 2019, it has been wild fermented and finished in the bottle pet nat style.”

Artistraw are really making a name for themselves in the world of craft cider. This blend is a great indication of just why this is. Everything about Subterranean Homesick Shrews 2019 oozes class. The bottle and label is a work of art, raising expectations of the cider within.

The deep orange colour and fragrant aroma promise quality and Artistraw deliver this in abundance. The wild yeast lends this perfectly balanced cider a biscuity, champagne-style finish, very much in the style of Little Pomona’s Table Cider or Dunkerton’s Medium Dry Organic.

Verdict:

Everything about this pet-nat, cider blend oozes class. An astringent finish, so this won’t please everyone. Purists will appreciate this and we think it is a great table cider: perfect with food and for sharing.

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

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

Simon’s Cider – Barton Perry – Reviewed

Producer: Simon’s Cider http://simonscider.co.uk
Cider Name: Barton Perry
Region: Cambridgeshire, UK 
ABV: 6.5% 
Taste: Dry, Pear
Served: Room Temp 
Smell: Pear
Colour: Cream – pear flesh
Clarity: Cloudy 
Carbonation: Still
Award Category: (Craft Perry)

Review/Tasting Notes:

“Dry Perry with a 50:50 blend of Wilding Perry and Conference pears”

Barton Perry from Simon’s Cider is an interesting blend with a full-on pear aroma. Acidity and sharpness dominate the balance of this perry but perhaps a little too much for some.

A dry perry is certainly an acquired taste and this may not be for everybody. The strong acidity makes this a little vinegary and less enjoyable for us, as a result.

The aftertaste is the main redeeming quality of this perry. The pear flavour lingers way beyond the expected time and it feels like you’ve just sucked on a whole bag of pear drops and sour sweets.

Verdict: Not for everybody. If you enjoy malic cider then this Perry might be for you.

Rating: This is a good cider in the category (Craft Perry)

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

Simon’s Cider – Dabinett – Reviewed

Producer: Simon’s Cider http://simonscider.co.uk
Cider Name: Dabinett
Region: Cambridgeshire, UK 
ABV: 6.9% 
Taste: Dry, Tannic, Spicy 
Served: Room Temp 
Smell: Floral and Christmas Spice – Plum Notes
Colour: Dark Amber
Clarity: Mostly clear with a slight haze 
Carbonation: Still
Award Category: (Regionally Produced Cider)

Review / Tasting notes:

“The depth and complexity of Dabinett is amazing, it is magnificent in the blend.  It is incredibly tannic with Christmas spice notes.”

The aroma of this single variety Dabinett from Simon’s Cider is bright, floral with Christmas Spice and plum notes. Dark brown amber in the bottle, this still cider pours beautifully. It looks great in the glass.

The bittersweet Dabinett is a great cider apple for a single variety cider and this is an excellent example. Upfront sweetness is replaced almost instantaneously with bitterness and light acidity. The fruity and spicy aftertaste lingers briefly in a dry and clean finish.

Verdict: A fine cider that presents the Dabinett in all its bittersweet glory. Dry and tannic, this is one for the table and not for the pub garden.

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

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

Temple Cider – Whiskey Barrel Aged – Reviewed

Producer: Temple Cider https://www.templecider.co.uk/
Cider Name: Whiskey Barrel Aged
Region: Dorset, Uk
ABV: 6.5%
Taste: Smooth and Earthy, Whiskey, orange peel
Served: 500ml bottle (Room temperature)
Smell: Apple, citrus orange
Colour: Golden
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Still
Award Category: Craft Cider (Apple)

Review / Tasting notes

“Our Whiskey Barrel Aged Dorset craft cider is made from the same traditional bittersweet and bittersharp cider apples as Milo’s Magic, but combined in a slightly different blend. It was carefully aged in whiskey barrels for 3 months and is a smooth, dry cider with a subtle but distinctive whiskey finish. This cider is proving extremely popular!”

This is another very smooth, beautifully presented craft blend from Temple Cider. Floral notes and citrus orange engage the senses in both the nose and on the palate. The whiskey flavour is subtle enough to add to the blend without overpowering the quality of the cider. Some might say that this cider lacks in acidity and that the fruit is lost but that would be missing the point. This is soft and subtle. Infused beautifully with Whiskey and oak from the barrel – this cider doesn’t demand to be heard; it whispers softly in your ear.

The mouthfeel is typically (for Temple Cider) smooth and warming.

Verdict: This is another excellent craft cider from Temple. We can fully appreciate why Whiskey Barrel Aged is proving popular with customers.

Rating: A very good craft cider (Craft Cider – Apple)

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

Temple Cider – Milo’s Magic – Reviewed

Producer: Temple Cider https://www.templecider.co.uk/
Cider Name: Milo’s Magic
Region: Dorset, Uk
ABV: 6.5%
Taste: Smooth and Earthy, Spicy with a hint of brandy
Served: 500ml bottle (Room temperature)
Smell: Earthy, Spice, Christmas Pudding!
Colour: Amber
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling
Award Category: Craft Cider (Apple)

Review / Tasting notes

“This cider is made from a blend of traditional bittersweet and bittersharp cider apples. Yarlington Mill, Kingston Black and a variety of unidentified apples from a timeless orchard are all to be found in Milo’s Magic. Named after our laid-back old rescue dog, Milo’s Magic is a well-balanced, easy-drinking, subtle and refreshing cider. This is our go-to cider here on the farm as it pairs so well with most foods. It’s absolutely delicious, if we say so ourselves!”

Paul and Jo over at Temple Cider have put together a super apple blend with ‘Milo’s magic’ lightly sparkling dry cider. This is another very smooth, well-balanced and honest cider.

The apple aroma has a distinct earthiness to it, alongside a trace of the familiar smell of Christmas pudding!

Fiery spice and clove dominate alongside the rich tannins of the whole apple. It really does taste like the whole apple is in this. The bitter-sharp Kingston Black is softened nicely by the bittersweets. The mouthfeel is typically (for Temple Cider) smooth and warming with those spices dominating the aftertaste and lingering for a good while. There is a definite and very welcome nip of brandy on the palate and perhaps a hint of rum.

Verdict: This is another cracking craft cider from Temple. Honest to the core; this is cider at its authentic best.

Rating: A very good craft cider (Craft Cider – Apple)

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

Temple Cider – Kingston Black – Reviewed

Producer: Temple Cider https://www.templecider.co.uk/
Cider Name: Kingston Black
Region: Dorset, Uk
ABV: 7.5%
Taste: Smooth and Earthy, Fiery clove and Bitter Orange
Served: 500ml bottle (Room temperature)
Smell: Earthy, Spice, Oak
Colour: Light Amber
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Still
Award Category: Craft Cider SV(Single Variety)

Review / Tasting notes

“Our single variety Kingston Black cider is simply special as it is a true single variety with no other apples involved. A true classic among ciders, being dry and delicious, the Kingston Black is our strongest cider. We love it!”

The quality of this single variety craft cider is evident from the moment it is poured. Light amber in colour and beautifully still, this is a statement that nothing will be coming between the reassuringly natural fermentation process and the taster’s palates.

The apple aroma has a distinct earthiness to it and a hint of spice. It is pleasant and congruent with the taste to follow.

The upfront brush of sweetness gives way quickly to a complex range of flavours. Fiery spice, clove and cinnamon balance well with the subtle bitter orange notes present. The bitter-sharp Kingston Black quite rightly takes centre stage, and this vintage is softly bitter with lashings of tannic presence.

Verdict: This is a smooth craft cider of noteworthy quality. Blessed with subtle flavours and a fiery underbelly of spice that lingers a while on the palate, this is a fine example of all that a single variety cider has to offer.

Rating: Cider of Merit (Craft Cider SV)

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

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’.

Healey’s Cyder – Rattler Original – Reviewed

Producer: Healey’s https://healeyscyder.co.uk/
Cider Name: Rattler Original
Region: Cornwall, Uk
ABV: 6%
Taste: Sharp, crisp, dry and acidic finish, hint of pear and pineapple
Served: 500ml bottle (Lightly Chilled)
Smell: Fresh Apple, pineapple, pear
Colour: Straw
Clarity: Cloudy
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling
Award Category: Mainstream Apple Cider

Review / Tasting notes

“Named after the feisty Cornish Rattler Apple and blended with Healey’s know-how, Rattler Cyder has a crisp, fresh flavour.”

An aroma of crisp apple with pear and pineapple is pleasant and appealing. The upfront taste is a sharp hit of acidic apple that fizzes briefly before pineapple and pear notes add a little sweetness to this dry cider. The mouthfeel is drying and doesn’t last for long, inviting another sip. After a while though, the aftertaste becomes a little sour.

The balance of the cider is just a little too acidic and on the sharp side for some. Clearly designed to be a crisp and fresh cider, it lacks in other areas.

Verdict: An enjoyable and refreshing cider with interesting tones of pineapple and pear. The aftertaste is a little astringent.

Rating: Respectable* (Mainstream Apple Cider)

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

*A ‘respectable’ ranking means that the cider has met the minimum standards of the reviewers on goodciderguide.com for its category. In this case ‘mainstream cider’. Therefore, this is considered to be a good quality mainstream cider.