Meon Valley Cider – Chalk Stream – Reviewed

Producer: Meon Valley Cider
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’.

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

Producer: Oliver’s
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)

Dudda’s Tun – Perry – Reviewed

Producer: Dudda’s Tun
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
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 – Salted Caramel Still Cider – reviewed

Producer: Dudda’s Tun
Cider Name: Salted Caramel Still Cider (Fusion Range)
Region: Kent, Uk
ABV: 4.0%
Taste: Caramel with crisp apple finish – sweet
Served: 500ml bottle at room temperature
Smell: Sweet Caramel
Colour: Caramel
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Still

Review/Tasting Notes:

Dudda’s Tun aren’t backwards in coming forwards when it comes to innovation and this salted caramel cider is ample proof of that!

We didn’t know what to expect from this and, perhaps not surprisingly, it got a mixed reaction from the tasters at The smell was certainly of caramel and the colour added weight to the expected taste. The result, a quite sweet caramel taste followed by a creamy mouth feel. The taste of apple was a little overpowered but there lurking in the background. This is a great fusion and fun for about ten minutes. Would I buy it again? Probably not.

Verdict: A clever and innovative fusion. One to try, if only once. Perhaps a nomination for our innovation award?

Rating: 6.2

Ranking: To be confirmed (01/07/2021

Healeys Cyder – Cornish Gold

Producer: Healeys Cyder
Cider Name: Cornish Gold
Region: Cornwall, Uk
ABV: 4.5%
Taste: Medium sweet
Served: 500ml bottle (chilled)
Smell: Pleasant delicate fruit aroma
Colour: Straw
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly Sparkling

Review/Tasting Notes:

Although this is a refreshing and crisp sparkling cider, it lacks depth.

The fruity and crisp up-front flavours dissipate quickly leaving a dryness and little aftertaste.

Verdict: Cornish Gold promises much but lacks punch. It is crisp and refreshing – that’s about it.

Rating: 6.4

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

Hunts – Wobbler – reviewed

Producer: Hunts Cider Website
Cider Name: Wobbler
Region: Devon, Uk
ABV: 6.0%
Taste: Medium sweet well-balanced
Served: 500ml bottle at room temperature
Smell: Pleasant aroma of apples
Colour: Dark yellow/Light Brown
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Still

Review/Tasting Notes:

Hunts Wobbler is a delightfully complex yet well balanced still apple cider. It’s pleasant aroma promises little more than a dessert wine might but there is enough in the nose to tempt you further.

Despite it’s sweetness there is just about enough acidity to balance the big two flavours. But, what separates this from ciders of a similar ambition is the presence of enough tanins to give a slightly toffee-apple flavoured mouth feel that lingers.

Verdict: Expect Wobbler to find it’s way onto the top 100 list, perhaps towards the upper end.

Rating: 8.25 (Bronze Award)

Rank: To Be Determined (01/07/2021)