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)

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)

Simon’s Cider – Browns Medium-dry (2017)- Reviewed

Producer: Simon’s Cider http://simonscider.co.uk
Cider Name: Browns Medium Dry
Region: Cambridgeshire, UK 
ABV: 6.4% 
Taste: Medium Dry, Tannic, Sharp 
Served: Room Temp 
Smell: Fruit and spice 
Colour: Golden
Clarity: Mostly clear with a slight haze 
Carbonation: Still
Award Category: (Regionally Produced Cider) 

Review / Tasting notes:

“Browns brings gentle tannins and a wonderful acidity, bottled as a medium dry this cider is a fantastic example of how good a cider apple can be.”

On pouring, my wife described this as an upside-down sunrise in a glass. A very apt description for this golden still apple cider from Simon’s Cider.

The nose is fruity with plenty of Christmas Spice and clove. Some vanilla and almonds add to this fantastic aroma. Tiny slithers of light pectin give this a raw and full body in the glass with a scrumpy-like quality on the palate.

Upfront tannic bitterness is followed by sharpness and a drying mouthfeel. Furthermore, there is a dirtiness and fullness to the mouthfeel which adds real depth to this exemplary cider.

The presence of acidity lends balance to an already complex flavour. If anything, the sharpness may be a little too sharp for some and some might prefer it if the aftertaste could linger a little longer.

Verdict: Browns Medium Dry is a superb Single Variety cider. We agree with Simon’s assessment that this 2017 vintage is a fine example of just “how good a cider apple can be.”

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

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

Sxollie – Granny Smith – Reviewed

“Made in a wine style- crisp, tart and refreshing apple cider with a crunchy acidity”

Tasting notes:

Granny Smith cider is an extremely tart and sweet cider with a sharp and tangy crisp aftertaste. Although this modern cider lacks the depth and complexity of a traditional cider, it has plenty to offer in the modern urban context. Similar to the other Sxollie ciders, this is transparent in the glass. Granny Smith has plenty of acidity and sweetness but these are not balanced particularly well.

Verdict: This is not a cider for the traditionalists. Made using champagne yeast, this cider is best sampled at the dinner table, perhaps alongside fish or salad.

Rating: This is a good cider (just)

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)

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)

Lilleys Cider – Crazy Goat – Reviewed

Producer: Lilley’s Cider https://www.lilleyscider.co.uk/
Cider Name: Crazy Goat
Region: Somerset, Uk
ABV: 6.8%%
Taste: Sweetened Pyder
Served: 500ml bottle (Room Temperature)
Smell: Pear, Apple
Colour: Hazy Yellow, golden
Clarity: Cloudy
Carbonation: Still

Review / Tasting notes

“A medium sweet mix of a cider and perry, hazy yellow/golden cloudy cider. This has been expertly blended to give a mouth watering, juicy flavour and deceptive in it’s taste for the strength”

Crazy Goat is to cider what a squash drink is to freshly squeezed orange juice. It’s not that it isn’t nice to drink…it just isn’t that high in cider/perry quality.

The overwhelming taste in Crazy Goat is the artificial sweetener and chemical sulphites. This is rather unpleasant and detracts from the more pleasing blend of apple and pear on offer.

Verdict: A pyder that looks good in the bottle but delivers little on the palate.

 Rating: 5.25

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)