This week I was invited to take part in an online tasting of cider, but not just any cider, these were boutique ciders with a difference.
‘Cider is wine’ is the brain child of Alistair Morrell, who wished to promote ciders that stood out. Putting the spotlight on makers that use 100% apple or pear juice, rather than a concentrate and showed what cider was really all about.
Each and every member of the ‘Cider is Wine’ alliance produces ciders based on traditional values, but very much with contemporary tastes in mind, each a clear demonstration of the particular qualities and characteristics of where the ciders come from (what the wine industry calls ‘terroir’) as well as the producer’s pride, passion and attention to detail – and all for pure drinking pleasure.
The website currently features 10 producers that have signed up to alliance and I got to try 4 very different ciders from some of these as part of the online tasting.
First up was a sparkling cider from Gospel Green. Based in Hampshire, they have used their dessert apples to produce a cider using méthode traditionnelle, the same method used in wine to make Champagne (As well as Cava and some English Sparkling wines).
The result is a crisp and bubbly aperitif, clean apple flavours flood through, with a good body and earthy finish.
Next up is a still cider is Cidentro from Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.
Using around 14 apples to produce each bottle, with no added sugars or sweeteners, it is aged at least 6 months. The result is a fresh easy drinking cider which is full of flavour and is ideal for sipping while sitting in the sun or with some food, maybe a pork pie or a ploughman’s lunch would be ideal.
Third on the tasting came a cider that really peaked my interest. Coming from Once upon a Tree, this is where cider really meets wine. This Pinot Noir Cider is produced by fermenting in contact with the left over skins from Pinot Noir. The result is a complex ‘Rose’ cider which, whilst not being a ‘fruit cider’ has picked up a refreshing fruity element which is thoroughly enjoyable.
Next up comes another twist – an ‘Ice Cider’ from Brännland. The Swedish company uses its apples grown in the cold north of the country, which similar to an Ice Wine, produces a sweet desert cider. This for me is a great alternative to a dessert wine to be sipped at the end of a meal.
The ciders tried on this tasting, really opened my eyes to a growing range of ciders designed for different occasions. Being lower in alcohol than wine in general, they are a good alternative for those watching their intake.
For me they won’t take the place of my wine cupboard, but there are definitely a few that I will enjoy sipping in the garden or at the end of a meal.
If you would like to find out more about the ciders, then do check out their website and better still, why not join up for their next Ditch The Boxsets online tasting – their next tasting will be taking place on the 5th June named From Software to Cider.