Introducing Our Vintage Collection
We are very excited to bring you a brand new collection of ciders. This is our Vintage Collection. To use the term ‘vintage’ as with wine, a cider must declare the year of harvest – every year has a distinct character, with the age of the cider a great guide to levels of depth and maturity.
The last time we launched a new cider it was our Dry-Hopped, it won every competition it entered and was the most successful launch we have ever had. So no pressure.
Good things come to those who wait
In the last four years we have spent a lot of time understanding the dynamics of wood in the cider making process. From ferments in centuries old vats, to cold-filtered long storage in fresh cherry wood. A sideline became an obsession, and the obsession has cost us a pretty penny in beautiful work from the hands of world leading cooperages. From the work, and trials and conservatively forty different potential winners we have whittled them down to three distinct and different ciders. Each with a nod to the character of the cider maker that made the cider their own.
Three ciders with distinctive characteristics
Apple & Oak – Fresh Oak-Finished Cider
‘Apple and Oak’, is made by Dave Rowe, with 15 apple harvests behind him – Dave was ready for a proper challenge. This cider is dominated by the classy show-off apple, Yarlington Mill. It gets it’s fresh oak notes, from first fill into new wood. Dave wanted to bring the zest and tang of newly fermented apple from the 2020 harvest and combine it with the vanilla and toast of a new barrel. This cider reads zero on the saccharometer, yet carries a perceptible sweetness from both the oak and the rewarding texture brought by his choice of Yarlington Mill as lead apple. If cider nouveau was a thing (and it’s not, so belt up) it may well taste like this.
Sandford Reserve – Finest Cask-Aged Cider
I asked Andy May to tackle ‘Sandford Reserve’ this is a cider style much more common in my youth than today. In those days it would have been called ‘exhibition’ cider. The fancy one you’d save for the shows and competitions. Almost always late pressed fruit which tends to ferment a little stronger, always clean and well matured. It should have tannin, sweetness and acid in equal measures.
Here Andy has taken his pick from the 2019 season, matured in our larger wine casks smuggled out of Priorat by Land Rover – supplied by good friend and uber talented winemaker Steve. Sandford Reserve drinks like a smooth, oaky, chardonnay – with notes of honey, Madeira and dried fruits.
The General – Mighty Vat-Aged Cider
The General has his own fan club. I’m prepared to admit that I’m its founding member. I’ve always been proud of it, it’s great to be able to have got the blend spot-on for a bottle release. Big, bold and super rich, The General is the Imperial Stout of our range. At 8.4% ABV it’s a little more than half the strength of wine, but with twice the body and flavour of many grape fermented paler imitations. I love the marmalade tannins and the juicy apple pie aroma. I love the warmth on the finish and the mouth coating astringency. This is a fireside sipper, a roast dinner partner and the perfect cider to see off the winter blues. Responsibly. Whilst reading a book about risk assessments.