All posts tagged: cider tasting

What would you consider to be the top 3 ciders from around the world?

You know that tasting cider is amazing anywhere, anytime, it’s not just the drink that can make it special. The atmosphere, location, view and even the time of year can make that special drink even more memorable.

Apart from cider, and my family, traveling is one of my other passions. You’ll experience amazing new things everyday, whether that’s in your own country or further afield.

I have listed my top 3 personal favourites to get things started below.

Real Cider founder, Jim Callender at Pierre Huet's, Normandy, France

1. Hecks cider, Street, Somerset, England
Always a pleasure to travel down to the heart of Somerset and Street, great family run business, multiple awards and local apples.. say no more.

2. Domaine Dupont, Normandy, France
Every trip to this magical part of France just gets better and better. Real passionate cider makers respecting traditional techniques, but also embracing the science behind getting complex and distinctive flavours in their cidre bouche, pommeau and calvados products.

3. HPMC Kalpa Cider, Himachal Pradesh, India
After not drinking real cider for 5 months, we finally headed to the Himalayan mountains in India. We read that there was cider produced in the Shimla region of HP, but we could find it. Yes, we tracked a few dusty bottles down to a government bar. Remembering a taste like no other..

Taste ciders from all around the world

Get along to the International cider festival in August to taste ciders from around the world, all in one place.

So, over to you – where have you had your best cider or perry?

It’s always a pleasure driving up from South Wales to The Big Apple (Putley Cider Trials) because of the many orchards in full bloom on the way. This year was nodisappointment as the blossom was stunning.

On arrival we saw the usual faces andhad a quick chat before booking our entries in. While doing that we were accosted by a Japanese film crew – a man who didn’t speak any English, and a woman who now livesin London, so her English was excellent. I suspect they were attracted by the fact that we had brought our very attractive 25 year old daughter with us this year and no doubtthey thought she would look good on the tele! Those queing behind to book their cider infound all this very amusing.

We then set off to Ledbury where we always spend quite a while in the great kitchen shop there which also has a brilliant deli. We spent too much money as usua,l but discovered a lovely Chinese restaurant next door where we had an all you can eat buffet for £7.50. That filled us up nicely for the judging that was to follow.

On arrival back at the village Hall in Putley there were a number of people standing outside the locked door. The look on Mike Penney’s (Troggi) face when he realised thejudges for the bottle conditioned perry were inside and judging when he was a judgewas priceless. He had to bang on the window and shout, asking to be let in. Once themain judging started everyone piled in and the array of ciders and perries were amazing. The different colours and hues were highlighted by the sun shining in the window. Andy got started on the Dry and Medium ciders, while Mairi and I jointly did the Sweetciders and perries. Mairi was a Putley virgin and she couldn’t quite believe what she was seeing….or doing. She had been given some ‘training’ by Andy on what to look for so was reasonably competent and by the end of the afternoon was extremely flushedand ‘happy’. That Japanese film crew kept following her round!

The standard of entries was generally high and there were only a handful which were undrinkable. However, we didn’t find it hard to select the top three in each of thecategories. We were pleased with the day, especially getting a 1st for our Medium/Sweet Perry and a 3rd for our Medium Cider and if we don’t make the big time in the UK, Mairiwill be a cider-star in Japan!

By Annie Hallett, Blaengawney Cider

Want to have a cider tasting event for your company, club or party?

A team building event for businesses or just a fun night with your friends. Discover the wonderful world of ‘Real’ cider by learning about and appreciating some of the best cider’s and perries around.

Still, sparkling, dry, sweet, cider and perry? We will decipher all this, and guide you into the world of cider and perry.

Taste and enjoy a hand-picked selection of regional ciders that will get you excited about this wonderful traditional and ancient drink.

Prices based on size of group, usually with a selection of 3/4 ciders and perries, and mulled cider (optional). Packages always bespoke to suit your needs and requirements for your event.

Contact us for more details or call Jim Callender directly on 07888 701 588.

Slideshow featuring photographs from a recent cider tasting event

Cider tasting weekend - North Somerset

Everything you need to know to find that perfect bottle of Artisan Cider, inspired by the article ‘five ways to spot a good wine’.

When you are choosing a cider to take home, before you even buy a cider there are a number of ways to spot a great real cider. We hope these tips can help you explore the world of cider, and make a better judgement of a cider when you are buying from a supermarket, farm shop, or direct from the producer.

The Label

The label of a cider bottle

The label of a cider bottle – all looking good!

More people that care about what they drink look at the label very carefully. Producers know this, and write carefully crafted copy that usually creates visions of autumnal orchards at harvest time.

Look for the following when reading the label:

  • Made from 100% pressed apples
  • No artificial colours, sweeteners, flavourings
  • Uses local apples to producer
  • “Vintage” – apples pressed from single years harvest
  • Place of production – Somerset, Herefordshire, Devon are the traditional counties where cider has been produced for hundreds of years
  • Conditioned (sparkling) or still – either is great. Sparkling usually more refreshing, but still easier to drink
  • Preservative – sulphites are used to preserve the cider so it lasts longer on the shop shelves

The Strength

Real ciders are usually between 5-8% ABV. The strength of alcohol varies between the apple varieties, blends of apples once fermenting, and the length of the fermentation before bottling.

What do you want the ciders for? For food, or a night in front of the TV, you may want a medium strength 6-7% cider, but if you are drinking them all night with friends you may want only a 4-5% cider.

Ciders are not usually more than 9% as the producer has to pay a higher tax duty on the volume of cider produced.

The Price

£2-3 per bottle for a real cider. Some cider makers are charging more due to longer production and fermentation methods.

The Colour

The colour of a real cider

The colour of a real cider – mmm!

The colour of ciders vary depending on the choice of apples, from pale yellow to clear honey brown. However, an amber colour is generally representative of a well balanced, traditional cider.

The colour indicates the levels of tannins in the apples that were pressed. The deeper the colour, the more tannins, and the more of a ‘bite’ you get when you taste it.

The Smell

When you open a bottle of cider, close your eyes, swirl and sniff the cider in a glass, and you should be reminded of a cider barn, or farmyard odour. This is not a bad thing at all!

The Taste

The best bit! All ciders should be served lightly chilled, if they are very cold, then you will not enjoy the full aroma and taste that a real cider has to offer.

Let the liquid move around your tongue.  Use your taste buds to figure out how many different flavors you can pick up on. As long as it’s in balance and isn’t putrid-smelling, the more you can taste the more complex the cider.

Flavours and feelings that you may taste in a real cider: Oak, citrus, tart, crisp, refreshing, lingering after taste, all round flavour sensation!


Tasting a real cider

Tasting a real cider – at last!

If you buy the cider again, chances are you like it. When you find one you like, remember it, and try the other single or blended ciders from the same producers to explore the differences in the apples.

It’s that simple, always being mindful of the apples types that you prefer.

Take time to try new varietals from regions all around the world and find your own personal style.