Saturday 24 July 2010

The soul of 146 cider (Part 2 - Tremletts Bitter)

Apples! Not just apples, but high quality heritage apples! Sorry, already done that!!!

When it comes to cider apples, there is probably none more inedible than the Tremletts Bitter. My friend Stephen Hayes regards it as a condiment – to be used sparingly as it is so bitter and almost no sweet.

It is true that it is full of tannin and not much else. It is the Bramley of the Bittersweet cider apples. It is a small, highly red apple that ripens mid September and can be very shy to give out much juice. However, it turns out at a time when the majority of early fruit is being pressed and provides a ‘tannin injection’ into what would otherwise be a weak part of the blend. Early apples tend not to keep well, and are pretty thin on flavour. However, if you want to get the flavour of the full season, they are an important part of a blend.

Tremletts Bitter, like the Egremont, is a Victorian cider apple identified from the Exe Valley in Devon. Tends towards biannual cropping (though I am fortunate enough to have access to several trees which alternate) but in an on year is a branch breaker. Recently, some producers have started producing a single variety Tremletts cider, which I find a bit odd - on its own, Tremletts would be challenging to say the least! However, if you are reading this with a glass of 146 next to you, and can taste the baseline tannin in the cider, chances are the blended Tremletts will have played a big part in that.

Next time, I shall have a ramble about another desert apple that produces year on year, Orleans Reinette (Yum!)

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