Wednesday 28 July 2010

The soul of 146 cider (Part 3 - Orleans Reinette)

The Orleans Reinette. What an apple! This is my number 1 favourite apple for taste. And as such it deserves a big ol’ place in 146 cider. Yup, its a desert apple (although a good sweet one) but it has such a good body to it that I plan on making a gallon or two of it as a single variety this season. Sadly, it won’t be sufficient to sell on (I have to say, why would I subtract a decent apple from the main blend... surely that would weaken the whole thing?)

Orleans Reinette is also a useful apple, falling mid to late October when the cider crop is in full swing. See, a problem with tannin is that it needs a bit of acid to keep it from getting sick. I have other varieties that help with this balance, but the Reinette is a good part of that. Not that I need an excuse to make cider from it really. I think it really helps on a taste level – keeps the cider from being too west country and gives it a quality ‘mouth’ (I say that like I really know what it means!!)

So, what is the Reinette? Well, as you might expect its French. It dates back to the 1700's (breaking the Victorian mould), and is used in the UK mainly as a desert apple. The French, however, use it also for cooking as the flavour is absolutely superb... just something to consider when you are breaking out the Bramleys for the apple pie next. From records, its not a great keeper, although this is not something us cider makers have to worry about too much (sorry, Stephen).

Next time its back to cider varieties – Stephen Hayes mosted favourite (I think... well, at the moment it is), Yarlington Mill. Superb apple – very reliable... a lot of it in 146 Cider!


  1. I've never posted a comment on a blog before but think its great that somebody local to me is producing cider, i'll follow you with interest, spread the word and look forward to sampling your product.
    Keep up the good work.

  2. Yup, Orleans Reinete is my favourite eater and cooker, and as for cider......well, blends are best. But my affection for Yarlington Mill is growing with the healthy specimens of the variety in my cider orchard.