Monday 28 March 2011

Introducing the 2010 range...

The 2010 season cider is currently being bottled, stored and checked to make sure it has really finished fermenting!. So its about time to introduce the new range for 2010. There are three very different ciders this year. They are:
  • Hampshire Heritage Cider
  • Wild West Cider
  • Eastern Pomace Cider
The names have changes a few times over the last couple of months - starting with just '146 East and West' and developing to their current state. I guess the proof is in the feedback from punters!

Hampshire Heritage is the same blend as the 146 Cider from last year. This season, however, there were a lot less Egremont Russett available, and a lot more Laxtons Epicure and Lord Lambourne. Egremont is a very distinctive apple which comes through in a cider - Laxtons and Lambourne are a lot sweeter and have less charisma. So it is no surprise that this has allowed the cider fruit to appear a little more robustly in the flavour. There is a good measure of acid too, although quite in the same way as last year.

I will publish a list of the varieties used and general percentages soon, but for now its roughly a 50% cider, 40% desert, 10% sharp blend of about 20 varieties of apple. As usual, all this fruit came from the Fruitwise orchards, giving it a food mileage (orchard to bottle) of approximately 10 miles.

Wild West is the first new cider I wanted to try. And I am very glad I have. Made from 5 varieties of cider fruit, it has a slight emphasis of the bittersweet, Chisel Jersey, backed up very solidly with Yarlington Mill and sweetened with Sweet Alford. This fruit came a little further, from the Bridport area of Dorset... so a few more food miles to report.

Its a fruity cider, backed up with a good measure of tannin and a tiny amount of acid whose job is mostly to help preserve the cider rather than impact the taste. Again, more detail will follow but its about 90% cider and 10% sharp.

Eastern Delight is a fairly limited eastern counties style cider. No cider fruit used at all, just well stored and prime desert apples from the Fruitwise orchards. These were generally picked by Fruitwise for market and then rejected as either too small, knobbly, or over ripe. In all honesty, the number of varieties is unknown although there is a good dose of Orleans Reinette - a very high quality desert apple.

Eastern style cider produces a light, fairly sharp cider - and with no or very little tannin to give it body it can be an acquired taste. To reduce acid, this style of cider is often left to mature for longer and even to go through a malolactic fermentation (MLF). This is a very slight process, not a fermentation as such, that reduces the acid profile of the cider more.

Eastern Delight is actually not as acidic as had been expected, but even though, it will not be available until the Southampton Beer Festival in June. The other ciders will be available from the beginning of May.

More information about each ciders provenance to follow...

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