As seen in BBC Food Gift Guide Festive 50
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Ciders made like wines are redolent of the locality where they are grown – what winemakers call ‘terroir’ – the apple (and pear) varieties used, and the skills of the individual cidermaker working to bring out the most appealing characteristics of the fruit.
These 6 ciders cover a range of taste profiles, from dry to sweet, and every point in-between, as well as a range of hues from refreshingly lip-smacking light gold, to rich golden and deep amber.
Then there are the aromas and fruit flavours which resonate through these apple and pear juice ferments: clean, crisp and fresh, overlain by layers of aromatics. Like wines, these ciders come both as still and sparkling – two are even made just like Champagne.
For lovers of sweet wines – a great Christmas treat with both Christmas pudding and cheeses – there’s an ice cider with a wonderful balance of sweetness and refreshing acidity which we think gives a Bordeaux sweet wine a run for its money, whilst offering considerably better value.
As to their ability to match with food, the skill of these artisan cidermakers helps create what one can only call a kaleidoscope of food matching opportunities. Indeed, these full fruit content ciders are an ideal match for drinking pleasure in the lead up to, and over, the Christmas period.
At this time of celebration, we’re not forgetting our health, either: on average these ciders contain about half the alcohol of most wines, as well as being gluten free and vegetarian and vegan friendly.
Abel Méthode Cider 2018 50cl
Made in small quantities from freshly harvested, hand-picked apples and pears, using predominantly heritage varieties that have been grown in Nelson, New Zealand for over 120 years. Varieties used are Cox’s Orange Pippin, Sturmer, Kingston Black, Foxwhelp, Bisquet, Winter Nellis, Winter Cole and others in small amounts.
Full fruit fermentation in stainless steel extracts the true fruit character. Made once per year, aged in stainless steel, the cider undergoes secondary fermentation, like Champagne, in bottle for 12 to 18 months prior to release and is bone dry, resulting in a fine cider that is refreshing and full of flavour. A true artisan cider made exclusively from 100% apples and pears, with no added water, juice concentrates or other fruit.
Non-disgorged. This cider has an ageing potential of 5-10 years.
The Newt Fine Cyder 2018 75cl
Hand-picked local Somerset apples are pressed and slowly cold-fermented to create a complex and natural flavour profile. This Fine Cyder dry cyder balance acidity, sourness and a touch of sweetness to create a lovely, thirst-quenching drink.
Gospel Green Brut 2018 75cl
A ground-breaking dry cider produced in Hampshire uses the same production technique as Champagne. Luxurious to savour, with just the right balance of sweetness. The pure and fresh flavour of apple with the double fermentation process adds to its complexity. Cider connoisseurs will adore it.
“Bright with a super-dry zing, perfect to serve in place of a top sparkling wine, or to pour with a cheeseboard for a real treat.” Olly Smith, Wine Expert, Great British Food Awards
Cidentro Still Cider 2018 75cl
An exclusive dry, still vintage cider from the finest English cider apples using 100% freshly pressed juice, it’s matured for 6 months for flavours to fully develop, giving an elegance of style and depth of character which can be enjoyed in the same way as wine.
One Upon A Tree Blenheim Superb Ice Cider 2015 37.5cl
The juice of handpicked, late harvested apples from the company’s Dragon Orchard is frozen and gently thawed in a process of cryo-concentration. This involves the first third of the thawed juice bing tapped off and used to make the cider, the remaining water, as ice, is discarded. This concentrated juice is fermented using Champagne-style yeast to 7% ABV, which takes 3 to 4 months.
Dragon Orchard is located in the heart of apple growing countryside in Herefordshire and has been in the family since 1887. It benefits from fertile Herefordshire clay and loam soils and is protected from harsh winds by the surrounding hills. It’s an accredited LEAF farm (Linking Environment and Farming) and the farmhouse has been awarded for its sustainability.
Brännland Iscider Barrique 2017 18.7cl
Every year Brännland Cider sets apart some of its ice cider for barrel ageing. 12 months on a barrel softens and integrates the high acidity and fresh apples notes with the natural residual sugar to create a deeper, more complex ice cider, darker both in colour as well as on the palate. The 2017 cider was very powerful already at pressing and extraction. The most prominent and powerful wines were both fermented and aged in used 500 litre Austrian oak barrels.
The dominant apple variety is Ingrid Marie and the robust vintage of 2017 has deepened and darkened further as a result of the barrel ageing. Pressed and fermented exclusively from 100% fresh-picked, Swedish apples and concentrated using the naturally occurring cold climate in Northern Sweden. No addition of preservatives, flavours or colours. Alcohol and chaptilisation not allowed.
Brännland Cider works with Markus Lundén, winemaker at Georg Brauer, leading Rhein wine producers, to maintain a pristine winemaking regime, which is seen through its Isciders.