Downside Special Reserve Perry 2017

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I’ve written about Paul Ross’s Perry before for Crafty Nectar and it was a marvellous drink. This creation of his however takes it up a notch he answered a few of my questions to reveal how this exceptional fine perry was created.

Paul likes to use a combination of British and French perry pears and this bottle is no exception with Plant de Blanc, Antricotin, Hendre Huffcap, Thorn and Rock varieties.  

The process is as complex as the drink; Paul explained how picking time is critical to ensure maximum tannin and acid and how milling and maceration duration is different by variety. The fermentation is low temperature and is followed by a complicated schedule of racking and blending. Two things stand out; time and passion,and Paul gives plenty of both. As Paul says, the emphasis with all his perries is “fruit concentration and quality, excellent cellaring practices and bold blend”. If you have the chance to taste this perry you will see how the quality and boldness shine through like a beacon. 

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Pulling the cork I’m greeted by a spirit like smell of lemon balm and citrus peel. You can smell that it’s a stronger drink and at 8.2% it seems more like wine than perry.

I pour into a wine glass and the initial taste is filled with fresh floral notes, including elderflower with a background of acidity. Then the citrus taste comes in, intense at first but then starts to mellow, to me it has a hint of orange or mandarin. The finish is smack in the middle, with a little sweetness and a little dryness but it’s not too astringent. It goes down so smoothly, like a crisp white wine and with those citrus notes it is an absolute gem to pair with fish and seafood. 

Paul explained that “the key to this perry was identifying what each variety had to offer and using that as a basis for what could be achieved. The result is a really fresh, vibrant perry with well-rounded pear tannins in the aftertaste”. 

I couldn’t put it better myself.

Check out Downside’s website at: https://m.facebook.com/downsideperry/

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