With this year’s Cider Salon less than a week away and the fringe events starting tomorrow, I thought I’d give you a sneak preview of three fantastic creations to look out for at the Salon itself. Bear in mind there’s 20 producers, pouring 60 creations, so pace yourself but make sure you get in quick…it’s only two hours and I ran out of time last year.
First up: Ganley and Naish – 4.6%
This was pressed back in 2016 and is a blend of Yarlington Mill and Ashton Brown Jersey from an old low nitrogen orchard. The fermentation lasted a whole 12 months before being bottled in May 2018. Andy himself will be at the Salon pouring this one, so be sure to ask him all about it…it’s been over two years in the making.
It pours a hazy light amber colour, the aroma is woody, with scents of tobacco. There’s medicinal qualities in there as well as some hints of barnyard from those rich tannic apples. There is almost zero acidity in the taste and a gentle mellow bitterness from the tannins which gives the mouth feel a robust level of astringency. The finish has a very subtle sweetness that peaks through as a fruity little hit. A wonderful step into “fine cider” for Andy and a brilliant encapsulation of what Somerset cider is all about.
Second: Pilton – Pomme Pomme 4.8% (Keeved Cider & Quince)
Martin Berkley doesn’t really need an introduction, being one of the creators of the Cider Salon (along with Tom Oliver). This creation however adds a new ingredient to the Pilton party; Quince…and what an addition it is. Make sure you ask Martin how he managed to blend the tart astringency of the quince with the natural sweetness of his keeved cider to create perfect harmony.
It is a striking crystal clear gold colour with scents of tropical fruit (think guava and cantaloupe) along with vanilla, caramel and a hint of apricot. In the initial taste there is a slight acidity with light citrus notes, this then flows into that wonderful keeved sweetness that reminds you of biting into a sweet apple full of rich apple skin. The finish brings with it that quince astringency which dries the sides of your mouth with a tinge of bitterness, leaving you craving for another sip. Hats off to Martin, this is a masterpiece.
Third: Find & Foster – Woodrow, Vintage 2018 5.5%
Polly and Mat have stormed onto the fine cider scene with their exquisite ciders crafted from some of Devon’s forgotten orchards. Woodrow orchard is hundreds of years old with only a few bittersweet cider apple trees still standing. This cider was bottled before the fermentation had finished to capture some natural bubbles. In the interest of full transparency, I’m not 100% sure Polly and Mat will be pouring this one as they haven’t confirmed, but even if they aren’t, they will be bringing some other phenomenal ciders…look out for the Russet.
In the glass the Woodrow blend is a radiant amber colour with a slight haze. It smells like apple pie along with raisin and and some tannic phenolics that gove a woody note. It’s got a bold fizz that dissipates quickly leaving a ring of delicate bubbles in the glass. The initial taste is one of gentle acidity, then followed by an astringency that starts to dry the sides of your mouth and tongue. The finish is natural sweetness and essence of pure apple. It is glorious!
I hope that’s given you a little insight into the quality and craftsmanship you will experience over the next week. There are so many other amazing producers attending (such as Little Pomona, Tom Oliver, Jaanihanso, Kentish Pip, Hawkes, Once Upon a Tree, Brännland…I could just name them all to be honest), all of whom will be bringing fantastic drinks.
If you see me wandering around the Salon, make sure you say hello. Wassail.