A long time ago in a pre-lockdown era far, far away my entry to Malt’s ‘anything but whisky’ week in January was what I dubbed my ‘essential case of cider.’ Twelve bottles of cider and perry I’d recommend to anyone, spanning a wide range of different styles but united by general excellence.
Those two articles have spawned a bit of a monster. I don’t want to anticipate too much of what I’m going to be writing for our year-end roundup in a few days time; suffice it to say that cider is well and truly established on Malt now, even if the concept of extensive cider writing on a whisky website is an odd one, and despite a handful of people who I dare say would much rather we sacked it all off.
‘Top 10’ style pieces have never really been our bag here, but in the circumstances I thought it might be nice to mark the end of a year of cider writing on Malt by revisiting the concept that got it started. (‘Essential case’ being hopefully sufficiently less clickbait-y and SEO-y than ‘Top 10’ that it will pass muster with Jason.) So submitted here are the twelve ciders and perries the light of whose countenance I have most cheerfully bathed in during this monster of a year. Obviously I’m not reckless enough to suggest that they’re any sort of a definitive ‘best’, but they are the dozen that, as I look back over what I’ve tasted, still carry my highest endorsement, would be my quickest re-purchase, spark the most vivid memories and, to repeat a now comfortably-worn phrase, nestle most snugly in the crook of my soul.
A few rules before we dig in. As with the previous iteration, I’m including no more than one drink per producer, which has relegated some utterly sensational bottlings. I’ve only considered ciders and perries I’ve tasted for the first time in 2020 (otherwise Oliver’s Dry 2017, for instance, drunk on New Year’s Eve 2019, would have been a very strong contender). I’ve only listed bottles that are, or have been, on commercial sale, or Reading’s Andy Williams and Lincolnshire’s Chapel Sider would have almost certainly been in contention for their Harry Masters’ Jersey and Pét Nat respectively. Finally, I’ve only gone with those I’ve had the opportunity to write a full tasting note for. CidrExpo could likely have produced an entire case all by itself, but small tastes in amongst another 180 over three days isn’t sufficient to give something proper consideration.
So. Without further ado, and in no particular order, my Essential Case of 2020. Many of them have been reviewed on Malt over the course of the year, and in those instances I’ve not bothered with a fresh tasting note but have provided a link to the relevant article.
1. Ross on Wye Raison d’Être 2018
It is testament to the ridiculous output of Ross on Wye that in 2020 I have tasted a whopping 73 different bottled expressions of their cider and perry. And yet at the end of all that, my top pick is not only the successive vintage of the Ross that was also in Essential Case 1.0, but is the boring, obvious choice.
To my mind though, that underscores just how good Raison d’Être 2018 is. I’d hazard a guess that it’s the cider I’ve drunk most in 2020, with the upshot that I’ve had ample chance to taste it next to its Ross on Wye stablemates, and every time I have done so the Raison has emerged, by whatever quality metric you want to think of – balance, length, intensity, complexity – as my number one. When I think of some of the other things that Ross have put in bottle this year – the Dabinett French Oak 2018, Ashton Brown Jersey 2015, Thorn 2019, Flakey Bark 2017 Batch 2, their new Kingston Black 2019, that seems extraordinary. And what makes it even more so is that the team at Ross have maintained – and improved – the quality whilst increasing the size of the batch.
An enormous vintage with rumbustious, fleshy, muscular Dabinett and Michelin fruit that’s more than a match for the influence of significant ageing in whisky casks and still bears the inimitable and ineffable Ross on Wye stamp of place. Simply a massive drink in every respect, a worthy flagship for this outstanding cidery and for Herefordshire bittersweet cider in general. If I was doing this article as a ‘Top 5’ instead of an ‘Essential Case’, Raison d’Être 2018 would still feature. Loads still available at around a tenner from Fram Ferment, Scrattings, Beer Zoo, Hereford Beer House and the ridiculously good range at brand new The Cat in the Glass to name just a few. Get stuck in.
2. Pacory Poiré Domfront l’Ideal 2016
Looking back at 2020 I feel outrageously lucky to have been able to attend Caen’s CidrExpo back in February. And I am so, so glad that I did, because it opened my eyes to not only the quality of French cider and perry, but to its little-discussed innovation and diversity of flavours. It’s the best big cider tasting I’ve ever attended, and I came away with a boot full of bottles, one of which was this magnificent poiré from Pacory.
That event instilled in me a love of Domfront poiré which has stuck around all year. It’s annoyingly difficult to find in the UK, but if you come across it don’t leave it on the shelf. Particularly if you come across one from these folk.
Along with Ferme de l’Yonnière they were one of the two perry producers towards whom Calyce Cidre’s Camille pointed me straight away. And their l’Ideal 2016 was my pick of their range. Single variety Plant de Blanc, naturally sparkling and disgorged. It’s a sublime marriage of a superb pear, superb terroir and a superb producer which shows exactly what the Domfront is all about. If you want to taste the very essence of Normandy’s great perry appellation, try to get yourself a bottle of this. (Though you may need to slip across the channel to do so.)
3. Zapian Sagardoz Goxoa
Conversely, if you’re after a classic taste of traditional Basque Country cider, Sagardoz Goxoa is one to avoid at all costs. But if you’re after something that is, quite simply, outstandingly delicious, this Spanish answer to Pommeau simply has to be on your radar.
I drank my bottle of Sagardoz Goxoa for an article a few weeks ago, and instantly chalked it onto the list for this piece. It’s a gorgeous, indulgent flagship for cider’s diversity of style with its marriage of cryo-concentrated, single-variety Errezila juice and Zapiain’s tremendous unaged apple spirit. A perfect winter drink and one that I hope beyond hope will be picked up by a distributor to the UK. Do not leave it on the shelves, should you come across it.
Drinking it, I was suddenly struck by how odd it is that we cider wonks almost never really talk about fortified ciders (Technically, I suppose, fortified apple juice). I imagine, in part, that that’ll be attributable to their relative paucity of production in the UK. But it feels rather like being a wino and not talking about port or sherry or madeira, and so in 2021 you can expect much more investigation of that category from this quarter. Something as gorgeous as this is simply too good to keep on overlooking.
4. Smith Hayne Special Reserve Vintage 2018
I ummed and ahed for ages over which Smith Hayne bottling was to be included in this list – the sinewy, bright Méthode Traditionelle, or this deep, rich, note-perfect Special Reserve. In all honesty, I could have gone with either – all I knew, from the day I reviewed them in October, was that one would be featuring in my year-end greatest hits.
In the end, I went for the Special Reserve – by some measure the English keeved cider I’ve enjoyed most in 2020. More important than the choice though, is putting Smith Hayne on your must-try list in general. The ciders that Anne and William are bottling at this tiny Devon operation easily stand company with the very best in the UK. Devon is home to some truly exceptional cidermakers (I’m remiss in not covering as many so far on Malt as I should have). In Smith Hayne they have an absolute gem that, to my mind, flies a little under the radar.
Part of me almost doesn’t want to share the secret when there’s so little to go round. But mainly it’s an absolute pleasure to tell you all about one of the UK’s true, hidden greats. Buy whatever Smith Hayne you come across – in 2021 I expect they won’t remain an inside-tip for long. Their delicious creations are the essence of what fine, aspirational cider is all about. Scrattings has this one at £9.50 a bottle. Get it whilst it lasts.
5. Newton Court Black Mountain Perry
In some ways, the second perry on this list is a perfect foil to the first. In the sense that, if l’Ideal is the essence of the Domfront, then Newton Court Black Mountain is inimitably Herefordshire from nose to tail.
Terroir is all but unexplored in modern cider – certainly in modern English cider – and it would be a brave enthusiast indeed who ascribed with any certainty the flavours of this marvellous champagne method perry to the place in which it was grown rather than the pear varieties from which it was made.
And yet. When I tasted Black Mountain for the first time, my thoughts went straight to Andrew Jefford’s ‘shaking hands with the mountain’ quote. The flavours on show here seem to go further than just a simple list of fruit-based tasting notes. They capture a spirit of something; they comprise something that simply cannot be found elsewhere in the British Isles, even in nearby counties using roughly the same varieties and method.
Who knows for sure? Certainly not me. All I know is that if I wanted to show a friend what I consider to be archetypal dry Herefordshire perry, I would probably pour them a glass of this. It’s available directly from Newton Court’s website or you can pick it up from Hereford Beer House for £11 at the time of writing.
6. Eve’s Cidery Deridder 2019
The first on the list that I’ve not previously covered on Malt. I’ve expressed my love of Eve’s Cidery several times on this site and covered their gorgeous Albee Hill 2017 in a previous article. Deridder is a ‘single grove’ blend of foraged seedlings fermented with wild yeasts and bottled ‘pét nat’ before its fermentation was completed. I tasted this just two or three weeks ago and immediately had to make space in what I had thought was a completed essential case.
Colour: Burnished Gold.
On the nose: A rhapsody of orange. Tangerine, blood orange and everything in between – juice, flesh and pith. Tangy apples and fizzy sweets. It’s fresh, it’s bright, but there’s depth and richness here too. Wonderful aromatics.
In the mouth: A bright, fruit-driven mouthful of vivaciousness. Tangy, ripe acidity, orange and black cherry fruit broad but poised, well-weighted mousse. Everything is vivid yet perfectly harmonised. Shades of a juicier champagne in the citrus and apple and chalky minerality. Full, all-but-dry and utterly spotless. Feels incredibly complete in its youth. Up there with the best pet-nats I’ve ever tasted.
Well, it’s in my essential case, so what do you think? I’m not the first to sing Deridder’s praises and I won’t be the last. Only fifty cases were bottled and I doubt there’s much still available in the UK. At the time of writing Beerzoo have some for £18, and it’s on Fram Ferment for £14.50. A special occasion bottle, but for those occasions it’s worth every single penny.
7. Oliver’s Out of the Barrel Rooms Foxwhelp 2018
“Foxwhelp … as a single variety, you must be joking.” Tom Oliver, 2020.
“It is most definitely not a single varietal apple.” Also Tom Oliver, 2020.
“Single variety Foxwhelp is for perverts.” Andy May, 2020. Retweeted by Tom Oliver.
I worry, with this entry, that Tom will think I’m taking the proverbial. As we can see, above, he’s not convinced by the merits of Foxwhelp bottled solo. Indeed I’m not sure he’s convinced by the merits of single variety ciders generally, though he’s made a fair few. And here I am sticking an Oliver’s Single Variety Foxwhelp in my essential case and declaring it my favourite of Tom’s creations this year.
But here’s the thing. Firstly, in 2020, apple varieties have been discussed to an unprecedented degree. We’ve tried to contribute to that discussion here on Malt, but much more significantly I see them being chatted about by non-makers on social media on an at-least weekly basis. And high, if not highest, among the varieties discussed is Foxwhelp.
It’s long been documented that I’m an irretrievable fan. But I’m not the only one. Beer lovers (Matthew Curtis and Johnny Garrett, to name but two) adore it because it reminds them of geuze. Wine lovers (eg me) adore it because we sometimes equate it to Riesling. Actually it isn’t that close to either in any respect but acidity. It is entirely its own thing. And it is magnificent. As palate-hardened Pommeliers Cath Potter and Susanna Mansfield would join me in asserting.
Foxwhelp has the cleanest, most chiselled, most billowing and most idiosyncratically compelling nose of any cider apple. Even ignoring its acidity it is the most individual and distinctive in flavour and aroma of any of its stablemates. And that is probably why, wherever the Ross on Wye keg conditioned ciders travel, Foxwhelp is usually what sells out first. Because here’s the thing: drinks don’t have to please everyone to succeed – there are certainly people who’d never touch peaty whisky. They just have to please enough people to make themselves worthwhile. And I would argue that Foxwhelp has proven itself to do that.
Alongside Yarlington Mill, Foxwhelp is my favourite apple. And Tom’s Foxwhelp 2018, bottled from an Islay cask for the Barrel Room series, is the single variety Foxwhelp I’ve enjoyed most. If you don’t like Islay whisky and you don’t like Foxwhelp then it definitively won’t be for you, but if, like me, you’re an enormous fan of both, then it’s a must-taste. So unbreakable is Foxwhelp’s character that even a smoky whisky cask can’t reduce it – the geophysicist recognised what the apple was before she’d taken a sip. (And loved it, despite not usually being a Foxwhelp fan). It is arresting. It is mind-blowing. It is an utterly compelling interweaving of fruit and barrel. I know Tom has a bit left, and it occasionally pops up on Scrattings too for £9.50 a bottle. Grab it whilst you can – who knows whether Tom will ever make us another one?
8. Brännland Fatlagrad Barrique 2017
I’ve drunk a good few ice ciders for Malt this year. Intense, lusciously sweet – the perfect accompaniment to any dessert, or a ridiculous indulgence to guzzle over an evening. Pete Brown described it best as “like drinking starlight”. And the shiniest stars I’ve encountered in 2020’s mesmerising galaxy have come from Brännland.
To be completely honest, when I did the vintage lineup of their flagships in August I suspected that the ‘house’ 2017 would be on this list at the end of the year. But just recently the geophysicist and I opened Fatlagrad Barrique for a small celebration. Another 2017, predominantly the Ingrid Marie variety, given extra ageing in a smaller wine barrel. If you read Burum Collective (and if you don’t, why not?) you may already have come across my tasting note in Ben Thompson’s excellent article on winter cider pairings. But I’ll repeat it here anyway. Just cos.
Colour: Deep copper.
On the nose: Instantly darker and richer than the standard Brännlands, whilst sharing their DNA. Stewed black cherry, cassis, tarte tatin and brown sugar. Blueberry compote. Oak spices in clove and nutmeg form. As ever with Brännland there’s a lovely streak of freshness, but the aromas really do cover the whole octave.
In the mouth: That’s gorgeous. Gloriously unctuous texture and sweetness scored through by tempered acidity. Balance and harmony and complexity to die for. Astonishing intensity of flavours; more black cherry and blackcurrant pie, dark wine gums, cola syrup, raisin and sweet baking spices along a mouthwatering finish that lasts forever.
Best ice cider I’ve tasted this year. Easily. A stunning advert for how good pudding ciders generally can be. Pound for pound it’s by miles the most expensive on this list at £15 for a 187ml bottle (which will vanish in about five minutes if you’re not careful), but we’ve talked before about the relative economics of ice ciders and regular ciders. If you can find it (Novel Wines still have some in stock) and can justify the expense, this is a must-taste.
9. Manufaktur Jörg Geiger CBB 22
A third perry … and a third country. Tom Oliver cited Jörg Geiger as the maker of the best traditional method perries he’d ever tasted, so when a friend of mine went to stay with family in Germany, the opportunity to persuade him to mule back a mixed case for me proved irresistible. I loved the two I initially reviewed on Malt, but not as much as I loved this one when I tasted it for the first time just the other day.
Champagne Bratbirne is a variety of pear so prized by Jörg that the traditional method perries he makes from it have their own section on his website, separate to those he makes from all of his other varieties. It’s an old Swabian pear apparently drunk historically at the court of Duke Carl Eugen (don’t ask me) and still especially cherished by growers in the region today. The ’22’ refers to the number of months this one spent on its fine lees during and following the secondary in-bottle fermentation before being disgorged.
Colour: Pale straw.
On the nose: Pure, elegant, floral, seashell-edged, delicate, expressive and faintly smoky. So harmonised that singling individual aromas out is difficult. A shifting, beguiling nose that feels like a German answer to Newton Court Black Mountain, underpinned by crystal clear green pear.
In the mouth: A seamless follow-through which intensifies all the aromas with its creamy mousse and delicious structure of balanced, precise acidity and light tannin. An additional dab of heather honey. Just so refined and enthralling. The tiniest touch off-dry; packed with pear fruit but the combination of lees and variety and – who knows? – maybe terroir have leant it that slatey, rain-soaked rock quality that recalls our Andrew Jefford quote again.
Compelling, engaging, delicious. Jörg’s another on my wish-list, if any UK distributors are reading, and CBB 22 is my pick of his work so far. A definite cousin to the earlier Black Mountain. If you find yourself in Germany any time soon, be sure to indulge in a bottle of this. Perry doesn’t get much better.
10. Gregg’s Pit Thorn Champagne Method 2017
Given the quality of the three I’ve already mentioned – as well as perries made by producers like Ross on Wye, Oliver’s and Little Pomona, who have something else on this list – picking a favourite perry of the year would be a killer. But if I had to, it might well be this absolute masterpiece from Gregg’s Pit.
The increased online conversation around perry has been one of my favourite things about drinks social media in 2020. Ridiculously Good Perry Monday (#rgpm) is a completely stupid idea on so many levels, but I’m so glad to see that it kept going even when I wasn’t on twitter shouting about it. I’m thrilled to hear that Ross have upped their perry production due to massive demand and to see the Guardian publish an actual standalone perry piece rather than a footnote to a cider article. Not to mention this absolute belter by the redoubtable Matthew Curtis. (Promise I’m not just saying it was belter because he was kind enough to talk to me in the writing of it.) This fascinating, belligerent, impossible, secretive, exquisite drink deserves the noise that it is beginning to get again – long may that continue; we’ll certainly do our bit to contribute to it on Malt.
One thing I’ve established in 2020 is that, with respectful nods to Flakey Bark, Gin, Yellow Huffcap and a couple of others, Thorn is my favourite perry pear. I’ve even written an article about it for the next edition of Full Juice. It has, as Tom Oliver and James Marsden say, the holy trinity of acidity, tannin and sugar and my goodness we’ve seen some good Thorn bottled this year. The outrageously intense, alive 2019 from Ross was magnificent, as was the more delicate but still vivid and defined Cwm Maddoc. But my personal number one is this champagne method bottling from Gregg’s Pit. Astonishing in its precision, its varietal definition, its breathtaking complexity and its sheer, intense delivery of mesmerising flavour. It would convert any lover of the greatest Sauvignon Blancs. It would confirm any lover of the greatest perries.
At the time of writing, the only places I can still find it are Fram Ferment (£14.40) the wonderful Hereford Beer House (£15.50) and a website in Holland. To any of our Dutch readers, my strong recommendation is to jump straight in.
11. Antoine Marois Casus Belli 2016
One of the biggest mistakes I made this year was not bringing back more than one bottle of this spell-binding French cider from CidrExpo. For some measure of how highly I rate Antoine’s Casus Belli, just look at the two bottlings I tasted it next to when I wrote it up all the way back at the end of March. Two of the greatest still, dry ciders in the world – Eve’s Albee Hill 2017 and Little Pomona Old Man and the Bee 2017. And of the trio, I liked Casus Belli the most.
The frustrating thing about this cider is that I am left wondering why France doesn’t make more like it. Don’t get me wrong, the traditional keeves and pét-nats of France are one of the true great classic styles of the world of cider. But Casus Belli, like Sagardoz Goxoa, is a reminder that great makers aren’t restricted by regional tradition. Alongside the UK, France has the greatest supply of bittersweet and bittersharp cider fruit in the world, and I can’t tell you how much I’d love to see more makers come up with something fermented to total dryness like Antoine has here.
Huge, deep, fat, rich, developed and endlessly complex, it’s a cider for the ages that could easily be the envy of any Herefordshire or Somerset producer. My favourite international cider of the year, from my favourite producer of the year outside of the UK. If I could only have a one-strong wishlist of makers I’d like to see get distribution over here, it’d be Antoine. As soon as the world’s safe again I’ll be hopping on a ferry to pay him a visit … and stock up.
12. Little Pomona Art of Darkness 2017 (Part 1)
When I reviewed this cider in May I wrote that it moved me. That it was good enough and profound enough, complex and arresting enough to get me out of my seat; compel me to know how it tasted as it did. Its counterparts, 2 and 3, were also magnificent. But to my mind and palate, Part 1, 75% Foxwhelp, 25% Ellis Bitter, aged in an ex-Ornellaia wine cask was on another level.
I have tasted it again several times since, and what’s astonished me most is that I get the same reaction every time. That familiarity hasn’t bred a waning of affection; hasn’t diminished the cider’s capacity to haul me in from first sniff and grip me until the moment its finish lets go.
I wrote that my world was bigger and better for this cider being in it. It still is. I wrote that I thought it was my favourite still, dry cider ever. It still is. It has by some way my all-time favourite aroma, the cleanest delivery, the most compelling interplay between barrel and fruit. These are partially emotional responses, of course, but great things should be a conduit for emotion and there is no point writing about any drink – about anything – if it doesn’t have the capacity to elicit some form of love. I have been privileged to taste just over 700 ciders this year, many of them brilliant, game-changing, unforgettable. But Little Pomona Art of Darkness 2017 Part 1 is the cider that in 2020 I have loved the most.
And, true to Essential Case 1.0 form … now for a ‘baker’s dozen’ bonus. The geophysicist couldn’t pick a favourite this year (she hates picking ‘favourites’ anyway, though I’d say her most positive reaction was to Cwm Maddoc’s superlative Kingston Black 2018). So instead lucky number 13 is neither a cider nor a perry, but a cousin which, on reflection and recent revisitation, is simply too good to leave out.
13. Pilton Queen of the Brue 2018
If I have a wish list for drinks in 2021, ‘more quince’ is near the top of it. Particularly from Martin Berkley at Pilton who to my taste has, in Queen of the Brue (reviewed here back in August) bottled the best of the lot.
I’ve had a 100% quince from Ramborn, some co-ferments from Little Pomona and an apple-quince blend from Kertelreiter this year, but Queen of the Brue is the one I’ve gone back for fourth helpings of. Technically this is a cheat, as I did taste it in 2019, but it hadn’t gone on commercial sale at that point; it was still undergoing its in-bottle maturation. And this year it has emerged from its cocoon brilliant, dazzling, intense, complex and magnificently fresh. Simply one of the finest drinks I’ve tasted in 2020.
Quince is a cousin of the apple and the pear, but is arguably more thrilling, vibrantly flavoured and distinctive than either. At its best it is liquid gold; a tangy, scintillating ménage of tropical fruit, citrus and rose petals. Queen of the Brue expresses that with more clarity, precision and complexity than any other I’ve yet tasted. If you love cider, if you love perry, if you just love interesting, characterful, gorgeous drinks made with whole juice and sensitivity to their constituent fruit, this 100% Quince is, as its inclusion on this list suggests, essential drinking.
You can pick it up in 750ml or half bottle form from Pilton’s website itself, from Cider Insider or Fram Ferment or The Fine Cider Co. In fact there are several easily findable places online from which you can snag yourself a bottle. Just for goodness sake make sure that you do.
So there you have it. My personal case of the year, and if anyone wants to collect them all up and send them to me in one box you may do so with my blessing. I dare say several … many … all of you reading will have differences of opinion and preference, and that, I think, is the real take-home of this article.
Inevitably compiling a list like this makes you look back at a year of cider and perry (and quince) – rummage through your notes, re-savour on your mind’s palate everything you tasted. And in doing so I was struck as much by the bottles I’ve not had room to include here as by those which I’ve listed above.
Even sticking to the same 13 producers I could create an entirely different selection of utterly mesmerising drinks which could very easily be another drinker’s top dozen and deservedly so. And consider some of the cideries I’ve not had space to mention, but which could come together for a ‘2020’s greatest hits’ album that would hear little dissent from me. From the UK alone you’ve Cwm Maddoc, Bartestree, Find & Foster, Artistraw, Tinston, Skyborry, The Newt, Caledonian, Barley Wood Orchards, Trevibban Winery, Nightingale, Pang Valley and BEARDSpoon to name just a handful. Casting an international net you could include Eric Bordelet, Abel, Julien Thurel, Vergers de la Morinière, Kertelreiter, Zelaia, Pomologik, Killahora Orchards, Côme Isambert and so many, many more. I can’t quite believe that in a ‘favourite 12’ list that I’ve curated there isn’t a mention of Eden (though, in fairness, I’ve not had the chance to try many new Edens this year.)
Cider and perry is by no means in a perfect place. There are arguments, disagreements, even borderline schisms. Too many industrial bad habits are swept under the rug, too much liquid sits on shelves for public sale that is faulty to the point of potentially lasting reputational damage. The in-fighting over such things as “fine cider” has the potential to cause real and lasting harm to what remains a nascent, if growing, sector and it doesn’t take a long social media search to uncover any amount of cynicism and ill-feeling. Most importantly, the work to make cider a more inclusive place is still far from finished – it’s barely even begun. All of this, it goes without saying, is essential to investigate and engage with here on Malt if we are to continue styling ourselves as a critical site. And I hope that over the dozens of articles published here in 2020 we have gone some way to doing so.
But today, at the end of this most appalling of years, I am reminded that there has never been a better, more exciting time to be a cider drinker than that in which we find ourselves in right now. Some of the ciders and perries released in 2020 have genuinely widened goalposts, changed minds and given us amongst the best glassfuls we’ve ever had the good fortune to guzzle. I didn’t deliberately intend this mix to be such an even split between UK ciders and ‘Rest of the World’ but I’m very pleased that’s how it has landed, and I hope it reflects the gradual erosion of cider’s historically hard borders. Personally I cannot wait to see what is put into bottles right across the planet in 2021. If, this time next year, my essential case makes me half as happy as the dozen I’ve chosen from 2020 then the good times will well and truly be upon us.
On that happy final note it only remains to say thank you so much for reading our cider articles on Malt this year. To the whisky drinkers who stayed for the apple love-in and the cider lovers who have joined us for the first time. I’ve hugely appreciated every click on every one of our pieces, and I hope to keep clogging up your Saturdays with cider and perry verbiage for a long, long time to come. Happy New Year – see you on the other side.
All photographs by Adam with the exception of the Smith Hayne Cider, which comes via Scrattings.