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A Mosser Cider Trio

Mosser Cider are based in Cumbria, not your typical orchard growing region due to significant rainfall and steep terrain. However Mosser have embraced these challenges and taken an entirely positive view on cooler environments working better for longer and slower fermentations. Growing cider varieties in that climate has proved tricky and Mark Evens has written a paper on all he’s learnt from planting the orchard back in 2007 a highly recommended read. His farmhouse has always had an orchard, but that sadly disappeared over the years. Mark has introduced 40 varieties of cider, culinary and dessert apples back to the farm and as you’ll see from the three I’m tasting is keen to blend them all. 

One theme I must point out here (that is close to my heart) is transparency which Mosser have completely embraced. The website is a wealth of information, including photos of their different varieties and a full in depth ingredients, process methods and tasting notes for each of their ciders, something which is replicated on their labels. Plus a thoroughly interesting blog on everything from planting the orchard to crop yields. 

I’ve ben on many trips to Cumbria over the years, but never come across Mosser Cider before and I’m always on the look out for local producers. However, I put an order in with The New Union in Kendal in Lockdown V1, and Phil kindly gifted me a bottle of Mosser Cider to try which I had on the shelf for a few months, at which point some friends returned from a lockdown gap holiday to the Lake District and bought me back two other bottles (I believe purchased at Keswick brewery). Fortunately I had no duplicates so here follows my notes from a trio of their blends. Which are all dry.

Mosser Cider – Orchard Magic (6.2%)

Made from a blend of 2016 & 2017 harvests. 32% Bittersweet apples from the Mosser orchard, 8% Blakeney Red pears from Acorn Bank, 28% sharp apples (mainly Tom Putt) and 32% dessert varieties.

Colour: Gold bullion

On the nose: wood, orchard floor (leaves & soil), green apples, brandy, hints of tropical fruits

In the mouth: very fruit forward and juicy but theres a bit of a clash of flavours. Rich woody tannins butt up against green apple acidity, whilst a smidge of sorbitol sweetness (Blakeney Red Pears perhaps) battles with bitter astringency. Theres a savoury chewy character and that tropical fruit seems out of place against it. It is balanced but not harmonious to me.

In a nutshell: as the label said “it will benefit from maturation”, I think it needs a little longer still for those tannins and fruit to integrate with each other. 

Mosser Cider – Dab Tom (6.6%)

A 2017 blend of 40% Tom Putt, 20% Dabinett and the rest is made up of a blend of 22 different varieties.

Colour: see Orchard Magic

On the nose: very similar to Orchard Magic, but more of the green apple, brandy and tropical fruit, plus some citrus. There are hints of bitter orange, but the sharps are definitely the stars on the nose.

In the mouth: a bit of fizz to this and some malolactic character which I think has happened post bottling. There’s vanilla along with ripe apples and whilst the Dabinett (only 20%) tries to creep in with orange and spice, it’s almost undetectable as those more acidic varieties dominate the show. Those tannins have tempered the acidity enough to give it balance, it’s really smooth. Drier on the finish than the Orchard Magic. 

In a nutshell: The one I would recommend to anyone wanting to try some due to it’s balance. Little more Dabinett would have been perfect for me.

Mosser Cider – Black Snout Forge (6.4%)

A blend of 32% Kingston Black, 30% Brown Snout, 30% Forge and 8% Sunset.

Colour: darker gold than the other two, maybe an amber hue.

On the nose: many more phenolics with hints of leather and tobacco, but also plenty of green apple and citrus notes.

In the mouth: very fruity and plenty of juice at the start. There’s definitely a tropical theme to these three which must be coming from the dessert varieties as it’s the only common thread. The Kingston Black and Brown Snout partnership is inspired leaving a balance of citrus like acidity and subtle bitter tannin. Vanilla, lemons and passion fruit with a bitter dry finish.

In a nutshell: my favourite of the three I think (was close with the Dab Tom), don’t often get ciders made with Brown Snout sadly, an underrated apple. 

Conclusions

Searching for post lockdown holidays to Cumbria. I tasted another cider from the area recently (more on that in a week or two) and it was lovely. Clearly the environment albeit challenging for growing fruit trees, actually produces fantastic fruit. As we all know, you get out what you put in and these three blends from Mosser were clean, fresh and interesting. Couple of nitpicking points from me, but mainly down to personal preference of dryness and balance. Mostly only available in the region, so make sure you search them out on your next visit. Some available through beergb.com but only the Dab Tom out of these three.

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