Melton Mowbray is not typically known for it’s orchards or cider making for that matter, more a foodies paradise with pork pies and stilton cheese. However, every good food needs a drink to match and that is exactly what Hiranthi and Matthew Cook have sought to do with their cider. Planting 540 cider apple trees which they use to create their, 100% fresh pressed juice cider (14 apples per bottle to be exact). Their aim, to create blends with a variety of different bitttersweet, bittersharp, sweet and sharp apples that can rival wine at the dining table and pair perfectly with their local famous foods. Varieties such as Black Dabinett, Kingston Black, Sops in Wine (new one to me) and Browns. Their focus being on clean fermentation (using cultured yeasts) and time for maturation.
They currently make three different blends, two of which I have here today, the third, a Rosé has been picked up by Adam here. I’ve got the sparkling and still ciders both 2018 vintages but both different blends, I believe of seven different varieties, although not sure exactly which, apart from the four mentioned above. All three won medals at last years International Cider Challenge, the Still and Rosé picking up silver, whilst the Sparkling got bronze.
Cidentro Cider House – Sparkling Cider 2018 (6.5%)
Colour: golden sun
On the nose: dried apple, calvados, stone fruit (apricots), some citrus undertones of grapefruit and lemon peel. Spices of clove and star anise.
In the mouth: not much fizz at all, but it’s crisp light and well balanced, acidity, bitter tannins and lashings of fruitiness. Nothing stands out above the other elements, but it’s refreshing and very easy drinking. Red apples, vanilla and that citrus acidity dominate the flavour, whilst the finish is short, with just a few chewy bitter tannin notes.
In a nutshell: forget your usual summer garden drink (unless it’s already this), this is the one your looking for.
Cidentro Cider House – Still Cider 2018 (7%)
On the nose: aged wood (old barns or barrels), medicinal notes, red apple skins, notes of brandy and calvados. Hints of stone fruit with honeyed apricots.
In the mouth: a balance of juiciness, mild acidity and soft tannins. The stone fruit is there with peaches and apricots, the apple is like dried almost concentrated flavour. There’s a taste of vanilla and a smidge of caramel, like some malolactic character. The finish has a perception of sweetness which manifests more when cold, when at room temperature it’s juicy and fruity. No astringency drying the tongue, just a gentle clean finish. A tingle of acidity really lifts the fruit.
In a nutshell: almost too balanced, if that’s possible, needs a little something more in the mouthfeel to stand out.
I found it hard to choose between these two, both are super accessible and easy drinking, but for me the sparkling just has a bit more structure and depth, from what seems like a bit more tannin. As I said, I’m not sure what varieties went into each, but the sparkling had all three elements to me; sweetness, acidity and tannins, whereas the still has more of the first two. Either way, I’d happily pour both as great examples of what cider has to offer as an alternative to wine.