Cidre Ruwet

Cidre Ruwet from Belgium has a very inspiring history. Joseph Ruwet discovered cidre in Normandy in 1898 and subsequently introduced this beverage to Belgians. He set up his own cidrerie and his cidre become so popular among Belgians that Ruwet even became the official cider provider to the Belgian Royal Family. After the two World Wars, the business, unfortunately, started to decline and was revived by new owners only in 2015.

 Today’s Cidre Ruwet is made with a single variety, Jonagold grown in Belgium.Company: Cidrerie Ruwet
Place of Origin: Roeselare, West Flanders, Belgium
Apples: 
Jonagold
ABV:
 4.5%
Package type: 
330 ml amber glass with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with a massive white head that only slowly dissipates. Medium carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the scent is weak with notes of polyfloral honey and red apples.

Taste: my first taste is sweet with low acidity of lemon. Followed by polyfloral honey, distant bitterness and very low astringency. Finishes sweet with a touch of raspberry and a note of sulphur.

Overall: it’s difficult not to judge cider by stereotypes when you see ABV of 4.5% and that is made with Jonagold, a typical dessert apple. Cidre Ruwet tastes natural and is definitely drinkable for cidre made with eaters. It has to be said, that it even has some structure and length although lacks complexity. I couldn’t really drink much of it as I experienced a kind of sugar crash. It was simply too sweet for my liking. Thus, those with a sweet tooth should be satisfied with Cidre Ruwet. Overall, I think it tastes quite alright but I wouldn’t buy it again. 3/6

Availability: Belgium in a Box and Delhaize Supermarkets in Belgium and Luxembourg.

Price: a sample was provided by Dardan, a follower of mine who wanted to share with me a bottle of this cidre.

 

 

 

 

 

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Manoir de Grandouet Cuvée Réserve 2014

When I was getting ready to leave Manoir de Grandouet during my visit to Normandy last year in October, Lucille Grandval asked me to wait for a moment and disappeared somewhere for 5 to 10 minutes. She came back with a bottle of their Cuvée Réserve 2014 Cidre, their very special cidre, she said. Lucille quickly applied a label on a bottle and I was all set. Company: Manoir de Grandouet
Place of Origin: Grandouet, Normandy, France
Apples: 
locally grown cidre apples
ABV:
4.5%
Package type: 
750ml clear glass champagne corked and wired bottle
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or flute

Appearance: pours a nearly clear pale amber with a huge white head that only slowly dissipates. Medium carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is moderately strong with notes of fresh red apples, hints of funk, light sulphur – like gunpowder, dried apricots and caramel.

Taste: it begins moderately sweet with a low acidity of lemon. Notes of fresh red apples, dried apricots and a touch of sulphur-gunpowder like. Low to medium astringency, caramel. Finishes with a hint of burnt caramel and low astringent taste.

Overall: My taste notes don’t really describe the beauty of this cidre. It’s indeed very special. It’s a rich yet light and fruity combination of flavours that linger on and leave you very satisfied. Good structure, complexity and length. Notes of sulphur are on the nose and palate but don’t really disturb. Personally, I think it could be slightly less sweet for my palate. So those who like sweet cider will love it. Just like my friend who I shared the bottle of the  Cuvée Réserve 2014 with. She thought it was superb! 5/6

Availability: directly from Manoir de Grandouet or from Holm in Copenhagen.

Price: a sample of this cidre was provided by Lucile from Manoir Grandouet

Mūrbūdu Pussauss Abolu Sidrs

I’ve heard of many brewers, engineers or musicians, who eventually turned to cider making, but this is the first time I hear that a winemaker by profession started doing cider. Paul is an Australian with Latvian roots who together with his childhood friend from Latvia, set up a cidery in 2016 called Mūrubūdu. Today, I’m sampling the Mūrbūdu Pussauss Abolu Sidrs, their semi-dry. Company: Mūrbūdu Sidra Darītava
Place of Origin: Ērģemes pagasts, Valkas novads, “Klētnieki”, Latvia
Apples a blend of local apple varieties
Sweetness as per label: semi-dry
ABV: 5%
Package type: 
330ml amber glass with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: 
wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear golden with a little head that quickly dissipates. Low carbonation.  Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is strong with notes of baked and fresh yellow apples, mirabelle plums and distant caramel.

Taste: my first taste is dry with a touch of sweetness and low to medium acidity of lemon. Then it gets lightly watery with notes of fresh yellow apples and baked apples, mirabelle plums and light astringency. Finishes dry with a note of lemon and a touch of caramel. 

Overall: Looks that Latvian cider makers have a very strong representation as they can make a very decent cider. The Mūrbūdu Pussauss Abolu Sidrs doesn’t taste semi-dry as advertised. I would classify it as something between dry and semi-dry. Britons would say it’s medium dry. The nose is strong and clean with a hypnotizing note of baked apples. I never had cider with such pure notes of baked apples. It’s like I could actually taste baked apples in front of me. Taste-wise, notes are quite similar as on the nose. Not so many flavours as I would wish for but I enjoyed having it. I actually thought it was delicious and would like to have it again. It could go well with food such as pork or veal. If there were more notes, I would be more generous with my rating. 4/6

Availability: in around 60 bars and restaurants in Riga incl. Spirits and Wine, Folkklubs Ala, Trompete Taproom, Kanepes Kulturas Centrs, Radisson Hotel and Laska Bar.

Price: Mūrbūdu Pussauss Abolu Sidrs was a sample provided by Paul from Mūrbūdu.

Loxley Cider Greenwood Blend

When I hear Loxley, I think of Robin Hood, Lady Marion and Sheriff of Nottingham, famous heroes of English folklore. But as it turns out, Loxley is also claimed to be one of the first areas in Great Britain where cider was made already in the 12th century. Records have been found on a private residence that had its own cider press.

Loxley Cider is made using traditional methods, with rack and cloth press, slowly fermented with wild yeast.Company: Loxley Cider Ltd
Place of Origin: Wandsworth, London, UK
Apples: a blend of bittersweet and bitter sharp varieties
ABV: 6.5%
Package type: 330 ml clear glass bottle
Recommended type of glass: wine glass

Appearance: pours an almost clear deep golden/very pale amber with no head. No carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is strong. On the nose bittersweet cider apples, tannic notes, juicy red apples, something spicy with a hint of xylene, butter, milk and honey.

Taste: my initial taste is sweet of sugar with low acidity of lemon. Smokiness, caramel, and light astringency. Finishes with a note of orange, pear and polyfloral honey.

Overall: it took me a few days to write this part as I wasn’t really sure how to express my thoughts about the Loxley Cider Greenwood Blend. This cider is very interesting with all the features of a great product. Its taste is light but not watery, with clean notes, it is easily drinkable and will be enjoyable for most cider drinkers. Especially for those who don’t like traditional cider but are looking for a quality alternative or nice introductory cider. I was very fond of a note of a polyfloral honey, which usually makes me dull but here it is just a note that gives you an impression that you are drinking a honey liquor and as it feels like a cuddly hug. Admittedly, it is not cider I usually drink, but it is unique and beautiful. With this, many could start their cider journey. 4.5/6

Availability: in the UK from Bayley & Sage

Price: a sample was provided by James from Loxley Cider. 

Manfred Böhm Cider #5

Every time I receive a sample of cider that is not commercially available I feel incredibly honoured. Today’s creation was made by Manfred Böhm, an electrical engineer based in Hohenlohe, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, who learnt to appreciate cider during a semester abroad in Ireland. In 2017, Manfred moved together with his wife and kids to a small town close to his parents, who happened to own a 3 ha apple orchard with 200 apple trees of mostly old German varieties. When Manfred’s wife got him an apple press and a scratter for his birthday, he had no choice but to start making his own cider. Cider making, experimenting with various blends and yeasts is currently only a hobby for Manfred. Nevertheless, Manfred sent me a bottle of his Cider#5, a blend of Brettacher, Winterambour, Boskoop, unknown bitter-sweet variety and wild apples. Company: Manfred Böhm
Place of Origin: Baden-Wüttemberg, Germany
Apples: 
a blend of Brettacher, Winterambour, Boskoop, unknown bitter-sweet variety and wild apples
ABV:
 5%
Package type:
500ml amber glass bottle with flip top cap
Recommended type of glass: wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy pale amber with a light orange hue and a white head that very slowly reduces to a ring. Medium carbonation. Body is also medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong, fruity and lightly sweet of caramel. Notes of yeast, apple stems, fresh yellow and red apples, low caramel, low bubble gum and banana.

Taste: my first impression is lightly sweet with low acidity of lemon. Low bitterness, a touch of smokiness, low but lingering apple seed-like bitterness. Finishes dry with a lingering apple seed-like bitterness, bitter caramel, a touch of warmth from the alcohol and light banana.

Overall: Frankly, I have tried many ciders that should have never entered the market. But Cider #5 created by Manfred is exactly the opposite. Cider #5 is something that I would be happy to spend my money on. Nevertheless, I’ll start with a critical note. The nose is quite yeasty. You can tell that this cider has a huge potential as other notes delicious notes actually come through the yeasty flavour. So a bit longer maturation and subsequent racking off would reduce the yeasty flavour and improve an already great scent and taste. But the taste is fantastic! There is a structure, depth, lingering notes and even gently mouth-puckering tannins. The bitterness is there but doesn’t disturb at all, but even contributes to the overall positive impression. The sweetness is just right, sweet enough and dry enough. My dear Manfred, if you ever decide to launch your Cider #5, I volunteer to be your very first happy customer. If not the yeasty flavour, the score would have been even higher. 4.5/6

Availability: Unfortunately, not available commercially

Price: a sample of this cider was provided by Manfred Böhm

Cidrerie du Château de Lézergué/Les Celliers de L’odet Brut

Roger Jan, a pharmacist by profession (just like me!), was the one who laid the foundation to Cidrerie du Château de Lézergué, which is today run by his three sons. Initially, Roger planted a couple of cidre trees but then he planted more and more and suddenly he swapped his large prospering pharmacy for a small neighbourhood one so he could spend more time making cidre.

Today I’m sampling another cidre from Cidrerie du Chateau de Lezergue/Les Celliers de L’odet from Brittany. Company: Cidrerie du Chateau de Lezergue
Place of Origin: Ergué-Gabéric, Cornouaille, Brittany, France
Apples: 
locally grown cidre apples
ABV:
 5%
Package type: 
750ml green glass champagne corked and wired bottle
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass, chalice glass, flute or bollée

Appearance: pours a clear vivid orange and a large white head that quickly dissipates.  Medium carbonation. Body is also medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong and sweet with notes of caramel, apricots, linden honey, baked apples. No funk.

Taste: my first impression is lightly sweet of caramel with low acidity of lemon.  Caramel, burnt caramel, baked apples, apricots, a watery note, raisins and low astringency on the mid-palate. Finishes fruity with low astringency and low burnt caramel bitterness.

Overall: this is one of these ciders that you can’t get enough of in terms of sniffing. The scent is simply brilliant with all these notes of apricots, caramel and linden honey. Taste-wise I think it’s just ok. It has many pleasant notes and absolutely nothing disturbing. But something is just missing here. It’s like one piece is missing from the puzzle. This is also why I wouldn’t recommend drinking it on its own. It would greatly pair with food though. 4/6

Availability: mainly in Brittany, France.

Price: a sample of this cidre was provided by Lucian from Cidrerie du Château de Lézergué.

Ramborn Single Malt Whisky Barrel Aged 2016

After the Ramborn Vintage Luxembourg Perry 2017, I’m going to sample cider that was made with Luxembourgish apples pressed in 2016, blended and subsequently aged in a single malt whisky barrel.Company: Ramborn Cider Co.
Place of Origin: Born, Luxembourg
Apples: Luxembourgish apple varieties
ABV: 9.4%
Package type: 750ml clear glass bottle with cork
Recommended type of glass: wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber/golden with no head. No carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the scent is strong and aromatic with notes of wood, vanilla, coconut, smokiness, alcohol and a hint of pineapple and mirabelle plums.

Taste: it starts dry with a moderate acidity of lemon. Further notes mirabelle plum, burnt caramel, a touch of bitterness, smokiness, vanilla. Finishes dry with a touch of lemon, caramel, wood and hint of ripe juicy apricots.

Overall: I know what you’re thinking. Cider aged in whisky barrel must taste brilliant.  Well, not exactly. You can clearly taste the impact of ageing in the barrel as you get notes of wood, vanilla, smokiness, pineapple and coconut. But only fruity notes of mirabelle plum and ripe juicy apricots reveal that it was actually cider aged in that single malt whisky barrel. It’s very rich in terms of flavours and interestingly they come and go. In that sense, it is a quality product. But I found it a bit overdone. The influence of barrel ageing on aroma and taste is too strong and masks the taste of the fruit. I think it’s good. Many will find it fantastic though. 4/6

Availability: in Luxembourg from Ramborn’s farm.

Price: Single Malt Whisky Barrel Aged 2016 Harvest was provided by Ramborn Cider Co.