Piparkakuja Cidre Ledový Cider 2017

Today’s cider review will be very special. Special, because cider that is to be reviewed today has not been commercially launched yet (partly because of bureaucratic reasons). This Ledový cider (Czech for ice cider) was crafted by Petr Vacek from Prague with apples coming from an orchard based in Kamenice nad Lipou and Český Dub owned by his grandparents and grandparents of his wife. Since Petr prefers his cider on the sweeter side and he’s well familiar with the winemaking methods since he was nearly 5 years old (the advantages of living in a vineyard in the Czech Republic), he has started straight away three years ago with making ice cider. The name of Petr’s cider is ‘Piparkakuja’, which is supposed to mean ‘gingerbread’ in Finnish.Company: Piparkakuja Cidre
Place of Origin: Prague, Czech Republic
Apples: unknown apple varieties from orchards in Kamenice nad Lipou and Český Dub
Sweetness as per label: 
ice cider
ABV:
7.5%
Package type: 
500ml amber glass bottle with flip top cap
Recommended type of glass: 
white wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a cloudy pale amber with a giant foam that only slowly dissipates. Medium carbonation. Body is high with a creamy texture.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is very aromatic and has notes of oak, vanilla and strong alcohol. Also, light smokiness, baked apples and strong whisky notes with pears, fresh apples, caramelised apples and toffee.

Taste: the first sip is medium to strongly sweet with a high acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate, a strong note of alcohol followed by oakiness, notes of stems, baked apples, caramel, vanilla, caramelised apple, a touch of orange. Finishes with light medicinal notes, raisins, low astringency and light bitterness.

Overall: Petr’s ice cider is very aromatic with clear notes and aromas. It has an array of strong and delicious apple flavours. Every sip felt like an interesting journey. Also, the sweetness was nicely balanced by the high acidity. What I also loved were the strong oaky/woody notes (note: this cider wasn’t aged in oak at all!). Yet, the flavour of alcohol was very strong. Way too strong, overpowering other yummy flavours so I had a feeling I was drinking a whisky mixed with ice cider or at least a bit outbalanced ice cider with an ABV of 12%, not 7.5%. Personally, I liked it but I can imagine that not everyone will be a fan of this ice cider. Overall, Petr’s ice cider is unique in a way and could be an interesting offering if not the aggressive taste of alcohol. It has a great potential and will most probably find fans but I think it could be much better without the overpowering boozy taste. 4/6

Availability: not launched yet.

Price:  a sample of Piparkakuja Cidre Ledový Cider 2017 was provided by Petr.

Slavnost Cideru 2018: visit recap

The magic of Prague, delicious duck in U Medvídků and the rapidly increasing number of cider makers in the Czech Republic made me hit the road to Prague also this year and participate in the third edition of  Prague’s cider festival Slavnost Cideru.I’m not going to provide you with details about the festival’s setting and how it was organised as it didn’t differ from last year’s edition. If you’re interested in this information please read my last year’s visit recap here. This time I would like to focus more on cider makers that took part in this year’s edition of Slavnost Cideru and cider they made available to the festival visitors.

Same as last year, mainly Czech and a few Slovak craft cider makers had their booths along the festival street. Also, a few stands offered English, French, Spanish and even Russian cider. But also commercial brands with fizzy alco-pops offered their products. In contrast to last year, however, a few new to me Czech cider makers took part in this year’s Slavnost Cideru featuring Bacha, CiderTalk, Darebak, Don Cidre, Cider Eden, Winka z Vinka,  Bubak and Norler. But his year, also one Austrian craft cider maker brought his ciders to Prague. Karl from BlakStoc is a unique cider maker on Europe’s cider map as he combines Styrian apples with various fruits and veggies such as black currants, ginger, kaffir lime or quince with hops with a great result. Having a memory of Karl’s delicious Buddha’s Hand Lemon Cider, I started my exploration with this cider. And, it was a terrible idea, because none of the ciders offered at Slavnost Cideru could beat Karl’s mind-blowing cider. Perfectly balanced, extremely drinkable and refreshing on this hot summer day in Prague. But, also the Ginger For My Honey deserves a shout out. It tasted surprisingly refreshing despite the addition of ginger and made you crave for more. I was a bit less fond of the Quincy & Jo Hops Edition, which was simply not as balanced as the previously mentioned ciders. Needless to say that Karl’s range of hopped ciders was to me, but I think many will agree with me, the absolute highlight of this year’s Slavnost Cideru.

Among the Czech cider makers, A.K. Cider’s booth was the most worth visiting. This year Martin made especially for this event a cider made with strawberries. I thought it was a bit too sweet to my palate, but still, it could be considered a naturally tasting alternative to commercial brands. But personally, I thought that the Dry from A.K. Cider was absolutely fantastic! It’s a different cider category to what BlakStoc and shouldn’t be compared. A.K. Cider’s Dry is a classical and traditional, perfectly balanced cider. Indeed dry as advertised with a touch of sweetness to it, the medium acidity of lemon and lovely flavours resembling quality English cider. In a blind tasting, I would guess it’s an English cider. Also, bottled Limonka, one of my last year’s Top 10 Ciders tasted as delicious as I remembered it.

Apart from the Buddha’s Hand, Ginger For My Honey and Dry and Limonka from A.K. Cider, I was able to sample a few interesting ciders from cider makers that are to watch in my opinion. Namely, Bacha and CiderTalk, both newcomers on the Czech cider scene. At their booth, Bacha offered 9 ciders that carried names from No. 1 to No. 9. I thought that No. 2 and No. 4 from Bacha tasted very promising. From CiderTalk I tried their Dry and was similarly fond of it. Ciders from Bacha and CiderTalk were bone dry, citrusy with nice apple notes and therefore would pair excellently with food. No. 6 from Bacha could be aged a bit longer as it tasted of alcohol, whereas No. 1 was just too thin. Perhaps not my favourite, but also, cider from Bubak Cider is worth mentioning here. Bubak’s ciders, the original and hopped were pretty well-made and stood out from the mostly average tasting available Czech ciders. Bubak’s cider could become a crowd pleaser due to refreshing notes of fresh pressed apple juice. Also, I quite liked Tátův Sad‘s Bourbon, which as already the name indicates was aged in bourbon barrels. I can imagine it’s their special release as I haven’t seen this one anywhere else.

Divoke Jablko, one of my last year’s favourite ciders tasted only okayish to my surprise. These lovely blood orange and grapefruit notes that I adored that much in their Divoké Jablko Cidre Brut were missing in this year’s batch. Melanie, what did go wrong? Please bring my favourite cider back!

Same as last year, visitors could vote online for the best cider of the festival. The results weren’t officially announced yet so I wonder if last year’s situation will repeat again. See my 2017 recap for more information.

img_0210Apart from cider, and what was new this year, I discovered a bunch of people, at the festival ground who were tattooing bananas. It was one of the entertainments provided by the organisers. Just opposite the banana tattoo saloon, one could spin a lottery wheel at 50 CZK (1.94 EUR) and win…something. Unfortunately, my Czech is terrible so I didn’t get what one could win. But I know that one of the awards was an apple. img_0196

Overall, it is great to see that the interest in proper cider in the Czech Republic is growing along with the number of cider makers. However, most cider makers still require more experience, better skills, apples or patience. Indisputably, BlakStoc smashed the Czech competition with his hopped and fruity cider blends.

I would like to thank the organisers and festival visitors for creating a great and friendly atmosphere during the festival, sharing the love for the apple beverage, inspiring and interesting talks and new friendships.img_0209

Redbrook Chilli Cider

Until now I have tried only one chilli-infused cider and it wasn’t a cider from a European country but from Canada. It was Sulkers Pineapple-Penos made with pineapple and charred jalapeño so it’s not entirely the same as cider I’m giving a try tonight. Redbrook from the Czech Republic has provided me with a sample of the spicy version of their Original Polosuchý (semi-dry) infused with chilli. I don’t think that any cider maker in Europe has manufactured anything similar to this. Company: Redbrook Cider
Place of Origin: Dřínov, Central Bohemian Region, Czech Republic
Apples: a blend of Czech apples from Jiří Hubáček’s orchards with chilli
Sweetness as per label: semi-dry
ABV: 6%
Package type: 330ml amber glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a clear amber with an orange hue and a quickly dissipating white head. Low carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: not too many notes here. Just a flavour of commercial tetra-pack apple juice from a supermarket and some malty notes.

Taste: my first taste is medium sweet with low acidity. The mid-palate has a slight astringent taste, a flavour of a commercial tetra-pack apple juice and some light burning from powdered chilli that lingers on. Finishes dry leaving a flavour of tetra pack apple juice note.

Overall: the spiciness of chilli is not too high but nicely complements this cider and warms you from inside like a nice spicy meal. But just like other ciders from Redbrook, it tastes like an apple juice, not cider. Although I found it drinkable it tastes only average. Also, every time I would take a sip something (must be the chilli) irritated my throat and made me cough. I don’t remember coughing when I had Sulkers Pineapple-Penos. Taken together, I think it’s an interesting offering mostly due to the addition of chilli but I wouldn’t buy it again as it resembles a commercial tetra pack apple juice with chilli. Sorry, guys. 2/6

Availability: I couldn’t track a shop offering this cider in the Czech Republic so perhaps it was just an experiment?

Price: Chilli Cider was a sample provided by Redbrook Cider.

Redbrook Cider Premium Suchý

Redbrook Cider is one of two Czech cidermakers that entered the CiderWorld Awards competition in Frankfurt this year. More than that, their Premium Suchý has received 87 points out of 120 and so qualified for an Honour Award. I do hope to see more cider makers from the Czech Republic in the next year’s edition of CiderWorld. Now let’s check out the Premium Suchý from Redbrook Cider. Company: Redbrook Cider
Place of Origin: Dřínov, Central Bohemian Region, Czech Republic
Apples: a blend of Czech apples from Jiří Hubáček’s orchards
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 6%
Package type: 330ml amber glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a clear deep golden with a quickly dissipating head. Medium artificial carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: smells a bit malty with a whisky note. Also, red apples, honey and apple juice on the nose.

Taste: it begins quite dry with some residual sweetness and low to medium acidity. On the mid-palate slightly watery, with a light astringency and a malty whisky note and a hint of red apples. The finish is dry with a lingering astringent taste and a bit harsh aftertaste.

Overall: previously sampled ciders from Redbrook tasted more like juices than fermented apple beverages. But the Premium Suchy doesn’t taste like an apple juice at all. This one is definitely the best of ciders from Redbrook I’ve tried so far. Strangely enough, I have the impression that I’m drinking a cider blended with whisky. The malty note is quite strong both on the nose and the palate. Speaking for myself, I think that the Premium Suchy is drinkable and tastes quite ok. It has a nice structure, pleasant malty notes combined with red apples and a quite long aftertaste. But if you’re not a fan of whisky you may not gonna like it. Worth trying. 3.5/6

Availability: only in the Czech Republic through Sklizeno. Also, available in many bars and restaurants around the Czech Republic.

Price: Premium Suchý was a sample provided by Redbrook Cider.

Redbrook Red Fruit Polosuchý

After sampling the Perry Polosuchý and the Original Polosuchý, both from the Czech cider maker Redbrook I’m giving their Red Fruit a try. Red fruit is a mix of fermented apple juice and red fruit juice. Company: Redbrook Cider
Place of Origin: Dřínov, Central Bohemian Region, Czech Republic
Ingredients: fermented apple juice and red fruit juice 
Sweetness as per label: semi-dry
ABV: 4%
Package type: 330ml amber glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a deep ruby red with a violet hue and a quickly dissipating foam. Medium artificial carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: smells fruity and slightly acidic of blackcurrant, chokeberry and blackcurrant juice.

Taste: it starts only slightly sweet with a low to medium acidity. Blackcurrant, chokeberry, light to medium astringent taste on the mid-palate. It finishes dry with a nice lingering acidity and a flavour of red fruits.

Overall: briefly, Redbrook’s Red Fruit tastes like a blackcurrant juice mixed with some chokeberry juice. Interestingly, it’s extremely drinkable. A really delicious and good tasting red fruit juice. Actually, I would have bought it again if it was available as a regular juice as it’s not so sweet as usually juices are. But it’s hard to consider this creation a cider or wine. Sorry, guys. 3/6

Availability: only in the Czech Republic through Opily Jabko and Sklizeno. Also, available in many bars and restaurants around the Czech Republic.

Price: Red Fruit Polosuchý was a sample provided by Redbrook Cider.

Redbrook Original Polosuchý

Redbrook Cider comes from the Czech Republic and is produced in Dřínov u Slaného in the Central Bohemian Region. Apples used for Redbrook’s Cider are grown in the orchards owned by Jiří Hubáček. It’s my first time trying anything from this cider maker.Company: Redbrook Cider
Place of Origin: Dřínov, Central Bohemian Region, Czech Republic
Apples: a blend of Czech apples from Jiří Hubáček’s orchards
Sweetness as per label: semi-dry
ABV: 5%
Package type: 330ml amber glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with light orange hues with a fast reducing white foam. Medium artificial carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: it smells like a regular apple juice from a supermarket. Further notes I pick up are of distant caramel and toffee with a light buttery flavour.

Taste: the first sip is slightly sweet of caramel with low acidity. It tastes a bit watery with notes of red apples, regular apple juice (but not that strong as on the nose), light astringent taste, distant bitterness and red berries. It finishes dry with a note of dried stone fruits, including apricot, distant buttery flavour, and slightly biting due to the feeling of bubbles bursting in the mouth.

Overall: the flavour of Redbrook’s Original more closely resembles that of apple juice than that of cider or an alcoholic beverage made from apples. The Original is drinkable,  made from quality apples, but not exciting. An apple juice with added cider. Also, it has a light buttery note, which I am not a fan of. I guess it will find an audience among those who never had cider before, hence don’t know how cider is supposed to taste like. But a more demanding cider drinker will be disappointed. 3/6

Availability: only in the Czech Republic through Pochutnejsi. Also, available in many bars and restaurants around the Czech Republic.

Price: Original Polosuchý was a sample provided by Redbrook Cider.

Cider Bohemia Barrique

When I posted the review of the Cannabis Cider from Cider Bohemia some were saying that I have to try their Barrique. I got intrigued and when the opportunity occurred I’ve purchased a bottle through a Czech online shop Opily Jabko. The Barrique is made from apples grown in the Pilsen area. After the apple juice is pressed out, it is fermented and after three months moved to new Slovenian oak barrels. Don’t know how about you but I can’t wait to try the Barrique!Company: Cider Bohemia
Place of Origin: Pilsen, Czech Republic
Apples: Czech apples from Pilsen area
Sweetness as per label: semi-sweet
ABV: 4.8%
Package type: 330 ml brown glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass of flute

Appearance: pours a lightly hazy straw yellow with a short-lived white head. Slightly sparkling. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is rich and exhibits notes of ripe yellow apple and red apple, apple juice, apricot jam, peppermint with hints of vanilla, oak cask and lightly medicinal notes.

Taste: the initial taste is moderately sweet, with very low acidity. On the mid-palate crisp yellow and red apple, apple juice, elderflower, pear, vanilla, oak, a taste of oak cask and distant vinegar. It finishes dry with a distant peppermint, and a light medicinal and herbal taste to it.

Overall: indeed, the Barrique is one of the better tasting and most intriguing Czech ciders I have tried until now. It has many interesting and rare notes, has an apple-forward taste with unique and strong lingering oak cask notes in the aftertaste. However, I found the Barrique a bit too sweet to my palate, but if you prefer sweet ciders then I’m sure you’d be satisfied with this Czech cider. Summarizing, a nice cider with an extraordinary palate from Cider Bohemia. Definitely worth trying. 4/6 

Availability: at many food and farmers markets across The Czech Republic. Online from their online shop or Opily Jabko (they ship abroad!).

Price: purchased through Opily Jabko at 45 CZK (1.80 EUR)

Highlights and The Top 10 Ciders of 2017

As we wrap up another year, it’s time to look back at some of the most memorable ciders reviewed in 2017. It so happens that also my first year of blogging comes to a close. So I thought I’ll share with you my thoughts on 2017 from a perspective of a Berlin-based cider blogger.

First of all, I’ve met many inspiring people who taught me many things about cider, opened my eyes to the challenges and issues related to cider making and distribution and sales of the finished product in Europe. Thank you for sharing so many interesting stories and your experience with me!

My second observation is that real/craft cider is always made by passionate people, who not always are skilled and talented as Tom Oliver or Eric Bordelet, but they all share true love to cider and cider making. Some cider makers have a great potential for development but their cider still requires some improvement. Sometimes their cider just needs more time…

In addition, it was fascinating to see how the taste of cider might change with every batch. For example, Polish cider Japko (see the review here) I have tried in 2016 tasted much better than this year’s batch.

Last but not least, I’m proud that I have managed to bring together cider lovers from many European countries. Countries not always having a deep-rooted history of cider making. But as it turns out, cider brings people together! This is why the information about closing InCider Bar in Prague at the end of 2017 hit me really hard. InCider Bar was a unique place in Europe and will be sorely missed. But life goes on and cider drinkers can still meet at cider-themed events such as Slavnost Cideru in Prague, where you can talk to other cider lovers sharing their passion for cider just like you do. Btw, next year you can meet me on January 26th at the Manchester Beer & Cider Festival 2018.

But let’s get to the point. In 2017 I’ve reviewed around 200 different ciders mainly from Europe, but also from Canada, the U.S. and New Zealand. Some of them were exceptional and I couldn’t get enough of them, some of them went down the sink drain. And trust me, it was a real challenge to select only 10 out of over 200 ciders I have sampled (incl. cider tastings, cider festivals and ciders tried in Canada). So after long discussions (with myself) I have put together the top ten best ciders I’ve tried in 2017. I’ve selected ciders that are still available so you can purchase them and make your own opinion about them. The ciders are in alphabetical order by cider maker. Cheers and a happy cider year 2018!

  • A.K. Cider, Limonka, Vizovice, the Czech Republic, made with Jadernicka moravska (Pépin de Moravie)

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I’ve tried a number of Czech ciders this year, mainly at Slavnost Cideru 2017, but Limonka crafted by Martin from A.K. Cider was one of the best. Limonka has a complex structure and each note is nicely balanced not dominating over another. Not entirely dry, but also not too acidic Limonka is just perfect for a larger audience. I loved it! For the full review click here.

 

  • Chyliczki, Cydr Lodowy 2015, Masovia Poland

17410099_10154996658845915_458951715_nMy first acquaintance with ice cider made by Polish Cydr Chyliczki Was at the cider tasting organised by Przemek Iwanek from Piwo i Cydr in Warsaw. I was instantly blown away by Chyliczki’s ice cider. The only cider so far that got 6 out of 6. High acidity beautifully balancing out the sweetness makes this cider drinkable for everyone. Plus the flavour of baked apples and spices. Fantastic! For the full review click here.

  • Divoke Jablko, Cidre Brut, Klatovy District in the Plzeň Region, Czech Republic

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The most frequently consumed cider at Slavnost Cideru 2017, at least by me. Lovely citrusy notes of blood orange, lemon and grapefruit with a hint of funk add complexity and make this cider very quaffable. A cider for everyone. For the full review click here.

 

 

  • Dorset Nectar, Old Harry Rocks, Dorset, UK,  a blend of Brown, Dabinett, Coate Jersey, Michelin, Tremletts Bitter, Taylor, Chesil Jersey, Sweet Coppin, Harry Master’s Jersey, Yarlington Mill and Porter’ Perfection

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Old Harry Rocks is like a jazz jam session, where each flavour would play it’s own music at the same time creating a wonderful, balanced, and unique piece. Lovely refreshing due to citrusy flavours and rustic to light funky notes. A masterpiece! For the full review click here.

 

 

  • Joachim Döhne, Apfelschaumwein Brut 2013 – Hesse, Germany – a cuvée of Boskoop, Jakob Lebel, Schöner von Herrenhut and Kaiser Wilhelm

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Both the palate and the nose of this Apfelschaumwein are intensely rich, with good structure and depth. Taste wise somewhere between French cidre, German Apfelwein and dry Champagne with a strong but balanced acidity. One of my favourites. For the full review click here.

 

 

  • Gutshof Kraatz, Wilde Kerle 2016 – Uckermark, Germany – a cuvée of apples growing in the wild

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Soft tannins, fruity apple forward palate along with exceptionally long and lingering aftertaste make this Apfelwin a clear finalist and one of my favourite ciders. Perfect for slowly sipping will pair well with any kind of food. For the full review click here.

 

 

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This is the only Irish cider that made it to the top ten. But Longueville House Cider tastes really sophisticated and exceptional at the same time. It’s beautifully balanced with lots of depth and rich flavours complementing each other. This cider will simply appeal to everyone. Not too sweet, not too dry, not too sour and not too funky. Pure heaven! For the full review click here.

 

 

  • Perry’s Cider, Grey Heron, Somerset, UK, a blend of Redstreak and Dabinett

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I guess that any cider produced at Perry’s would taste glorious. It was already difficult for me to choose between the Grey Heron and The Barn Owl, which I’ve sampled in 2017. In the end, I’ve chosen the Grey Heron cause I will never forget the first sip of this cider. Lovely complex, with intensive taste, strong tannins and multiple flavours. Sweet but yet very drinkable. Unforgettable. For the full review click here.

 

  • Ramborn Cider, Farmhouse, Luxembourg – a blend of Erbachhofer, Holzapfel and Wiesenapfel

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Perhaps there is only one cidery in Luxembourg but a cidery producing outstanding ciders from locally available apple varieties. Farmhouse made it to the top ten although their Avalon Vintage 2015 tasted also spectacular, yet is not as widely available as the Farmhouse. The Farmhouse is a perfect marriage of oaky whisky notes with a crisp red apple. With every taken sip I could hear the angels singing. For the full review click here.

 

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There are many producers of sidra in Asturias but only 1947 Sidra Natural from Viuda de Angelon tasted good enough to be mentioned here. Nicely balanced sidra with a spectacular palate. Dangerously drinkable, will make you empty the bottle in no time. For the full review click here.

Tátův Cider Polosuchý

One day Jan Abt and his family decided to leave Prague to live a simple and peaceful life,  away from the busy city. The family bought a farm with apple orchards, and settled in a small village Líšnice, 30 km south-west of Prague. In 2014 they launched Tátův Sad (Czech for Dad’s Orchard), which is a family business, where each family member is assigned to a different task. Dad takes care of the orchards and cider making, Mum covers the sales part, whereas Uncle is in charge of graphic design. Their current line-up features a dry, semi-dry and hopped version. Since they recently have planted new apple trees of English and French varieties, we can expect more ciders from Dad’s Orchard coming soon.
Company: 
Tátův Sad
Place of Origin: Líšnice, Středočeský Kraj, Czech Republic
Apples: apples from their own and neighbouring orchards
Sweetness as per label: semi-dry
ABV: 4.9%
Package type: draught
Recommended type of glass: pint glass

Appearance: pours a clear golden with a large froth, which only slowly reduces. Lightly carbonated. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is rather weak and has only crisp yellow apples. That’s all I can get here.

Taste: it starts slightly watery and slightly sweet with moderate lemon-like acidity. Followed by a smoky touch, a flavour of apple juice, delicate astringency and a light bitter taste towards the end.

Overall: I could swear there is King of the Pippins in the mix, as this apple variety gives a quite characteristic bitter flavour. Anyway, Polosuchy is based on an English dry style of cider. It’s an easy drinking pretty complex drop, which will appeal to a larger audience. There could be more aroma on the nose, but it tasted quite ok. I wouldn’t mind having it again. 3.5/6 

Availability: in many bars and restaurants in the Czech Republic. From Kralupská pivotéka U Chameleona in Kralupy nad Vltavou. Online available from Dobry Cider, Opily Jabko. Delikatesy online, Beershop.cz, Cauvino or in the Netherlands from CiderLab.

Price: had it at InCider Bar at 55 CZK (2.1 EUR) a pint. InCider Bar will sadly close at the end of the year.

8 Sparkling Ciders for New Year‘s Eve

Last year I chose to celebrate New Year’s Eve with cider instead of champagne or sparkling white wine. It turned out to be a splendid idea as I didn’t have to force myself to drink a super dry champagne though I still had the pop. If champagne is not your drink of choice, as it is in my case, I am encouraging you to raise a glass of cider instead on New Year’s Eve. To help you with it I have selected the most amazing and delicious sparkling ciders out of those reviewed over the entire 2017.

I have tried many ciders suitable for this occasion, but I have compiled only 8 of picks that you pop open a bottle. It’s New Year’s Eve after all. You’d be surprised that not all of them are French.

Each cider is listed first by cidermaker, then by label name & year if applicable, region & country, and apple variety if known. 

Joachim Döhne, Apfelschaumwein Brut 2013 – Hesse, Germany – a cuvée of Boskoop, Jakob img_6525-1Lebel, Schöner von Herrenhut and Kaiser Wilhelm

Both the palate and the nose of this Apfelschaumwein are intensely rich, with good structure and depth. Taste wise somewhere between French cidre, German Apfelwein and dry Champagne with a strong but balanced acidity. One of my favourites. For the full review click here.

 

 

Dupont, Organic Cidre Bouche Brut de Normandie 2011 – Normandy, ‘France – a cuvée of 13 varietiesCidre Bouche Organic Dupont

Out of the better-known French cidre names, Dupont will provide complex richness with beautiful appley taste accompanied by citrus and funky notes. The most complex and extraordinary French cidre I have ever tried. Bouche is an elegant, light and smooth cidre for those having a sweet tooth.  For the full review click here.

 

 

West Milton, Lancombe Rising – Dorset, UK – a cuvée of Dabinett, Yarlington Mill and Chisel Jerseyimg_7574-2

One of the few UK’s producers of keeved cider, West Milton created Lancombe Rising, a cider with an extraordinary and extremely rich palate of dried fruits, red apple and light citrus flavours with the right level of sweetness. Suitable for all palates. For the full review click here.

 

 

Guzman Riestra, Sidra Brut Nature – Asturias, Spain

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Made using the Champagne Method, Sidra Brut Nature from Guzman Riestra has an exceptionally sophisticated and balanced palate full of refreshing citrus fruits and ripe apples. Every sip reveals a new taste and is like an in-depth exploration of many layers of flavours. Dry with some residual sweetness will appeal to larger audiences. For the full review click here.

 

 

Eric Bordelet, Sidre Brut Tendre 2014 – Normandy, France

img_8429Eric Bordelet’s Brut is a classic among cider lovers. Wonderfully expressing cidre with an exceptional and extremely long finish full of baking spices that linger on and on. This cidre is not too sweet but still, it tastes almost like an ice cider or dessert wine. It has a nice level of acidity to it balancing the sweetness. One of a kind. For the full review click here.

 

 

 

Mayador, Produccion Limitada Cosecha 2014 – Asturias, Spain

img_6670This bright and apple-forward sidra is a delicious example of a sidra that can be enjoyed not only by local Asturians but also by cider lovers from other regions of the world. You’ll find aromas of citruses and herbal notes, crisp acetic-acidity, and tannins on the palate. Every bottle has its own number so you know that you are drinking something special. For the full review click here.

 

 

Kliment, Demi Sec 2014 – Central Bohemia, Czech Republic

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A remarkable sparkling cider from the Czech Republic. Rich, mouth-filling and relatively high in residual sugar, with notes of baked apples, this cider is perfect for those who prefer their ciders on the sweet side. For the full review click here.

 

 

 

Kerné, Cidre Le Kerné – Brittany, France

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I like this cidre for its elegance and rustic character without intense funk, in contrast to many French ciders that are quite sweet, and because it has complex notes of dried fruits, baked apples with nice appley flavour. For the full review click here.