El Gaitero Red Grape

El Gaitero, one of the largest sidra producers in Asturias released a while ago a very interesting tipple. It’s an Asturian sidra blended with the Spanish tempranillo juice. It picked up Silver at CiderWorld 2019 in Frankfurt in the category Cider, still, flavoured and mixed.Company: Grupo El Gaitero
Place of Origin: La Espuncia, Villaviciosa, Asturia, Spain
Apples: a blend of Asturian apple varieties with Tempranillo juice
ABV: 4%
Package type: 750ml champagne corked and wired bottle
Recommended type of glass: wine glass, chalice glass or flute 

Appearance: pours a clear, ruby red with a big white foam that quickly dissipates. Carbonation is medium. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong, acidic of red berries, redcurrant, Brettanomyces with a hint of vinegar and butter.

Taste: it starts moderately sweet with medium acidity of lemon. Lingering smokiness, lemon, sour cherry jam. Hints of funky Brettanomyces. sour cherry jam, moderate astringency of wine. gentle tannins.

Overall: At first glance, you get an impression that you are drinking a sparkling and astringent grape juice. But then, you get interestingly farmhouse notes of Brettanomyces that make you uncertain what are you actually drinking. Its taste is interesting but the juice is too dominating so the only thing I can taste coming from sidra is funky Bretts. I couldn’t get any notes of apples. Also, it’s a bit too sweet to my liking so I couldn’t drink much of it. So the El Gaitero Red Grape is more like a wine hybrid than cider to me. Worth trying. 3.5/6

Availability: in the UK from Beers of Europe, Fetch the Drinks. In Denmark from La Tienda CPH. In Ukraine from Rozetka. In Finland from EL Mercado and Viniikartta. In Lithuania from Sidronamai. In Russia from Pivoluchshe.

Price: Monica passed me a sample at CiderWorld 2019 in Frankfurt.

El Gaitero Sidra Pomarina Brut

Pomarina is one of the sidras belonging to the portfolio of Grupo El Gaitero from Villaviciosa, Asturia, Spain. This particular sidra is made by the Cardin family with five different apple varieties De la Riega, Raxao, Verdialona, Regona and Durona de Tresali grown in their 45ha farm in Villaviciosa, Asturias. Pomarina is fermented at low temperatures and subsequently aged on its lees. After two months, Pomarina is moved to a pressured tanks for secondary fermentation and in the next step bottled. 

Pomarina often picks up award from worldwide cider competitions. Only recently, from International Cider Challange 2019.Company: Grupo El Gaitero
Place of Origin: La Espuncia, Villaviciosa, Asturia, Spain
Apples: a blend of  5 apple varieties De la Riega, Raxao, Verdialona, Regona and Durona de Tresali
ABV: 7%
Package type: 750ml champagne corked and wired bottle
Recommended type of glass: wine glass, chalice glass or flute 

Appearance: pours a clear, pale golden with a big white foam that very quickly dissipates. Carbonation is high with small nice bubbles and seems to be natural.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong with notes of vinegar, white wine, champagne, apple stems, distant grapefruit and herbs/vermouth incl. notes of rosemary and peppermint.

Taste: it begins dry with high acidity of lemon and vinegar. Smokiness, lemon, the bitterness of grapefruit pith, peppermint, a hint of elderflower. Finishes with a note of peppermint and grapefruit or blood orange. Notes of funk in the aftertaste.

Overall: If I had to describe the taste of this sidra in one sentence, I would say that it tastes like a combination of champagne with lovely notes typical for sidra from Asturias. The scent is lovely and with every sniff, I’m able to discover and identify more notes. In terms of taste, it’s dry and has gorgeous citrusy notes along with peppermint that make it taste very refreshing. A great option for a hot summer day. No surprise it picked up so many awards. But if you don’t like notes of vinegar, this might not be the right choice for your palate. Pomarina would go great with any seafood and fish. I’d love to drink it again. 5/6

Availability: almost every market in Asturias, Spain. As for other European countries check supermarkets selling products from Mediterranean countries.

Price: Monica passed me a sample at CiderWorld 2019 in Frankfurt.

Bereziartua Sidra Bere

I haven’t reviewed any sidra or sagardoa from Spain in a while. Time to change it! Sidra Bere is another sagardo or sagardoa (description for sidra in the Basque Country) from Sidras Bereziartua Sagardoak that I have a pleasure to review. The Bereziartua Sidra Bere is a blend of Basque apple varieties such as Txalaka, Urtebia, Judeline, Judo. Previously, I have sampled their Sidra Natural.Company: Sidras Bereziartua Sagardoak
Place of Origin: Astigarraga, Basque Country, Spain
Apples: a blend of Txalaka, Urtebia, Judeline, Judo
ABV: 6.0%
Package type: 330ml green glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a hazy orange with no head. No carbonation. Body is medium. Sediment in the bottle.

Aroma/Nose: the nose does not explode out of the glass. It smells sour of lemon and vinegar. Also, notes of nail polish remover, funk, brown sugar, grapefruit flesh, grapefruit skin and fermented apples. 

Taste: it begins dry with no residual sweetness and medium to high vinegary like-acidity and a strong flavour of lemon juice. The mid-palate has notes of fermented apples, nail polish, remover and lemon with a light astringency. The finish is dry with notes of lemon, grapefruit-like bitterness and low lingering astringency.

Overall: If you don’t mind notes of vinegar and nail polish remover, I’m sure you’re gonna love it. Sidra Bere is a full-bodied and refreshing sagardoa with a good structure, depth and good length. Only the nose could be slightly stronger. Anyway, I can imagine Sidra Bere would taste delicious on a hot summer day and would go excellent with food. Definitely worth a purchase. 4.5/6

Availability: from their online shop or through Grau Online, In the Czech Republic from Dobry Cider.

Price: Mikel passed me a bottle at CiderWorld2019 in Frankfurt.

 

Fuente Guijarro Sidra del Sur Ancestral 2015

Who said that sidra can be made only in the North of Spain, in either the Basque Country or Asturias? Exactly, nobody. Manuel and Sara from Sidra del Sur make their sidra in the Cortijo Fuente Guijarro, which is located 2000 meters above sea level in the Sierra Nevada Natural Park in Andalucia, in the South of Spain. For their sidra, they use old apple varieties with a more acidic profile. Interestingly, to pick apples they use a mule since the paths are not accessible with regular vehicles. Also, their sidra production is organic without any interventions. I’ve discovered their sidra when I was wandering the streets of Neukölln, Berlin and saw a board saying ‘we have sidra’. I just couldn’t resist the temptation to sample it.   img_0030Company: Sidra del Sur Fuente Guijarro
Place of Origin: Yegen, Granada, Andalucia, Spain
Apples: organic old apple varieties grown in the Cortijo Fuente Guijarro 
Sweetness as per label: dry
Alc: 7%
Package type: 750 ml green glass champagne corked bottle
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass

Appearance: pours a lightly cloudy pale straw with a greenish hue and no head. No carbonation. Low to medium body.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is lightly sweetish and dry at the same time with notes of sulphur, fresh green grass, young cider, vinegar and fresh apples.

Taste: it starts dry and spicy with a low to medium acidity of vinegar, Sauerkraut and lemon. On the mid-palate a watery taste, nail polish, lemon, grapefruit with green herbal undertones. It finishes dry and lightly salty with a note of olive brine and a touch of astringency and alcohol.

Overall: the Ancestral 2015 is rich with features of naturally fermented cider. Also, it was refreshing and had a long-lasting taste. For the fans of Spanish sidra, this particular sidra will be a real find. It’s an interesting cross between sidra and other European ciders. What I found disturbing is the persistent sulphur note on the nose and a light flavour of alcohol on the palate. I’m not sure whether I would buy it again to drink on its own but I could have it again with some tapas. 3.5/6

Availability: in Belgium from Altrovino. In Berlin in Naturales Weinbar.

Price: bought locally in Berlin in Naturales Weinbar at 4.5 EUR.

Kupela Sagardoa

Kupela is a relatively young company established only in 2015 in the French Basque Country. In reaction to the growing cider market in France, the founders Xalbat and Bastien have decided to release their own cider made from traditional Basque apples. Theis cider brand is supposed to reflect their love of the traditional beverage from the Basque Country in the South. With their product range, Xalbat and Bastien wish to make cider also more popular in the northern part of the Basque Country. Today I give you their Sagardoa.Company: Kupela
Place of Origin: Anglet, French Basque Country, France
Apples: traditional Basque apples such as Manttoni, Patzuola, Urtebi Ttiki and Urtebi Handi
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 6%
Package type: 750ml green glass bottle with cork
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass, snifter or chalice glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy pale yellow with no foam. No carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is dry and salty with notes of green olive brine, the old good vinegar, lemon, yellow apples and herbal notes. Moderately strong aroma.

Taste: it begins dry with low to medium acidity of vinegar and lemon.  A watery note with pomelo, some smokiness, yellow apple, low astringent taste, on the palate. Finishes dry with a hint of grapefruit and a light note of sauerkraut

Overall: at a blind cider tasting I would guess this is a classical sagardoa from the Basque country. It tastes dry, has notes of vinegar and olive brine, which are typical features for cider made in this region. Sagardoa created by Kupela tastes much better and has much more depth than the commercial La Sidra de San Sebastian. It could taste a bit less watery though. I’m sure it would pair well with savoury dishes such as tapas or pintxos. But I sampled it while I watched a soccer match and it tasted perfectly fine and very refreshing on its own. 4/6

Availability: online in France from Acheter Au Pays-Basque.

Price: Kupela Sagardoa was a sample provided by Estitxu from Kupela.

Maeloc Sidra Extra Ecológica

Maeloc Sidra Extra Ecológica was one of the four Spanish sidras that were available from Carrefour Express located at the famous La Rambla in Barcelona. I’ve already tried the Etiqueta Blanca from El Gateiro and wasn’t in the mood for Pear Cider from The Good Cider so I didn’t have much choice left. This is how I ended with a bottle of the Sidra Extra Ecológica from Maeloc, an organic cider brand from Galicia, Spain. Interestingly, it won a Gold Medal at the International Cider Challange 2014.Company: Maeloc Way
Place of Origin: A Coruña, Galicia, Spain
Apples: organic Galician apples
Sweetness as per label: doesn’t say
Alc: 4.1%
Package type: 750 ml green glass champagne corked bottle
Recommended type of glass: flute

Appearance: pours a clear pale golden with a large white head, which quickly dissipates. High and unlikely natural carbonation. Low to medium body.

Aroma/Nose: it has almost no aroma. Only faint notes of yellow apples and still fermenting apples.

Taste: it starts medium sweet with low acidity. On the mid-palate ripe yellow apples, hints of lemon and orange with a touch of astringency. And, that would be it.

Overall: as expected, Sidra Extra Ecológica from Maeloc turned out to be a fizzy soft-drink tasting like a quite sweet version of an effervescent multivitamin with orange flavour and a touch of astringency. I thought it was below average and didn’t pair well with the tapas I  purchased at the Mercat de la Boqueria (famous food market in Barcelona). Just a waste of time and money. How could it pick up an award??? 2/6

Availability: seems to be available in many supermarkets across Europe.

Price: bought locally in Careffour Express in Barcelona at 2.75 EUR.

Trabanco Sidra Natural

What to drink when you’re on a trip and you need a break after a long day of sight-seeing in Barcelona? If you’re a cider fan, you have to look for ‘sidra’. But, if you’re in Barcelona, you have to search for bars and restaurants with Asturian cuisine as other bars most probably won’t have real cider on offer. This is how I discovered El Furacu, a traditional Asturian restaurant in the famous neighbourhood of EixampleThis is where I was served my first ever sidra properly poured from a height. It happened to be Trabanco’s Sidra Natural, which is aged in chestnut barrels.Company: Sidra Trabanco
Place of Origin: Gijón, Asturias, Spain
Apples: a blend of bitter and sharp apple varieties
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 6%
Package type: ca. 100ml in an authentic sidra glass
Recommended type of glass: any glass

Appearance: pours a cloudy pale orange. No carbonation. Body is low to medium.

Aroma/Nose: on the nose is notes of ripe apples, lemon, orange and good old vinegar.

Taste: it starts dry with low residual sweetness and medium acidity of lemon and vinegar. On the mid-palate ripe yellow apples, fresh orange, grapefruit juice, a touch of grapefruit-like bitterness, a light astringent note and a yeasty taste. The finish is dry and herbal with a light watery taste and a light sauerkraut note,

Overall: after a long and tiring day of wandering the streets of beautiful Barcelona, Trabanco’s Sidra Natural tasted moreish and very refreshing. It had a lovely taste of orange and lemon with just a touch of acetic note. It clearly underwent malolactic fermentation as I could sense a distant note of Sauerkraut, meaning that lactic acid bacteria were at work. Anyway, sidra natural is in general not a cider for everyone but if you’re into Asturian sidra then trying Trabanco’s Sidra Natural is a must. I’m already dreaming of having another ‘copa’ (glass) or even ‘botella’ (bottle) of this offering. 4.5/6

Availability: very broad in Spain. Through Enobohemia, Quesosaquillino, Productos de Asturias, Despensa de AsturiasSidra y Sidras, El Corte InglesLa Tienda de la Sidra and many others. In Germany from Casa Molina.

Price: paid 1.75 EUR a glass at El Furacu, a traditional Asturian restaurant in Barcelona.