Axminster Craft Cider Dabinett & Sweet Coppin 2019

To Nick of Axminster Craft Cider, it all started as a hobby. In the village he lived in, there was a very old cider apple tree that Nick used for his cider. In the same village, he found an apple orchard with cider apple trees planted in the 1970s. After a while, Nick moved to a farm with a cider house and started making cider commercially. This year, he made 5000 litres. This is my first time trying anything from Axminster Craft Cider.Company: Axminster Craft Cider 
Place of Origin: Axminster, Devon, UK
Apples: a blend of Dabinett and Sweet Coppin
Sweetness as per label: medium dry
ABV: 6.5%
Package type: 500 ml clear glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear deep amber with a dark orange hue and a small head that slowly reduces to a ring. Low to medium carbonation. Body is low to medium too.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong with notes of caramel, baked apples, apple skin but also tart apples, bittersweet apples with a hint of wood and resin.

Taste: my first impression is lightly sweet with low acidity of lemon. Smokiness, baked apples, overripe apples, low bitterness, caramel, sweetener. Finishes dry and a bit watery and a trace of lingering caramel-like bitterness, medium astringency and some sweetener-like sweetness to it and a note of dark chocolate.

Overall: the aroma is absolutely brilliant! It combines the best and most delicious features of an English cider and French cidre. The nose is clean without off-notes but yet you can tell that it is made with proper cider apples. It took me literally 5 minutes before I moved on to take the first sip. On the palate, you get practically the same fabulous notes as on the nose. Also, the Axminster Craft Cider has an incredibly long taste that seems to never end. All these flavours of caramel, overripe apples and baked apples with a touch of bitterness literally dance in your mouth. It’s like a seductive tango of your taste buds. Drink this cider after a hard day at work to celebrate the evening. Pure heaven! I definitely would drink more. Scrattings, can you please start listing Axminster Cider? 5.5/6  

Availability: directly from Axminster Cider Co or online from Slurp.

Price: Nick provided me with a sample. 

Crest Cyder Dabinett

The Crest Cyder Dabinett is a single-variety cider made with apples grown in a 4-acre orchard located in North Curry, Somerset. Michael takes care himself of the maintenance and pruning of all apple trees grown in his orchard. Previously, I tried their TraditionalCompany: Crest Cyder Company Ltd
Place of Origin: Eaton Crescent, Somerset, UK
Apples: Dabinett
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 
6%
Package type: 
500ml clear glass with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: 
wine glass

Appearance: pours very cloudy amber with an orange hue and no head. No carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the aroma is moderately strong and tannic with notes of caramel, oak, orange and low sulphur.

Taste: it starts with low sweetness of caramel and low acidity of orange. On the mid-palate a bit watery taste, smokiness, moderate to high astringency, vanilla, bittersweet and red apples and a bit nutty flavour to it. The finish is moderately long, lightly flowery and herbal with low bitterness and a faint but still spicy taste of alcohol.

Overall: Like most cider makers, Michael has his own cidermaking style that you can easily recognise. Also, his Dabinett has lovely notes of orange blossom combined with medicinal notes along with flavours of caramel and vanilla. In addition, Dabinett leaves a pleasant tingling on the tongue caused by alcohol. The Crest Cyder Dabinett is rich though still a bit too watery. The finish is quite long but could be a bit longer. Anyway, it is an easy drinking offering that will pair great with food. But if you drink it it’s own you might get a feeling that something is missing. 3.5/5

Availability: online through Scrattings. in the UK and in many European countries.

Price: a sample was provided by Michael and Carol from Crest Cyder. 

Harry’s Dabinett

Low apple prices might have inspired farmers in Eastern Europe to make cider. But, in the UK it was the decreasing milk price that made Harry Fry, ex-dairy farmer from Somerset to produce cider. The fruits were already on the farm as Harry’s father has planted an apple orchard in the 1970’s, from which he supplied another cider company from Somerset. Today Harry and his son Toby produce ciders that have won many awards including medals from the Taste of the West Awards, the British Cider Championships and the International Cider Challenge. I’m giving the single varietal Dabinett a try.Company: Harrys Cider Company
Place of Origin: Long Sutton, Somerset, UK
Apples: Dabinett
Sweetness as per label: medium
ABV: 4.5%
Package type: 500ml clear glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, chalice glass or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a lightly cloudy amber with orange and light reddish hues. White head created while pouring reduces slowly foam. Lightly sparkling. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: on the nose notes of a crisp, fresh and juicy red apple and freshly pressed apple juice. Distant wood, caramel and apricot scent.

Taste: the first sip has a light to medium sweetness and a very low watery taste. Subsequently, you get a strong tannic kick, which is mouth puckering and moderately bitter at the same time. The mid-palate has a gentle smoky note with a red juicy apple, apple skins and distant wood. Surprisingly, the acidity appears only towards the end along with a gentle pleasant bitterness and lingering fruity red apple taste.

Overall: Harry’s Dabinett is a light, but still delicious and well-balanced cider with a clean fruity/appley taste. It goes down easily. Even too easily, I would say. My friend, who I shared the bottle of the Dabinett with, said that she could see herself purchasing the whole box of the Dabinett as advertised on the label. But instead of throwing a party she would keep the box for her own use. From my side, I can say that Harry’s Dabinett is indeed one of the best single-varietal ciders made from Dabinett I had. Also, I think it is a good drop if you want to start your journey with real cider as it should simply appeal to anyone. 4.5/6 

Availability: in the UK from their online shop, Beers by post, Dike & Son, in the Netherlands from Ciderlab.

Price: purchased online from Ciderlab at 4.25 EUR

Apple County Cider Co Dabinett 2015

Apple County Cider Co is a relatively young cider company, established only in 2014 at Whitehouse Farm, near Skenfrith in Monmouthshire, Wales, very close to the English/Welsh border. The company might be young, but not the apple cider orchards, which were planted in 1969 by Ben Culpin’s stepfather. Today Ben, together with his wife Steph, runs a successful family business and produce award-winning ciders, including International Cider Challenge medals (Bronze, Silver and Gold) for flavour and branding and a prestigious Great Taste Awards “Golden Fork” for overall best food and drink product from across Wales
Company: Apple County Cider Co
Place of Origin: Monmouthshire, Wales, UK
Apples: made from a single variety Dabinett
Sweetness as per label: medium
ABV: 6.5%
Package type: 500ml clear glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber with orange hues and no head. Lightly carbonated. The body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: it smells of fermented red apples with caramel and cinnamon. A hint of alcohol is perceivable.

Taste: It starts medium sweet with low acidity and a hint of smoky ham. On the mid-palate notes of cinnamon and some spices with red apples, apple skins. The finish is dry and moderately astringent with a light touch of bitterness to the end. Alcohol is slightly perceivable giving one the warming effect.

Overall: You can easily say without even looking at the label that high-quality bittersweet apples were used for this cider. Apple Cider Co’s Dabinett reminds me slightly of another Welsh cider, the Black Dragon from Gwynt y Ddraig. However, the Dabinett has much better structure and a pleasant aftertaste. Perhaps a tiny bit too sweet for my liking, but I honestly think that it is a great pour and would appeal to practically everyone. However, due to the warming effect coming from the alcohol I think it can be considered a very good option for winter evenings. Eventually for a cold summer evening. Anyway, Apple County Cider Co’s Dabinett is definitely worth a purchase! 4.5/6 

Availability: haven’t come across a shop outside the UK selling their cider. So the UK only, on the farm and from the online shop or This is Beer.co.uk.

Price: came with my craft cider subscription from Orchard Box

Sheppy’s Dabinett

Sheppy’s Cider is another family business, which started in Somerset over 200 years ago. Initially, their focus was on beef and dairy, less on apples and cider. However, when the Sheppy’s moved to Three Bridges in 1917 cider making became their core business. Today Sheppy’s Cider is successfully run by David Sheppy, the sixth-generation owner.Company: Sheppy’s Cider Ltd
Place of Origin:
Three Bridges, Bradford-on-Tone, Taunton, Somerset, UK
Apples:
 Dabinett
Sweetness as per label: 
medium 
ABV:
 7.2%
Package type:
500ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass:
pint glass, snifter or white wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear golden/ pale amber with no head. Lightly sparkling. The body is light.

Aroma/Nose: smells of sweet and sharp red apples with notes of caramel and wood. Pleasant.

Taste: surprisingly, it starts bitter with low acidity and perceivable strong taste of alcohol. Subsequently, flavours of wood with red apple skins, tart apples, cinnamon, caramel and butter appear. The aftertaste is dry with lingering bitter taste and a distant note of almond. The bitter taste gets milder after a while.

Overall: Dabinett is a typical cider apple, which is rich in tannins and low in acid. And, you can clearly taste tannins in Sheppy’s Dabinett, as they are responsible for the taste of wood and bitter notes in this cider. Sheppy’s Dabinett has a rich taste, but to me tastes rather unbalanced. It would have been a great cider if not the bitter taste overpowering the taste of this cider and not well-hidden alcohol. However, I must say that flavours of cinnamon and caramel make the Dabinett a great winter cider. Also, in the winter you can benefit from the warming effect of alcohol. I would buy it again since it’s available in a nearby supermarket, but I would drink it rather in the winter time and only slightly chilled. 4/6 

Availability: widely available in supermarkets such as Waitrose, Booths, Sainsbury’s in the UK. At Waitrose, online from eebriaDike and Son,  Beers of Europe or Beer Ritz. In Germany locally at Getränke Hoffman or online through CiderhofBannekeGourVino or  Drinks of the World. In Copenhagen from Holm.

Price: purchased locally in Berlin from Getränke Hoffman at 3.35 EUR. FYI, Getränke Hoffman has recently added new cider/apfelwein/cidre to their selection!