It may have come to your attention that prosecco is still an extremely popular beverage in the UK. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that Oldfields Orchard from Worcestershire has decided to take advantage of the ongoing prosecco boom and released in 2016 an ‘applesecco’, an apple version of prosecco. Oldfields Appplesecco is made entirely from Discovery, a dessert apple variety discovered in late 1940’s in Langham, Essex and is sold in stylish bottles imported from Italy. This is my 2nd cider from Oldfields after their Medium Dry. Company: Oldfields Cider, Lambswick Drinks Company c/o Hobsons Brewery
Place of Origin: Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, UK
Apples: single varietal from Discovery apples
Sweetness as per label: dry
Package type: 750ml green glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: flute or white wine glass
Appearance: pours a clear golden with a quickly dissipating white head. Medium artificial carbonation. Body is low to medium.
Aroma/Nose: it smells fruity and slightly sweet of freshly cut ripe dessert red apples, light honey and a hint of green apples.
Taste: it begins medium dry with low acidity. The taste gets a bit watery with a note of dessert apples, fresh apples, red apples, red berries, caramel and a hint of bitterness and a light astringent taste. It finishes dry with a hint of green apples.
Overall: the flavour of freshly cut red apples on the nose is absolutely phenomenal. Taste wise you can tell that the Applesecco was made from dessert apples, but nevertheless, it tastes fruity, complex, apple forward and delicious. Really gorgeous! However, the longer you drink it, the less you want to take another sip. Although both the aroma and taste are brilliant, you get bored with them very quickly and suddenly you realise that this beautiful bottle is too much even for two. I can imagine a glass of it would be a refreshing alternative on a hot summer day. But just a glass of it. 4/6
Availability: in the UK from Specialty Drinks Limited, Moonshine and Fuggles, Shropshireowns, Crumpton Hill Farmshop or Hop Pocket Wine Company. In Germany from Britische-Biere.
Price: bought online from Britische Biere at 6.99 EUR.
George Perry, managing director at Perry’s Cider from Somerset, UK is one of the entrepreneurs who doesn’t see Brexit as something that will help the business grow. The production cost will most probably increase and sales will go down. I hope that after Brexit I will still be able to get a decent cider from the UK at a reasonable price. Let’s see what the future brings. Next cider from Perry’s lineup is the Puffin. Company: Perry’s Cider
Place of Origin: The Cider Mills, Dowlish Wake, Somerset, UK
Apples: unknown varieties
Package type: 500ml brown glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass, chalice glass or snifter
Appearance: pours a lightly hazy pale amber with a light orange hue with a huge short-lived white head. Medium to high carbonation. Body is low.
Aroma/Nose: it smells dry of fermented apples, orange, red apples with hints of funk, beeswax and leather.
Taste: my first taste is bone dry with the moderate to high acidity of lemon. Strong astringent taste, a light watery note with grapefruit, a light smoky note and lemon. It finishes dry with a light bitter taste and light grapefruit. The finish is rather short.
Overall: this is not going to be one of my favourite ciders. It’s a complex, balanced cider with typical flavours for a cider made with cider apples. The finish could be a bit longer cause the flavours don’t linger on. Personally, I found it too dry (it actually happens sometimes) and a bit too acidic. But I think it’s good that Perry’s try to have a cider that can be suitable for every palate. Although, as mentioned earlier, I don’t think that the Puffin will find a very broad audience. But those who like bone-dry cider with quite a high acidity will gonna love it. I would buy it again, but it wouldn’t be my first choice. 4/6
Availability: from their online shop, Scrattings, Bristol Cider Shop, Fetch the Drinks, Brewers Droop, Beers by Post. In Denmark online from Klosterbryggeriet and in Germany from Ciderhof.
Price: purchased from Scrattings at 2.5 GBP (2.83 EUR)
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 Traditional. Company: Crest Cyder Company Ltd
Place of Origin: Eaton Crescent, Somerset, UK
Sweetness as per label: dry
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.
Speckbirne is a perry pear variety that comes most probably from Kärnten, Austria. It has been widely cultivated in Austria since 1888 when it was presented for the first time at the agricultural show in Vienna. Its name actually means ‘bacon pear’ and is due to the extraordinary shiny skin of this pear variety. Speckbirne basically looks as if it was smeared with bacon grease. As for the tannin content, it’s not rich in tannins although it has a light astringent taste when you bite into it.
Many Birnenmost producers of Austria use this perry pear in their blend but also as single-varietals Birnenmost. Today I give you the Distelberger Speckbirne.Company: Distelberger Genuss-Bauernhof
Place of Origin: Amstetten, Lower Austria, Austria
Sweetness as per label: trocken (dry)
Package type:1000 ml clear bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass
Appearance: pours a clear pale straw yellow with no head. No carbonation. Body is medium.
Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong. Smokiness, vanilla, fresh pear and low caramel. Hints of fresh yellow apple and of alcohol.
Taste: it starts lightly sweet of sugar with low acidity of lemon. Further down, low bitterness, low caramel, a taste of alcohol. Finishes with notes of higher alcohols and low plain bitterness with herbals.
Overall: My first impression of the Distelberger Speckbirne 2018 was actually quite good as I picked up a great, rich and interesting fruity scents with a lovely vanilla note in the background. Taste-wise, surprisingly I didn’t get much on the palate and the overall impression was rather disappointing. I thought it tasted too sweet with almost no existing acidity. I know, until now it doesn’t sound bad at all and is related to my personal preferences. But there was a herbal note on the palate that I didn’t find tasty. Not to mention the aftertaste, which was rather nasty, chemical and reminded me of higher alcohols mixed with plain bitter notes. Indeed, the taste started to improve with the rise of the temperature as the flavour of caramel was more pronounced. But it still wasn’t fun to drink. Exceptional nose stopped me from giving it a lower score. Please don’t hate me, Toni. 3/6
Availability: directly from their shop.
Price: Speckbirne 2018 was a sample provided by Toni from Mostbarone.
Can you imagine? Anton and his team from DaDa Cider drove all the way from Moscow to Frankfurt to attend CiderWorld 2019 in Frankfurt as an exhibitor. I checked the distance with Google Maps and guess what, it’s nearly 2400km! It clearly shows that guys from DadaCider have a lot of dedication to cider. Unbelievable!Company: DaDaCider
Place of Origin: Moscow, Russia
Apples: a blend of Russian apple varieties
Sweetness as per label: dry
Package type: 500 ml green glass bottle with screw cap
Recommended type of glass: snifter or wine glass
Appearance: pours a very cloudy pale orange with a white and quickly dissipating head. Low carbonation. Body is low to medium. Sediment in the bottom.
Aroma/Nose: Moderately strong and sweetish. Freshly pressed apple juice of red apples. Apple stem, white wine, a distant herbal note.
Taste: my first taste is bone dry with a moderate to high acidity of sour apple and lemon. A bit watery, yeasty, flowery, notes with low astringency. Finishes dry with a distant bitter note and flavours of lemon, yellow apples, flowers and note of higher alcohols.
Overall: The DaDa Cider Dry has a long taste and an interesting array of flavours and nice refreshing acidity. I enjoyed the flowery notes that appeared in the mid-palate and in the aftertaste. Speaking of aftertaste, it’s long and fruity. But the DaDa cider Dry reminds me too much of an apple juice, especially on the nose. And, the yeasty taste covers other flavours that might be on the palate. Also, I think it was made from pasteurised juice judging by its cloudiness. Anyway, it’s a nice and natural-tasting product that will go well with seafood and fish but also on its own on a warm summer day. But it could be better. 3.5/6
Availability: widely available in Moscow. Online from Pivoluchshe.
Price: Anton passed me a bottle at CiderWorld 2019 in Frankfurt.
The story of Pica Pica Cider is a tragic example of how big companies can take advantage of their power and destroy small businesses. Pica Pica Cider was previously released in Germany as Apfeldieb Satter Apfel
which I reviewed back in 2017. ‘Apfeldieb’ means ‘apple thief’ in German and the product name, unfortunately, is very similar to the name of alco-pop produced by Heineken, Apfel-Räuber (German for apple bandit). Despite the fact that Apfeldieb was launched much earlier than Apfel Räuber, Heineken reached out to Phillip and Michael and gave them a choice to either drop the name or Heineken will sue them.
Fortunately, Phillip and Michael are back with a new name, Pica Pica Cider. Pica Pica is a Latin name for magpie, a bird with a reputation of stealing shiny objects.
However, Pica Pica Cider Apfel is not exactly the same cider as their previous Apfeldieb Satter Apfel as the blend was slightly improved. Pica Pica Cider Apfel won first place at SISGA 2018 in the category dry cider and Silver at CiderWorld 2019 in the category still cider.
Company: Pica Pica
Place of Origin: Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Apples: a blend of Rheinischer Winterrambour, Belle de Boskoop, Roter Bellefleur, Blaucher Wädenswill, Roter Trierer Weinapfel, Gewürzluiken, Erbachhofer Weinapfel and others.
Sweetness as per label: dry
Package type: 275 ml clear glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: white wine glass or pint glass
Appearance: pours a clear golden with a quickly dissipating white head. Low to medium carbonation. Body is low to medium.
Aroma/Nose: moderately strong scent with notes of lemon, oak, yellow apples, caramel and a distant note of cinnamon. With a hint of gooseberries and white wine.
Taste: my first taste is lightly sweet of caramel with low acidity of lemon. Low bitterness of burnt caramel, smokiness, toffee, low alcohol, yellow apples, low astringency. Finishes dry with a touch of lemon and low but lingering burnt caramel-like bitterness.
Overall: until now I have sampled only two ciders that had an extremely longlasting taste, Avalon Vintage 2015 from Ramborn and Wilde Kerle 2016 from Gutshof Kraatz. Pica Pica Cider Apfel is the third cider with a striking, long finish. Pica Pica cider Apfel stands out not only because of the longlasting finish but also cause it’s a perfectly balanced marriage of English-style cider and flavours typical for old German apple varieties. Delicious and intensive notes of caramel and lightly burnt caramel remind me of English cider, whereas a flavour of yellow apples and low acidity of lemon but still higher than in a typical English cider round up the taste and create wonderful and easy drinking yet extremely delicious cider. What more can I say? I hope it will be available soon in my local shop. 5.5/6
Availability: only in Germany for now. Online from Ciderei. Check Pica Pica Cider facebook for updates.
Price: product sample was sent to me by Phillipp from Pica Pica Cider for testing.
Last year in April, Tomasz from Cydr Ignaców passed me a bottle of his Czarny Ignac 2015. In October 2018, when I met up with Tomasz again, I received a bottle of the 2017 vintage. It’s actually the first time when I can compare two vintages of the same cider. Well, perhaps not at the same time but still.Company: Cydr Ignaców
Place of Origin: Ignaców, Masovia, Poland
Apples: a blend of old apple varieties
Package type: 750ml green glass with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: flute or white wine glass
Appearance: pours a lightly cloudy pale golden with a tiny white head. Low to medium carbonation. Body is low to medium.
Aroma/Nose: the nose is strong, dry and clear with notes of ripe yellow apples, pears, apple stems and distant caramel.
Taste: my first impression is dry with a touch of sweetness and low acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate yellow apples, mirabelle plum, lemon, grapefruit, a bit salty flavour, lightly watery with distant caramel. Finishes dry with a touch of the bitterness of grapefruit with very low astringency, a touch of lemon candy and lemon.
Overall: 2017 was not the best year for apples in Europe. Not only in terms of quantity of apples but also in terms of quality as you’ll see based on the 2017 vintage of Czarny Ignac. The 2017 vintage of Czarny Ignac tastes more watery and less flavourful than the 2015 vintage. Similarly to the previous vintage, caramel notes appear only later when the temperature rises a bit. Also, the tannins seem to be less pronounced here. Overall, the Czarny Ignac 2017 is a light and drinkable cider with depth and structure. It tastes rich and round and I enjoyed having it but I prefered the 2015 version. Looking forward to trying the 2018 vintage! I bet it will be cracking good! 4/6
Availability: might be available in wine stores and craft beers shops across Poland if any left.
Price: Tomasz passed me a bottle when we met up in Warsaw.