Oldfields Applesecco Discovery Cider

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 DryCompany: 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
ABV: 6%
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.

Perry’s Puffin

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
ABV: 6.5%
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 shopScrattings, Bristol Cider ShopFetch 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)

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
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. 

Distelberger Speckbirne 2018

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.

DaDa Cider Сидр #4 Cухой (Cider #4 Dry)

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
ABV: 6%
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. 

Pica Pica Cider Apfel

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
a blend of Rheinischer Winterrambour, Belle de Boskoop, Roter Bellefleur, Blaucher Wädenswill, Roter Trierer Weinapfel, Gewürzluiken, Erbachhofer Weinapfel and others.
Sweetness as per label:
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.

Cydr Ignaców Czarny Ignac 2017

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
ABV: 7.5%
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.

Taunton Cider Original Dry

The Taunton Cider Company is not exactly a new cider producer as it was established in 1911 in Norton Fitzwarren, Taunton, Somerset. In the mid-90s, they used to be one of the largest cider companies in the UK producing 30 million gallons of cider annually, when it was bought by Matthew Clark, a drinks distributor owned by C&C Group. This is when they even had white cider in their portfolio. Suddenly, the Taunton Cider Company disappeared from the market in 2011. In 2016, it came back from the dead and moved back to Taunton, not far away from the previous location. Their range of ciders picked up even a few awards e.g. Bronze at the Royal Bath West 2017. Today’s review is on their Original Dry. Company: Taunton Cider Company
Place of Origin: Taunton, Somerset, UK
Apples: locally sourced Yarlington Mill, Dabinett and Harry Masters Jersey
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 4%
Package type: 500ml clear glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: wine glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear pale amber with a white quickly dissipating head. Medium, artificial carbonation. Body is medium.

Aroma/Nose: the scent is moderately strong and rich with notes of caramel, bittersweet apples and sharp apples, vanilla, smokiness and something spicy. Also, after a while, I can get some hints of peat. The nose is clear and pleasant.

Taste: my initial taste is moderately sweet (definitely not dry) with a light acidity of lemon. On the mid-palate notes of caramel and light butter, cider apples, red and yellow apples, watery (like mineral water), medium astringency and light bitterness. The finish is dry with a caramel note and a gentle bitter taste of apple seeds.

Overall: it’s great to see that a company once producing white cider, has abandoned this past and moved towards proper cider. The Original is a quite decent cider with a very pleasant nose and good palate, thus it should satisfy every palate. Judging by the taste, the Original is clearly made from cider apples as it has no off-notes or flavours of apple juice from concentrate. But, the ABV level and the taste clearly indicate that it was watered down. Pity, cause I would like it more with full strength. But overall it is a fine cider. And, it’s rather medium dry than dry. A nice one. 4/6

Availability: only in the UK from Fetch the Drinks or British Corner Shop,

Price: a sample was provided by the Taunton Cider Company

Kiezbaum Cider Apfel

After one night out in Mainz, Rhineland Palatinate, Sebastian and Wanja have realised that there was no real cider in Germany. So in 2014, they set up Kiezbaum, their own cider brand. Their goal was to create an alcoholic beverage based on organic apples grown in Hesse that would be less tart than Apfelwein consumed in Frankfurt. To date, their line up consists of Apfel (apple) and Birne (pear). In 2016, their Kiezbaum Cider Apfel won Silver in the category New World Cider at the International Cider Challange. And, this is the cider I’m about to review right now.Company: Kiezbaum, S. Grüner, I. Kunisch GbR
Place of Origin: Mainz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Apples: locally grown apples from traditional orchards
ABV: 4.9%
Package type: 330ml clear glass bottle with crown cap
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or wine glass

Appearance: pours a clear gold with a white foam that quickly dissipates. Medium artificial carbonation. Low body.

Aroma/Nose: the nose is quite intense and sweetish with notes of apple must, yellow apples, canned pineapple, quince. Further in the background hints of wood sulphur.

Taste: it begins with low residual sweetness with a medium acidity of lemon. Further notes that come through are of canned pineapple, yellow apples, lemon candy, very low astringency and a distant note of sulphur. The aftertaste is dry with a lingering taste of lemon candy.

Overall: it might not be love at first taste as the sour taste is very pronounced in the first sip. But in the next sip, you get used to the level of sourness in it and all you can do is enjoy it. Kiezbaum’s Cider Apfel is very aromatic, with clear taste and aroma. Flavours move smoothly making you crave for more. What I admired the most was the lingering lemon candy note and the perfect level of sweetness, not entirely on the drier side. I would love to have Kiezbaum’s Cider Apfel again, especially that I think it will pair well with most dishes. If only the carbonation was natural, I would have loved it even more. A very nice drop. 4.5/6 

Availability: online in Germany from Ciderei, Bier De Luxe, Bierlager and die Bierkanzlei. In Switzerland from Gastro Drinks.

Price: Kiezbaum Apple Cider was a sample provided by Ciderei.

Помме Роял (Pomme Royal) Dry

If you thought that Belarusians drink only vodka, you were entirely wrong. Belarusians also drink and even make cider. In August 2011, the first Belarusian cider Помме Роял (Pomme Royal) made from local apple varieties such as Antonovka, Alesya, Imant, Pospekh Darunak, Slava, Bogatyr hit the shelves in Belarus. Pomme Royal’s production is based on English cider making methods. To date, the brand is available not only in Belarus but also in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

Today, I’m sampling their Dry made from late Autumn apple varieties including Antonovka.Company: Pomme Royal
Place of Origin: Shumilino, Vitebsk Region, Belarus
Ingredients: natural apple wine (incl. Antonovka), water, sulphites
Sweetness as per label: dry
ABV: 4.7%
Package type: 500ml clear glass bottle with crown cork
Recommended type of glass: pint glass or snifter

Appearance: pours a clear golden with a white and quickly dissipating head. Medium artificial carbonation. Body is low.

Aroma/Nose: quite weak on the nose with notes of green and yellow apples and distant anise.

Taste: it begins dry with high acidity of lemon. Followed by a watery taste, a lightly vinous taste and notes of lemon, fresh green and yellow apples with a distant hint of sulphur.

Overall: Pomme Royal Dry tasted very pleasant on this hot day in Berlin as it was very refreshing and natural with lovely apple notes typical for Antonovka. It has a character but it’s not complex and finishes too quickly leaving a pleasant taste of lemon and fresh apples. Also, it’s very watery. I can imagine that the cider maker added water to reduce the acidity, which is still quite high. But unfortunately, this measure had an impact on the overall taste as well. Although Pomme Royal tastes dry, almost bone-dry, I can’t say that it is anyhow disturbing. So even sweet cider drinkers should appreciate this cider. I enjoyed having this drop and wouldn’t mind having it again but since it lacks complexity both on the nose and the palate, I can’t give more than 3 points out of 6. 3/6

Availability: widely available in Belarus, but also in a few cities in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Online available from Balashikha Duty Free and Wine Style.

Price: Anton from the Russian Dada Cider passed me a bottle when we met up in Berlin