Saturday 12 February 2011

Westons Premium Organic Cider

Okay, you’re out with your friends or partner and you want to drink a cider that’s a step up - and you happen to be in a Wetherspoons. What's the main choice? Well, whenever I have been in that situation the obvious choice for me has been the Westons Organic. Mind you, this ought to be qualified by the fact that I can count on the fingers of one (okay maybe two) hand(s) the times I have i. been in a Wetherspoons and ii. consumed Westons Organic. There are some of us like that out there!

Westons produce 4 million gallons of cider each year, increasingly under manufacturing conditions as they grow around the UK. This fact has been thrown at them by the label 'industrial’ cider in a derogatory sense. I would be more generous to them but would still see a clear distinction between a manufactured cider and the crafted one (I can hear arguments on both sides – it’s just how I feel about it).

The Organic is not just organic. Its 'Premium’ Organic. This is not an impressive term to me. A lot of self labelled premium brands that are simply just not. Its a non word! And then once I have got over the premium bit I am faced with organic too. I get the idea of organic. I don’t really agree with it very much – certainly as far as apples are concerned. However, many cider orchards could be classed as organic as no one sees the apples (they don’t have to be perfectly shaped or even crunchy). But they only qualify if they have the membership of the organic brigade... OK, stepping off of the soap box!

This is not a bad cider, after all that. Its a nice amber colour and even smells of apples faintly. Whether this is really apples coming through I don’t know, but its pleasant. At 6.5% its just about right too. Cider is naturally a stronger drink than beer and should feel it. Its a western style cider, with a quickly reducing carbonation. To taste it has a definitely mild western (bittersharp/sweet) flavour. There is a hint of acidity coming through too and soft tannin which gives it a slightly drier mouth-feel than my medium classification suggests.

However, there is still something missing. Maybe, as with Magners, its just not interesting enough. In fact, I don’t think I am doing it a disservice in calling it a posh Magners. It isnt that it does anything badly par se. Sure it is balanced and tastes of cider. Could it be that the fact that its not 100% apples and has been filtered, pasteurised and carbonated under manufacturing conditions... is it this that deducts something from it and makes it just safe? Its more than that, although maybe a result of it. It is thin and doesn't leave a taste in the mouth as though something has been 'experienced'. But then, this realisation only comes through trying ciders that do really make an impression.

If I had friends who knew little about cider, Westons Premium Organic may make it onto the list of ciders I would take for them to try as a first experience. Being always consistent and readily available from supermarkets, its a safe bet and better than many of its compatriots in the manufactured cider market. Having said that, I would try to move them on to more interesting and exciting ciders

Its score of 60 may be considered generous by some, but it’s my game and its just about right for me.

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