We all come to various things with preconceived ideas and experiences, and tasting cider is really no different to this. I already know that Black Fox is one of my favourite ciders. If I wanted a true benchmark against which other ciders were judged then this outght to be it (well, this and maybe one or two others). That way I can measure the truely great and good ciders that I try. Magners was, perhaps, aiming a bit low?! Nah... its all good:-)
Dunkertons are a moderately sized cider producer based in Herefordshire who have been making cider to a Herefordshire style since the very late 70's. They also produce a perry (OK, I just sneaked a look at their website) and another 'organic' cider. OK, I will forgive them the Organic status... why not (if you don't spray your trees, does that automatically qualify??) though I am a little sceptical of the organic movement.
This cider is a really good example of a Herefordshire cider. There are both bittersweets and bittersharps present here. And I am positive that there is a good chunk of Kingston Black too (although it could be Stoke Red - I am not an expert!). What I really like about it is that it isn't dumbed down - its a Herefordshire cider not a ubiquitous cider drink as so many of the larger producers seem to have gravitated towards.
Generally, I tend to class things as being Eastern counties or Western. In reality this is a bit of a simplification as each region has its own character. Herefordshire is about cider apples... no desert fruit. Similarly, Somerset is about cider apples too, although much more bittersweet than sharp. Devon and Dorset are less so. I recommend James Crowdens book, Ciderland, for anyone wanting to explore this further.
The cider itself is amber/gold in colour with a light carbonation. At 7% its got the full measure of fermentation in it. Like the Henney's Vintage, its the proper strength for a cider and needs to be treated as such - if you're a session cider drinker then this probably isn't for you. The aroma is tannic and sharp at the same time and the aftertaste is lingering.
Another silver apple to dish out. At 83/100, this is one that I would recommend to anyone that is seeking to try only excellent ciders!