Friday, 7 October 2011
Gospel Green Sussex Cyder
Gospel Green is a very small producer of cider (sorry that should be Cyder) based in Sussex. There is not a whole bunch of information that I could simply find online about them, although I believe that they make 7500 litres per year and it is all produced in the Champagne style and bottled like this. What I have found out about them online (as opposed to talking to people who know more about them than I do) is that they have had high praise from various restauranteurs and celebrity chef types.
Being champagne style, the cork (although being locked down tight) comes out with a nice pop. More than any of the cidre bouche it pours and (indeed) even looks like champagne. It has a high fizz (doh... of course it does!) and the thing it makes me immediately feel is that I need a special occasion to have opened it. Well, I have worked pretty hard today and have family staying so I guess that is occasion enough.
Here is where the review starts to get odd. Although there is an distinct appley (desert appley) smell it actually has a champagne aroma. Could it be that this is what the historians meant by cider so like wine that it could replace it at the dinner table?
The answer to that question is a big fat 'yes'. This is a very vinious (is that the correct term) cider. That it is made solely from desert and culinary apples makes it light and acidic. the style of production has raised that to a whole different level. Its not a quaffing cider at all. Its a high quality, high status cider (and I still feel as though I am cheating for not having a decent enough excuse for drinking it).
The taste is light and acidic, although this is mellowed as the cyder is a two year old vintage. It is very much like a sparkling wine or champagne in the mouth - although even at a whopping 8.5% (the maximum for a cider in the UK) it is weaker. If it is competing with high end sparkling wines, then it does very well. The aftertaste is acid, lemon (or citrus) and satisfyingly rich - though its not one for the cider cup as it goes straight to the head!
If I am being 100% honest about this, ciders that compete with wines are not always my thing. However, this is excellently done and, as a celebration drink it would definitely compete with the bottle of champagne for New Years or Christmas. Finally, I ought to point out that making cider to this level is really, really not that easy and demonstrates the skill of Gospel Green at producing something heritage cider. Well done Gospel Green!
It scored 84/100 and earns a silver apple - its a very special cyder... and that may be as much a negative for it as a positive.