Saturday, 12 November 2011
Gwatkins Original Dry Cider
Back to cider from The Cider Shop in Bristol, and another one that I am really looking forward to. I do like clear bottles - you can see the liquid inside and this is a deep golden colour that just screams 'tannin' and 'dryness'.
I would comment on the strength though. I am a little surprised that a full juice cider comes out at 5%. OK, I ought to qualify that. 2010 was not an exceptional year for making cider; it was not a bad year either. I don't recall seeing any reports of low or uber-high gravities being achieved too. So I would expect a craft cider to turn out at about 6-8%. Not that 5% is ridiculous though - and with the UK law stating that alcohol content can be as far as 1% out in either direction I think there is room for debate here.
So, on to the cider (lets face it, if you really appreciate a drink then you only notice alcohol content if it is absurdly high or pitifully weak). Its all about the taste, right? (I do wish I could get that through to many of the cider drinkers at festivals though).
So, the first thing I should say is that I reckon its been filtered and force carbonated. Not a crime, but noteworthy. The smell though - huge whiff of what I can only describe as caramelised apples. fruity and tannic but its all incredibly deep. The sparkle is moderate though - which I find a little over fizzy.
And so on to the taste. Wow, now that is a rounded cider. Tannins, acid and apple - all burst in the mouth. Its a bit watery in the mouth however (though I am not saying its been watered down). The aftertaste dies a little too quickly too. And when you stick your mouth out for the next sip, you get the smell again - toffee apples? I can't quite place it, but its quite strong.
I was expecting big flavours from this cider. They are there. But they seem to have been tamed quite a lot and its a more delicate flavour than I had expected. Its also not exactly bone dry either. Now I don't think its been sweetened, just that the fruit that is in this cider is not all tannin and punch.
A note on the aftertaste; there is a pleasant acid kick at the end which is good. I would say that a useful bittersharp or two are in the cider.