Saturday, 3 March 2012
Rosemary Vineyard Smallbrook Steamer Cider
The other main producer on the Isle of Wight, Rosemary Vineyards is not just a cider maker (doesn't the name give it away a bit:-) And it was alongside their whites and reds that I found a couple of ciders from their range to take home with me. Their range of ciders is made up of two blends which are available as either a still or a sparkling... Guess which ones I went for:-)
I was oddly trying to find some major connection for the cider being called 'Smallbrook Steamer'. Well, the area is called Steambrook and its on the local steam rail line.
One thing I am slightly puzzled by is the sticker on the bottle with a best before of only 6 months from the time I bought it. I am puzzled by this as there is no requirement to put a best before on a glass bottle of cider which is properly sealed. A batch number is all that trading standards require (although I suspect this could differ from region to region). Anything that is good for over 2 years from production only needs a batch number (although the producer does actually need to keep track of the batch number somewhere). And why only 6 months??? Hmmm.
This cider is lightly golden (marked as 'yellow' on the scorecard) and is dead flat. Its quite hazy too so I would guess its unfiltered or only very lightly so. The aroma is pretty light too, which is common for still ciders (no bubbles to shove the smell up your nose:-) Mind you, it doesn't smell cidery at all - hmm, better qualify that. I mean it doesn't smell tannic or of cider varieties. It does smell cidery (as opposed to toffee apples, apple juice or other stuff). Its a gently smell.
Saying all that about the smell, it should have come as no surprise that the cider doesn't taste of cider varieties either. This is a rather delicious eastern style of cider. Its quite sharp with a full and fruity taste; very refreshing (I wish I was drinking it on a sunny day!). At the end of the mouthful the sharpness does take on quite a tangy form which extends into the aftertaste. And it is this tangy sharpness that dominates in the end. It is medium dry, so there is some sweetness to it - though again, I would say it loses out to the acid in the end.
Ultimately, the eastern style is often found from Sussex eastwards (although that by no means that its the only style producers make in the east). So it fits in well with the sort of varieties that are locally available readily. It is nice, although by the end of the glass I am becoming a little luke warm about the tangy kick.
All things considered I scored this at 69/100. Definitely a cider to try when on holiday in the Isle of Wight. And if you are not a hardcore cider tourist like me, there is always the sparkling version:-)