Tuesday 29 May 2012

McCrindles 2010 Vintage Cider

Lucky me. I have found another 'small batch cider'. Mind you, this one looks nicely done; it has a batch number on the front of the bottle and even the signature of the cider maker. Nice touch, even if it taken from the whisky makers handbook:-) As for vintage, well it is a 2010 made cider. Please take note Thatchers!! I would only really consider a vintage version of a cider to be a vintage from 2010 season at this point in 2012. If it was produced in the 2010 season it would make the cider at least 16 months old... matured fully and, well, about right for vintage eh!

A couple of things to note about McCrindles. They are based in Gloucestershire. Not sure I have tried too many heritage ciders from that area, although it is a prolific area much in the same vain as Herefordshire and Somerset (well, may be not quite as much, but it is recognised as being one of the main counties). The other thing of note is curious really. Being based on Blakeney Hill, I wonder it has anything to do with that mighty perry pear, Blakeney Red... I am sure I will answer that for myself before this review is out!

There isn't much else to find out about McCrindles on the web - the website advertises their 2009 Vintage, which although nicely presented is, well, indicative of a small producer who doesn't keep his website up together (so, so common when you have so much else to manage too!). So, this could truly be a small batch. And as this bottle comes from the ever more frequented Bristol Cider Shop, so I shall assume that they do their due dilligence to a degree. No, I don't live anywhere near Bristol before anyone asks - but then how close does a great cider shop need to be (its convenient enough to nip in to when passing on the M4 or M5!)

OK, enough procrastination, lets try the thing! By the way - Blakeney Hill is just down the road from Blakeney, where I think the pear originated... thanks Google maps:-)

I have to start by saying that its a bit of a shame that it has been filtered bright. Ciders clear, but not quite like this. The carbonation is low. Its a lovely golden colour. I can see the appeal to a cider maker of having such a luscious looking liquid... though I realise that actually a more natural condition for a cider is slightly hazy (well, when it hasn't been filtered that is). The smell is deep and aromatic. It also has a smokiness about it that is familiar of some of the ciders I have produced and stored for twelve months or so. This is the real deal. Some others call it 'farmyard', but it is a bit of an odd, off putting phrase to be honest and doesn't do the smell any justice.

Taste is very bittersharp. nicely rounded - there is no harsh texture to the acid in this - very nice. I have tated this character of fruit before now - but in a younger cider so it dominated too much... in here it works nicely. The tannin is a given but is mellow and in keeping with its age. Whilst it's not a safe or balanced cider it is extremely tasty and the fruit is very interesting. (if a little odd).

If I have to grumble about anything it is the usual - the filtering leaves the cider a tiny bit one dimensional after a while... not too much, but just a touch.

Aftertaste is tannic and long. Smoky all the way through. On the whole it is a fitting epitaph for the cider that came before it.

I very much like this cider. It is very professionally presented and delivers everything that you would want from a medium dry high juice heritage cider. Sweetening is sensitively donw and doesn't spoil the taste and its simply a really good vintage cider. Its score of 86 gives it a deserved silver apple. Now, do they do an unfiltered version??:-)

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