Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Ross on Wye Dry, Still Cider

And so back on to the artisan ciders. Or craft cider. Or real ciders... however you want to call it I am now back on to it:-) This is another cider from the Ross on Wye Cider and Perry Company - and what looks like the first really professional label from them. I love the way it says 'Whole Juice' on the front of the label too. This is a concept that has been much pilfered and abused by less that straight shareholder driven companies. Remember that Pear Cider' who claimed to have 100% pears? The one that turned out to be that 100% of the juice content was pears and even got by advertising standards on that basis - even though the juice content is somewhere around the 35% mark?!?!. Yeah, well Ross on Wye are not like that - if it says whole juice, as ambiguous as that sounds, its almost certainly going to be whole juice.

Ross on Wye have scored quite well out of me at the moment - two gold apples. I guess that is why I turn to this bottle now. I quite fancy something that is really good tonight. And, as a 75cl version, there is plenty to enjoy! If you aren't falling over Hairy Bikers (pun intended) then Broome Farm is a cracking place to visit too - although careful of that last turning in at the farm - if there is anything coming the other way it can be a touch tricky!

Getting back to their labelling, the thing I notice on their label is a wonderful ingredients list. Sure, I may not have sugar on my own list personally, but this can cover all sorts of things - sweetening for example. Apart from that its just juice and a little bit of sulphite. OK, so its been shown an oak barrel (I am not known for my true understanding of what an oak barrel brings to a cider apart from a bit of authenticity on the label. Oh, and I have just noticed; this cider is a 7.4% big hitter, so maybe I should just go a little more carefully!

I have put the tasting off for long enough. It is beautifully clear and golden... perhaps a little too beautifully clear - although if it has been filtered then its not been harshly done. It is also dead flat, which is a nice sign and, well, given its name was to be expected. It has a bittersweet smell, with a warmth to it that is either in the smell or in the anticipation of drinking a strong cider. In all, this smell is what I have come to expect of many Herefordshire makers and it is delicious.

The taste of this cider probably could do with a little explanation. I do think that there is a bit more bitter sharp than bittersweet in this cider - the sharpness more than competes against the moderate to strong tannin. It has a stack load of apples in there too - just what you should expect from a cider made of apples. Its not an apple taste as such, but the result of  great apples fermented and looked after. I ought to point out that I do feel that this cider has been sweetened a bit - perhaps to combat the tannin a little. However, its still quite a dry cider.

Oak... well, its lost on me and I cannot help thinking that it might be just a little redundant these days. I know there are one or two reasons for using oak, but the benefit of an malolactic fermentation to round off the tannin and acids is not only achieved in wooden barrels. Still, I do confess that this cider is nicely rounded and matured so perhaps a tiny bit of slack can be cut.

87/100 gives Ross on Wye another great score from me. It is very different from the others I have tried so far and if I am honest its their weakest runner so far. However, with a silver apple in my personal rankings that's not exactly a bad result! The bods at Broome Farm certainly know what to do with an apple!

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