Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Broome Farm Stoke Red Cider

My plan for this exercise was to learn something new. I confess that I have played with both Michelin and Bramley, and (certainly for Bramley) there is nothing new to say about it and I don't feel that I have wandered into any new territory. This next cider will change this. Stoke Red is a variety that I have not used... well, not knowingly used in any case.

This range of ciders from Broome Farm (Ross on Wye Cider and Perry Company must be a bit of a mouthful from time to time!) seems designed to be played with. I do know that Mike Johnson of Ross on Wye likes punters to play at blending (an absolutely first class idea!) but when I came across this range of single varieties I figured that is what its all about.

Confession number 2 - its this range of ciders (which I think you can only get by visiting Ross on Wye themselves) that inspired me to do this little exercise. So its not a new concept. In fact, in an attempt to 'repay' the idea, if you feel like getting hands on at blends and apple variety profiles then get yourself to Ross on Wye Cider and Perry (just outside of Ross on Wye). I am sure they would be happy to see you!

Now, Stoke Red is a cider variety that is classed as a moderate bitter sharp. In other words, it has both tannin and a full acid. I doubt you would enjoy eating it too much, although bitter sharps work very well in cider. This particular variety is also classed as a vintage variety. This simply means that it has the potential to make a vintage cider - basically an excellent cider (although I am sure this means that it will contribute a lot to an excellent blend of cider rather than make one on its own!).

In terms of provenance, Stoke Red hails from Somerset and is recorded from the early 20th century. It is quite a small apple (as many cider varieties tend to be).

This cider has an almost orangy golden glow about it, though it is fairly bright in appearance. It is also a flat cider (all the better for reading the variety as well as possible). It actually looks pretty appetising and smells deliciously fruity (belying the fact that I suspect it has lots of acid to it).

Sure enough, there is plenty of acid. This is a really good acid though - lots of it, but with lots of flavour too. Its not a thin cider, as with the acid comes a moderate tannin that holds all the fruit together. The acid wins out though by quite a way (this seems like a true single variety - not one that has been modified). Its a very interesting taste - the acid is clean, like a lime juice almost but with the apple and tannin underlying it.

The aftertaste is fairly short, and the acid gives way to a mildly tannic sense - the fruit remains too.I must say that, as a cider, its not quite all there; too much acid going on and not sufficient fruity texture. However, I would love to work with this apple in a blend!

In all, and rather surprisingly, it scores 78/100. A testament (once again) to the skill of Broome Farm.

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