Tuesday 13 November 2012
Gwatkins Norman Cider
The idea of a 'Norman' apple is a little vague. Yes, it is a variety that originates from Normandy - and they know how to produce a good cider in Normandy. However, there isn't simply one 'Norman' apple; in fact, the information on the label attests to this and says "The Norman Cider apple was imported from Normandy in France. There are half a dozen varieties of the same name, which vary in size and shape, but many of them share the same flavour."
I will be interested to see if this cider shares a similar flavour profile to the French cidre's I have tried. As a bittersweet variety, Bulmers Norman (the variety or 'Norman' that appears to be the most readily available in the UK) was - as the name suggests - developed by HP Bulmer... probably back in the day when Bulmers were producing more traditional ciders. This is undoubtedly because the trees are high yielding more than any vintage quality... I have heard they are fairly tough to process (although never tried them myself).
OK, lets get on to the cider - for the first time with a UK cider the bottle is corked. This is common for French cidre but crown caps and ROPP plastic screwtops are very much the common currency in this country. OK, not exactly worth any points for the cider, but I find this kind of stuff interesting!
Its appearance is slightly a slightly orangey golden cider (amber may best describe it). It is flat and clear and, boy, it smells sweet. There is a little fruit behind the sweetness, but bear in mind this is a medium - and its all of its medium monika!
The taste is curious. It is very gentle but with a moderate tannin running through it. When I say gentle, I mean that you need to pay attention to get the most out of it. To be honest, the sweetening gets in the way a bit too much - although it really is a pleasant cider and worth trying (one thing about single varieties is that each type is different - as each variety of apple is different... mostly:-)
The aftertaste is long but quite low key.
Norman apples are more often used as an 'also ran' fruit - making a contribution to a blend rather than being used as a stand out personality. Its not a bold or brash cider apple, its much more delicate than that (and really doesn't deserve all the sweetening!). I liked this cider though; its nice to have to sit and think about a cider every now and again... and that says a lot for the Norman apple.
This cider scored 70/100, so another bronze apple awarded.