Monday 19 November 2012

Marks and Spencers Herefordshire Vintage Cider

Right, we need to leave the single varieties and apple varieties there for the moment. It's not just because I have drunk all those I had (although... I have:-), its that there are a lot of other ciders lining up to be tried and it would be nice to start to get through some of them before Christmas! No doubt some enterprising member of my family will find something I haven't tried before. Well, I guess that may be more wishful thinking than anything else, but I might get money for cider (hint hint to the family!)

This Marks and Spencers cider has been sat around for a while - and makes a good start back on the blends for me. Why? Well, because most people who can get to a M&S ought to able to buy it and try it for themselves, that's why. It is made for them by that prolific 'own brand' manufacturer, Westons (it says so on the front of the bottle). Being Marks and Spencers, on the upper end of the ubiquitous supermarket chains, it has an ingredients list. Ummmmm. Played around with more than aptly describes what it says. I am not even sure what an acidity regulator is, although something in the back of my head suggests it regulates highly acidic juice - possibly dessert fruit... possibly even cookers???

One thing that is interesting is that the apples (whatever the apple content is**) are all from a single orchard and include Dabinett, Harry Masters Jersey and Michelin. I am very familiar with these three apples and at least 2 are among my favourite varieties. Both Dabinett and HMJ are faily big hitters for tannin, so I ought to expect a good amount of it in this cider. So, with these three varieties in the blend - why do you need an acidity regulator???

By taking a further look at the bottle, I see it is 6.5%, so at least its within normal range for cider.

**this comment may be both unkind and unfair... although I have been told by a member of Weston's own staff that "all our ciders start at 14-15%

It pours light golden and moderately carbonated. It smells bittersweet and light too, although for the first time in a while I am getting a bit of sulphite as well. Then the taste. It is sweet with an understated tannin and a good measure of acid.

It is quite syruppy though, and whilst it is very easy to drink (I guess that is its point) I am finding it a touch bland and, well, 'regulated'.

There is a short aftertaste, which is quite watery on the tongue. I am a bit sad that I didn't get the full measure of the quality cider fruit that went into the blend. I had really hoped it would deliver too. I still have hopes that Weston's will surprise me one day (and despite my whining, they really aren't bad ciders). However, I should have guessed at the ingredients list really.

A slightly tight score of 64/100 for this one. Above average but no cigar... I mean, apple.

1 comment:

  1. I guess it's the other way round with the "acid regulators:"
    Looking closely to the ingredients list (try, you can see that the individual items are separated by a central dot.
    Then you can notice that the following is all one item:
    - Acidity Regulator: Malic Acid, Lactic Acid

    So this simply means, that acids were added, as the diluted juice had not enough of it.

    I guess that having good bittersweet varieties and targeting quite safe taste, they get enough tannins naturally. Sugars and acids are then added to tune the beverage.