Monday, 10 December 2012
Old Grove Premium Cider
I don't regard myself as sufficiently old enough to be a 'Grumpy Old Man' yet. Mind you, being male I guess I can be as grumpy as the rest of them... and there are a couple of things that I am grumpy about with this: "Premium" and its 4.4%. And, if its premium in its proper sense, why is it only 4.4%?
If I have tried to get one message across about cider it is that it is neither beer nor wine - its not the strength of wine (although in Europe cider is treated as a weak wine) and it is meant to be stronger than a beer. The usual range of gravity from apples alone is between 5% and 8.5%. Less than this and I would argue it has been watered down or else stopped in some way. There is nothing wrong with stopping a cider early, its just a very hard thing to do.
I think the bottle gives itself away a little; "Crafted from freshly pressed hand picked apples, this lightly starting cider is made from 100% apples...". the italics are my emphasis. What does this say about this cider? Clearly at 4.4% its not all the juice. Is it misleading then? I like (and believe) the crafted nature of its production - so it could be a premium drink if it wanted to.
Anyway, on with the review - do note that I tasted this cider before writing this up... so objectively is hopefully preserved (albeit I already know what I got from it!)
It is a golden cider and, sure enough, is lightly sparkling - well, after its big, carbonated fizz. It is also bright - so my guess is the normal 'Pershore' treatment: filtered, pasteurised and carbonated to suit the producer. Nothing wrong with that in reality. I expect it is sweetened during this process.
There isn't much aroma to it, though if I strain my nostrils I do get some gentle earthy notes coming off it. It also smells a touch 'juicy. This is confirmed in the taste - it is quite a juicy cider. It has quite a large tang about it too and a sharp acid which overpowers the tannins which are almost non existent. There is a lot of sharp in this drink (in fact, isn't this the producer with the Bramley cider???)
On the positive side, it is quite a full taste. OK, full of a fruity sharp acid and almost too sweet and juicy, but its not got a feeling of being watered down at all. I am getting a slight caramel tinge to it as well, which could have come from the pasteurisation process.
The aftertaste is both sharp and sweet. It is moderate in length.
In all, I am not unhappy with this cider. The flavour profile is interesting and not your normal Herefordshire cider in any way. I would say that there are plenty of sharps in there. It is simply too sharp to be dessert fruit. However, it has plenty of flavour as well and, although its a touch one dimensional, is not unpleasant.
A score of 68/100 sees it fall short of an apple though - I would like to see the full juice version of it!