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!


  1. I suppose 'premium' is based on the makers interpretation, be it the pick of the raw inggredients, ageing, processing, extra handling involved possibly reflected in a higher price?

    Below is The Free Dictionarys take -

    1. A prize or award.
    2. Something offered free or at a reduced price as an inducement to buy something else.
    3. A sum of money or bonus paid in addition to a regular price, salary, or other amount.
    4. The amount paid, often in addition to the interest, to obtain a loan.
    5. The amount paid or payable, often in installments, for an insurance policy.
    6. The amount at which something is valued above its par or nominal value, as money or securities.
    7. The amount at which a securities option is bought or sold.
    8. Payment for training in a trade or profession.
    9. An unusual or high value: Employers put a premium on honesty and hard work.

    Anyway, back to cider......

    What is the 'Pershore treatment'? I have a good friend who was arrested for poaching down there and got taken in for questioning. It sounds like it could be something to do with the local Police......

    Laurie -

  2. Ha ha. Thanks Laurie - made me giggle.

    I know what 'premium' is meant to mean. However, in the drinks industry it has been hijacked to suit - a bit like the word 'cider' has! Perhaps its just me being a snob!

    The 'Pershore' treatment. Yes, I should have explained that! Pershore College will filter, sweeten, pasteurise, carbonate and bottle cider. Quite a few small producers use them as the kit itself is expensive and large... of course, you don't HAVE to filter, pasteurise or force carbonate...


  3. Ah, here you go:

  4. Ahhhhh - much as i thought, reading between the lines i guessed that the phrase was'nt over-complimentary and was a slight dig. So, basically. they change and adjust everything so that it no longer resembles the product that it was intended.

    They say that they make 7,000 litres a year and it wins prizes everywhere. Have you tasted and evaluated their stuff?

    I suppose the word 'treatment' should have been the giveaway rather than, the more positive, 'method' - 'Treatment' always has more sinister overtones IMO.

    Laurie -

  5. Laurie, In reality there is nothing wrong with using Pershore - who do a very good job. I think my main grumble with this cider is that is is made from dessert fruit (which commonly contains more sugar than cider fruit) and yet only hits 4.4%.

    In my own experience, you want a cider to hit 5% just to be safe in itself. However, as with all things this is subjective and, if Old Grove say it's 100% juice (which they don't exactly) then that is OK for me.

    Hey - in all it scored 68 - which is by no means poor on here...