Well, another year has gone by and whilst I consider January weight loss and giving up alcohol for a bit (hic) I figured a recap on Cider Pages favourites is in order to celebrate the passing of 2012.
Really, I am looking forward to the next 12 months - hopefully discovering the best of the new seasons ciders - and lets hope there are some! After the poor weather in the last year, cider making will have been a challenge for many. I am expecting to see the ABV drop on a number of ciders (except for some!) and the best may be a bit harder to get hold of too. As for perry - well, I have heard rumours that the situation may be even worse. Lets wait and see though. I could be totally wrong and it could be the best year of cider yet... I hope so.
So, to see the year out, here is the top 10 ciders reviewed by Cider Pages this last year. Actually its a top 13 (with 5 ciders getting one position in particular!) Its nice to see most styles represented, including a few of single varieties and some non ciders too!
In 9th place, in joint 9th place, are 5 ciders:
Olivers Yarlington Mill Cider and Sheppy's Tremletts Bitter bring in the Single Variety stakes. Olivers was a very fruity and funky cider - everything I expected from a Yarlie cider. Sheppy's was a surprise to me, with Tremletts being drinkable! Very nice too.
The other three ciders sharing 9th are very deserving blends; Dinedor Court's Hereford Bull Cider, Once Upon A Tree's Tumpy Ground and Ross on Wye Ciders Dry Still Cider. Tumpy Ground was a cider I had heard a lot about, and it delivered too. With Ross on Wye being a fully rounded and extremely tasty dry cider. Dinedor Court was an interesting discovery too. With a myriad of ciders being made in Herefordshire, Dinedor Court Farm really do stand out!
OK, this isn't meant to be gushing, but those 5 ciders alone are worth putting onto a wish list for any cider lover... and they were the lowest scoring of the bunch with a mere 87/100 and a picture of a silver apple each.
In 8th position is the first of the non cider ciders. Burrow Hill's Kingston Black Aperitif scored 88 and is generally to be found in my spirit cupboard. It is warming, juicy and very moreish (and works very well in an overly dry cider).
7th position goes to another single variety, Gwatkins Kingston Black Cider. This is a big hitter on the tannin front but is handled very well and delivers the full taste of the fruit.
There is no 6th. There is a joint 5th though. And these go to Once Upon A Tree's Putley Gold and Perry's Farm Pressed Dry Cider. Both on 90/100. These are both fantastic ciders and well worth a go. Both from different stables (Somerset and Herefordshire) both Perrys and Once Upon a Tree are both masters of making distinctive and individual ciders.
In 4th, with 91 points, is the Orchard Pig's Dry Cider. This cider is really, really tasty (and is the reason I worry about their new range of ciders that don't really live up to this one). A balance of acid and tannin but with character.
3rd place goes to Dunkertons Premium Organic Cider with 94 points. Sure, its organic, but don't let that put you off. It is a cracking drink and does Dunkerton's proud!
2nd place, with 95/100 is the only French product to hit hard this year. Chateau du Brueil 20 year old Calvados is possibly the best I have tasted (so far). The only shame was that it wasn't mine and I only got a glass out of it! Still, it is an experience I plan on reliving as soon as I can get to France next!
So... and drum roll please... the top cider for Cider Pages in 2012 (and actually the highest scoring so far) is... Ross on Wye Cider's Headless Man.
This is spirit cask cider production at its very best. It is a gentle drink that delivers big character. Will it be made again for 2013 though? With the troubles for producers making cider using spirit casks, I am not so sure. Ah well, absolutely brilliant cider!
And there you have it. No photo's and a little too much gushing. However, if you have a list of ciders to get hold of then try this list. It won't disappoint you.
Happy New Year to all who read the ramblings on here!