Tuesday 4 June 2013

Rich's 'Golden Years Vintage 2011' Yarlington

And now for something completely different! Kind of.

OK, I have a brand new batch of bottled ciders waiting to be tried (the Perries can go on hold for while! Well, I did say I needed to acquaint myself with them before I reviewed them... didn't I?!) So, this is the last of the current batch of Rich's. And another 'Golden Years'; a single variety Yarlington Mill. I am not going to bother with cider101 for this - Yarlington is a very popular cider apple for single varieties - it is almost as popular as Kingston Black SV (if not more so!)

I guess I had better get on with it then eh. One word though - look at the image of the bottles. See how the cider is almost reddy in colour? That is Yarlington Mill, that is. I don't know of a more ruddy coloured juice available to cider makers.

I have just noticed something else about these 'Golden Years' ciders - they are aged in oak vats. Well, apart from perhaps rounding off the flavours, I have to say that this fact has happily passed me by for all the other versions. Mind you, I think Rich's missed a trick. They could have called this 'Golden Years Vintage Oak Aged Cider 2011'. Oh, OK, I will just get on with it!

On pouring, this is indeed very ruddy coloured with a low carbonation to it. I would suggest it has been pasteurised, filtered (etc.), although that is lazy these days - you don't need to pasteurise... just micro filter... although this has far too much colour for that surely! I have also noted that they call the colour 'tawny'. Hmmm I do occasionally stretch beyond the 32 colours known to man - but ruddy is a much better description!

So, this should be familiar by now...

Apart from it's distinctive colour, it has a pungent smell - deep, rough and fruity. True to form then, this is giving off a medium full bodied smell which is very inviting.

The taste is true to form but I have to say is excellently controlled. There is a brilliant tannin which may have even benefited from a touch of filtering. Sure, it has lost a touch of dimension as a result - it's not that drying. However, this cider is not too full on and this reveals the complex flavours... if you grab a Yarlington Mill apple this autumn (if you are lucky enough to have access to them) have a sniff when they are ripe. These blossomy, tannic, orchard notes are all in this drink.

There is no acid here - its all bittersweet (which is correct for the apple). It really is a lovely cider.

The aftertaste is long and fruity. Slightly drying at the end but not too much. This is definitely evidence that some filtering works. It is a distinguished cider and a wonderful version of the Yarlington SV. A score of 91/100 surely must secure it in my top ciders of 2013. Well done Rich's!

An afterthought: It has been suggested to me recently, by a producer of large scale cider, that many 'traditional' ciders are rubbish... citing cleanliness, refusal to pasteurise/filter etc. While I agree with this sentiment (I have tried some truly awful full juice ciders) I have to say that ALL the best ciders are all full juice (like this one). So, do you aim for 'average' (i.e. large scale, controlled ciders) or do you shoot for excellence with the occasional misfire (OK, perhaps a little more than 'occasional'). Me - well, I would rather bin half my cider than offer rubbish to punters.

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