Thursday 28 July 2011

el Gaitero Spanish Cider

No, I haven't been to Spain... yet! I found this at a Waitrose locally. Well, in fact its the second time I have found it - at different Waitrose too (raising hopes that its available nationally). The first one I managed to leave at a mates house so had to end up buying it again as he drank it without reviewing it for me! Doh:-)

Its produced by Valle Ballina y Fernandez who produce cider in Asturias - a well renowned cider making part of Northern Spain. I don't know huge amounts about Spanish cider, although they do have some peculilar methods of pouring cider from a great height in order to aerate the cider properly. I also understand that Spanish cider is more ascetic than cider made in either the UK or France. It must be something to do with the fact that it is much hotter there!

The first odd thing about this cider is that it has been UK-ised (is that a correct term?) It ought to be called Sidra as opposed to cider. AND all the information about it is in English too. Plus, whilst it doesn't quite go so far as to mention drinkaware, it does encourage moderation. Not that I mind too much. Its actually very considerate of them.

Now what to make of a Spanish cider that advertises 'pour over ice'... hmmm. That is the other thing that I find odd (though it could be that the ice thing originated from Spain as it is very hot?!?!?! Well, hotter than Ireland anyway!)

After a large froth, this sidra (lets use the proper term) smells light and fruity. Not particularly ascetic (note to those that know these things... I am not entirely sure I would recognise it...)

To taste, it is definately acidic... or is that ascetic. Its a good taste, and nicely dry - well, reasonably so, certainly more than its medium dry claim on the bottle. I must admit that it does feel a little 'normal' though - maybe its toned down for the British palette.

As my first Spanish cider its not bad and I recommend at least trying it as a starting point for Sidra. I have tried one other previously which was hellishly sweet and sickly - so this is a huge step up from that.

For me, it scored 69/100. However, I will try to find someone who has been to Asturias and add any comments they may have to this. Better still, maybe I just ought to book the flight or ferry and try it for myself:-)


  1. I'm from Asturias ;) What do you want to know exactly?

    PD: I love the packaging of your country! It's like a bottle of beer LOL

  2. It´s probably one of the biggest cider producers in Asturias and in Spain.
    I do not think that cider is representative as Asturian Cider.
    It´s a new project in order to increase the exports.
    One of the things i do not like is the tip in the bottle about add ice to the cider...It´s a good way to hide any defect from poor cider, like big cider producers makes in UK or Irland.
    If you like traditional asturian cider the best should be something like Trabanco, Cortina, Buznego or JR.
    For sparkling cider Poma Aurea or Valveran.
    Best regards,

  3. It definitely comes across as being 'Anglicised' (tailored for the mass UK market). When I get a chance to get to Asturias will try as much artisan sidra as possible. You just don't seem to get much imported into the UK.

    Thanks for the comment!

  4. You are more than welcome, not just in Asturias but also in Frankfurt.
    You will discover a fantastic cider culture here.


  5. I have plans to visit both... but trying to convince my wife that it is all for very good reasons is proving to be a work in progress! I think I have managed to work in a week in Asturias this year though:-)

    Thanks for the comment!

  6. Gaitero (bagpiper, due to the Celtic past of Asturias) is what Asturias sells to the rest of Spain so that they may drink real cider. You'll find it in the supermarkets throughout Spain. In bars outside of Asturias and Pais Vasco you'll get a shrug if you ask for Sidra or they might have a case of Gaitero out back somewhere. Sidra is not manufactured in the same quantities as UK cider so it is not a nationally available drink. They do have stuff called wine in other areas.

    Gaitero is nothing special in comparison to other fizzy mass-produced UK ciders and is manufactured in the same way as cava, which I was shocked to find out from a Spanish friend is always carbonated and never made "methode".

    Walking around Asturias I often found mountains of green sidra bottles outside people's homes. A badge of honour. They definitely drink Sidra like fish in favour of cervezas and vinos.

    Sidra is poured from on-high apparently to aerate the drink. You pour a little into the glass at the moment you want a sip. The pouring then gives a slight sparkle to the drink. If you are served by a waiter in a Sidreria then a good deal of the bottle you bought goes on the floor. Good for repeat sales.

    If you are in a bodega then you may also be served by taking the cork out of a big vat and your glass tactically placed to accept the flow.

    Whenever I self-poured I did so normally and drank the sidra like a cloudy cider. No difference in taste whatsoever.

    I went to an artisanal producer "Sidra Crespo" and was shown around by the proprietor Senor Pis and managed not to smirk. Crespo is cloudy and almost white in colour. A good still cider that is found in most outlets in the area of Colunga.