Sunday 10 July 2011

Once Upon a Tree Kingston Redstreak (2009)

This is a full juice cider made by one of the UK's award winning cidermakers, Once Upon a Tree. Their ethos is very much to market cider as a wine (note 75cl bottle and generally not a sparkling product). They are based in deepest Herefordshire, although (judging from being able to get hold of this bottle) they are fairly available in the region.

This particular cider is the first I have tried from them since starting to review ciders. Why choose this as opposed to a more ubiquitous cider? Well, I have to say it is because it is made from very interesting cider varieties: Kingston Black and Redstreak. I have said before that I believe that Kingston Black is not strong enough to make a great cider on its own. Well, the idea of blending back with another vintage apple variety is the kind of thing that I much prefer.

So, it should score really well then eh... hang on. Lets have a go at it first!

As expected, it is a still cider. A lovely colour although the aroma is a bit light and a little watery. How can a cider smell watery??? Well, I guess its a bit thin thats all. To taste, it is a good fruity cider - gentle tannins coming through, but with rather a lot of sweetness coming in.

I guess this reduction in aroma could be due to being a still cider, though the taste is not exactly what I expected either. The sweetening of this cider reduces the tannin dramatically - plus there is only a little acid, which is actually balanced out with the tannin. Lots of fruit though.

As a wine-cider, it is first rate - more cider makers should aim their cider in that direction (although the nation compares beer and cider, not wine and cider...). A good combination of KB and Redstreak. Unfortunately there is a problem in the sweetness - I figured that it would balance in with the tannin, acid, fruit and depth but it seems to take over a little too much and detracts from the taste. and character that I was expecting to come through.

Overall I expected more from this blend of two very distinguished apples. As a wine the drink works well and as a cider it works even better. It tastes refined (as in a quality drink as opposed to being processed like oil!!) but does fall a little short for me on the sweetness and balance. It scored 74/100 - OK, I had hoped for more, but its still a Bronze Apple.

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