Tuesday 14 February 2012

Marks and Spencer Somerset Dabinett Cider

OK, this is starting to get funny. I present for your delectation the classic, the vintage, the oak matured Somerset Dabinett Cider from Marks and Spencers. Actually, its name is too long for the pdf field for the name, but here it is in its full glory: Somerset Oak Matured Dabinett Vintage Cider (2010). Now, take don't forget to take a breath:-)

So, why is this funny. Well, M&S don't make just cider; actually it would appear they don't make cider - in this instance its our old friends Thatchers once again. Now don't they have a lot of fingers in a lot of pies!

This has two things I am watching out for - well, three if you count the fact that its a Thatchers (although forgive me if I cannot exactly remember the taste and profile of all their range of ciders). Firstly, its an S.V., a single variety - even after so many ciders I am still not converted. Secondly, its matured in oak. Traditional? Yes it is. Serves a purpose? Yes, wood is probably a the best material to naturally start a malolactic fermentation (not a fermentation at all really, but a process that rounds off the edges and is widely felt to create a vintage cider). Does it actually add anything special to the flavour? I am not convinced of this - cider is not sat in wood for long enough. OK, if it were new oak I would bet it would add a woody flavour to the cider,which is not necessarily a good thing, but 100 year old vats???? Hmmmm.

Nevertheless, its a hard job trying ciders and one has to persevere... sorry - I am actually looking forward to it.

It has a bit of a flourish to start off with, but its moderately carbonated and a nice golden colour. It even smells of dabinett too - a moderately deep smell. It doesn't smell of juice either (I think I have tried too many recently that have had too much juice in - maybe I am getting over sensitive about it!). And then there is the taste. Sure, there is dabinett there. Its rather nice actually. A little on the sweet side of medium dry... its really a medium in terms of taste, although the bubbles could be lifting its profile a little too. Its a little watery, which is a shame, but not unexpected. Some other Thatchers ciders share this too; looking back at my records I haven't tried a Thatchers Dabinett though.

The aftertaste is fairly thin and sweet too, although really not unpleasant at all. I guess this is like most other thatchers I have tried, competent but not exactly hard working in the stunning category. Its well done but perhaps a bit safe.

As an afterthought, I went back through my reviews to pick out the Thatchers from the 'own brands' and guess what. Nearly all of them turn out to be made by Thatchers. They have this market covered eh! (I have updated the labels to now reflect the Thatchers heritage).

A score of 64 is comparable with the other own brands. Sorry about the quality of the photo. Not one of my best!

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