Friday 1 June 2012

Butford Organics 'Gatria' Cider

So, an organic cider from Butford Organics... OK, no surprise and y'know I am even not going to lay into the 'organic movement' for being a money making organisation over doing anything truly practical for apple growers. Mind you, the bottle is displaying its credentials proudly - and with their name I guess I can understand that.

This is another Herefordshire cider. It looks brightly clear through the bottle but is a full juice cider and even has a smattering of sediment at the bottom. Clear bottles are so telling, even before the cider is opened. So I can understand that only really good ciders should dwell in a clear bottle... and this one really does look the part!

OK, ingredients list is just apples. Wot, no sulphites? Well, I suppose its not the law so you don't have to use them. Its all just taking that step closer to chance though (for me). Moving from cultured yeasts (i.e. man made, safe, quick and clean fermentation... fairly one dimensional cider) to wild yeasts (more uncertain, require established kit and environment, much slower, more gentle and creates a fully rounded cider) is both a risk and adventure in itself. Taking a further step towards the chance of bad batches is not to use sulphite to protect the cider and clean it before and after fermentation. Mind you, I could be just being a little risk averse there!

I hope that made sense...

Opening this bottle, I was pleasantly surprised to find it is a still cider (no mention of that on the bottle). Its a ruby golden colour - deep - and it has quite an unusual smell about it. Now, this is a nice smell, not a horrible one. Its mellow and tannic and there is a character within it. It isn't one I am particularly familiar with; the main variety in this cider is Browns apple - a vintage quality sharp apple which originated from Devon.

The idea of a 'vintage quality' apple is simply that it is known for making high quality cider, or being a good contributor to a great cider. This reputation then grows into a status for the apple itself. Now, it is debatable whether vintage quality means it should make a good single variety. I am inclined to think that many cider makers believe this to be true, and it is one of the reasons I don't think a true single variety (i.e. one that hasn't been played around with) is the best an apple can be.

OK, the taste. Boy, its quite sharp, although there are stacks of tannins behind it. The sharp wins though and the smell is definitely in the character of the taste. It has oodles of character and is very enjoyable (if you can get through the sharp). After a while, this taste starts to remind me of something that I quite like, although don't expect from a cider... grapefruit juice! It has that same quality about it with a great taste followed by a sharp kick.

This kick runs through into the aftertaste and makes the drink pretty refreshing.

I am not writing reviews to find one style of cider or indeed 'THE' cider style in which all other cider styles are found wanting. This cider is in a league or style of its own. It doesn't fit in with the normal western style, nor the eastern. Its a good cider though and I would recommend anyone try it that find it.

A score of 79/100 makes it just shy of a silver apple. Which is a bit of a shame as I do rate this... it may be a tricky cider to get into though if you just like ciders to taste sweet and tannic.

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