Saturday 7 July 2012

Blackmoor Estates Blackmoor Cider

Its back to Hampshire again for cider review #190. This time not to a well known cider maker but to a commercial orchard. Blackmoor Orchards are not exactly known for their cider varieties although if you shop at Tesco I would reckon your apples may well come from this orchard. Its a dessert and culinary cider, which means that its going to be acidic and light - much like Mr Whiteheads cider (who is found not that far from Blackmoor).

This is not a coincidence. Mr Whiteheads make this cider for Blackmoor and even bottle it for them. Its not such a dilema - the relationship between the two is public knowledge. And who better to make cider for a company whose expertise in growing apples, not squishing them? In any case, I believe that cidermakers perhaps get too much kudos for the quality of their wares - its in the orchards that the apples grow and are cared for, where the quality of the fruit is really determined. The cidermaker, like a chef with the best ingredients, just needs to treat the apples gently and let them speak for themselves.

I bought this bottle recently while on my latest travels in the South from the Winchester Farmers Market. These are not a bad bed for finding real cider; not all of them, but if you have a local one that is not supported by a producer why not mention it to your nearest artisan cider maker... they generally like these kind of pointers (I think).

And so to the cider. Its all the juice at 6% and pours a pale yellow colour. I was surprised to read that there may be some sediment in the bottle - there certainly wasn't any visible in mine and the cider was pretty clean looking too! It is very fizzy - this could be bottle conditioning though (and may explain the sediment mention on the label). the smell coming off of it is definitely light, aromatic and inviting.

The taste is well balanced and very nice. Its most definitely an eastern style of cider and, if I am going to be totally honest, this is comparable to the best of Mr Whitehead's own cider. There is a god sharp kick to it, although it is in no way sour or overdone. The aftertaste is mellow and gently acidic. In all, I just think that this is a good, honest cider.

If I can be totally honest I am a little surprised - I have easten Tesco's apples which are often unlike anything that I get from my local orchard. Cardboard is the comparison I personally would make. However, I guess these are often cold stored and vacuum packed unripe - whereas the juicing apples for this cider will have been matured properly before pressing. I am not going to get into the apple argument which basically states that we (i.e. the public) have been trained/coerced/sold in the idea that the main thing we all need from an apple is a shiny surface without blemish and a crunch. This is what the supermarkets stock (and even my local farmshop tends towards the Braeburn/Pink Lady/Golden Delicious type fruit). This is utter nonsense. Apples can be crunchy and flavoursome - I believe the best are not crunchy and some of the very best may have russetting. The best apples have one thing in common with eachother - excellent and interesting flavour. I said I wasn't going to get into this, didn't I!!!

Well done Blackmoor/Mr Whiteheads. This is a good cider and I really enjoyed it. The score was 76/100... a great Bronze apple.

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