Monday 16 July 2012

Mr Whiteheads Newtons Discovery

In my efforts to leave the more typical cider 'lands' to one side for a moment I now turn back to Hampshire. Its worth noting that the resurgance in cidermakers of recent years has not solely been happening in the usual Herefordshire/three counties, Somerset and Devon regions. As far up north as Scotland (can't wait to try those!), the Midlands and North and the South are the homes of producers who can grant you a cidery wish that you are unlikely to find at the supermarket. See, cider can be for all year - not just for the south western holidays!

So, Mr Whiteheads Newtons Discovery. First discovery is that its 3.8%. More usual for a beer than a cider. Why is this? Well, its what is more commonly known as a 'repress'. Once the juice is squeezed, the pomace is then macerated with water and then repressed. Now, this is an old practice- it is traditionally called 'small cider' and was given to children and farmwormkers (where the farmer actually wanted them to do work!) However, these days presses are a touch more efficient. I am by no means an expert on the yield of juice they used to get, but I would reckon the first pressing would see upwards of 60% of the juice. These days, a modern press will achieve greater than 70%... a squeezebox (like the one they use at Mr Whiteheads) would see more than this. So my guess is that this would be an amalgamation of cider and 'small cider' in order to create this drink. This is not a criticism of the cider, just an observation.

I have toyed with the idea of repressed apples in the past - though as I get in excess of 70-75% yield it seems to me that there is not much left to make cider from. However, if the industry want to shed muchos % from the totals then this would be the most natural way to do it.

Anyway, back to the cider. Now, Discovery is not an apple that I am too familiar with. It would be classed as a desert apple which should have no tannin to it and plenty of acid. Once you strip the sugar away from a dessert apple, as happens in cider fermentation, you are left with the sum of the remaining parts - desert apples have a fair amount of acid left in them - if you are going to make a cider from desert apples make sure you use the aromatic varieties as opposed to the more commodity types (Braeburn and Pink Lady will not make a great cider, in my humble opinion). So, this cider is going to be eastern style with a bit of acid - although being as its a second pressing I am only guessing... it could have lost much of this too.

Enough procrastinating, lets try it. Sure enough, its a faint and light colour - yellow is the colour I note in the review. Almost watery looking to the eye. There is a slight carbonation to it too, though this is probably going to be a little conditioning in the bottle rather than anything else. Quite natural (cider is generally meant to be a living thing).

To smell, there is a good apple aroma - not especially cidery at all, but a strong and sweet smell. And this comes across in the mouth. No tannin, a bit sweet and a little syrupy in texture. This tastes like a weak cider made from dessert fruit and by jove it is. Its the Ronseal of the cider world:-)

There really isn't that much more to say about this cider. I would say its not a bad cider if there is nothing better about, and it is drinkable. I would drink a pint of it, but probably no more than that - on the basis that as you progress through the drink it does tend to be acid/sour  after a while. However, it is a novel cider which I am surprised I don't see more of.

A score of 60/100 is right for me - puts it beyond the commodity ciders but behind the real stars.

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