Sunday 1 July 2012

The Orchard Pig Charmer (Medium)

Given that I have read recently that Orchard Pig have hired a marketing firm to come up with a new 'brand' image for their ciders, I am not totally clear whether these are just the other ciders renamed or whether they are new ciders themselves. However, I really like Orchard Pig ciders so they can take a turn in their own right!

While I have all three of the 'new' ciders, I wanted to start with the medium. Perhaps this is because its likely to be the most challenging for me - though it could equally be an interest in seeing how well they do it. As far as the labels are concerned though I do think that the old ones were just as nice... this is something that I feel about Perry's too - they have this snazzy writing on their new labels too when I think perhaps the original labels are better. I have to frame that as someone who is continually playing around with - designing and redesigning labelling and 'dressware' for bottles... so perhaps I shouldn't judge!

There is one comment that I would make though (and knowing that Orchard Pig do occasionally read these reviews, perhaps they would correct me if I am wrong_) On the back it says; "Orchard Pig doesn't enjoy direct sunlight, so keep it in a cool shady spot". On the whole there is nothing wrong with keeping cider in a cool space. However, cider is not like wine and is not affected by sunlight itself, just heat. If it's heat they meant then I suppose that's OK-ish. The question I have to ask though is why they use clear bottles, if they are worried about sunlight? After all, that's part of the reason for having green/brown wine bottles and brown beer bottles. Oh well, small point but a little confusing.

'Charmer' - no doubt the name of one of their pigs - pours out a beautiful golden colour. It has a reasonable carbonation (not overdone) and is crystal clear... like so many other ciders these days. Designed for a broad reception as opposed to a hard core cider fiend!  The nose is fairly deep, though I suspect filtering has restrained it a bit. However, it has that rounded fruity tang to it that I do like in Somerset ciders.

The sweetness is very much there - and fir the first time with an Orchard Pig I do get that kind of 'processed' feeling a bit with it. This is by no means bad - I suspect it just means that its been lightly filtered, sweetened and then pasteurised at the point of bottling. OK, its not on the CAMRA guidelines... but then I must confess to being a bit mystified by CAMRA's objectives at the moment as far as cider is concerned - so I really don't care! In any case, any reasonable sized producer of cider can make use of organisations, such as those found in Pershore (in fact, I know a few who do make use of those very services). Lets face it, its a lot easier than doing it at home (and I cannot recommend anyone drying to pasteurise a carbonated cider - recipe for lots of flying glass!)

This cider has retained its tangy, bitter sharp texture - if it has been played with, then its been gently done. The flavour is long and pronounced with nice tannin and cider fruit running all the way through the taste to a long satisfying aftertaste. Thankfully, the sparkle dies down a bit, so its really well done

And so to a score. Sure there is too much sweetness in here for me - wasn't that always going to be true. But its a well rounded cider and, despite all the earthy pig talk on the labels, does retain a sense of its place - a little rough and rugged, yet a cider that will make you close your eyes and see apple trees laden with fruit. OK, enough of that. This cider scores 79/100. Not quite silver but very respectable indeed.

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