Thursday 13 December 2012

Skidbrooke Cider Vintage Cider

As I continue to try more and more ciders I figured it would get harder to find new producers. Well, I am going to have to get through quite a lot more than this to get to that point. This one is from a cider producer from way outside Ciderland in Lincolnshire.

Some have bandied the idea around recently that cider is enjoying a 'boom' (mostly around the twittersphere - where fact and fiction seemingly merge without any issue:-). I guess you could say that 'for cider' there is a bit of a boom going on. As of 2010, cider sat at position of around 9% of all alcohol sales in the UK. Compare this to 37% for beer (I guess is all beer, not just ale) and 32% for wine**. So any idea that cider is booming has to be seen in this context. You also have to factor in that by far the majority of cider sales is Magners, Bulmers and whatever the latest flavoured garbage to come out of Sweden is!

True enough, more people are rediscovering cider - although a good number of those seek out the fruit based alcopops that seem to have crept in. I know I shouldn't, but if and when I am asked about fruit cider (as in "I only drink fruit cider") I generally say that you can have apples and, with a slight change of terms, pears too.

What is good is that new cider makers are popping up all over the place - its no longer a west country thing. My hope is that these new cider makers learn quickly what works and avoid what doesn't. Already this year, I have suffered too many new ciders that are seemingly made from whatever comes to hand... not showing any real mastery of cider making.

Anyway, There is no reason to have chosen this review to bang on about this, so I will get on with the review.

Skidbrooke are a small producer from Lincolnshire. They are by no means 'new' - although I guess sell most of their cider locally. This vintage is the first of three that I picked up on my travels. It is bright and golden in a clear bottle (you can see the bottle above although I forgot to take the photo before I had consumed the contents!!). Oddly, it appears to be full to the brim. Now, I know that you need to make sure you don't undersell contents, but this seems a little OTT. I just hope its not sparkling as it could be messy without any head space!

Thankfully it is a flat cider, and smells rather juicy. I reckon this is an eastern cider as it doesn't have anything tannic about it and, thinking of its colour, it is rather light gold. The taste is quite sharp with little or no tannin to back it up... so it IS an eastern style of cider (which is perfectly OK!).

There is some good flavour to this cider, although it could really do with something else going on to lift the sharpness - maybe a slight bottle conditioning would work well - bubbles have a way of breaking up a fairly solid acid. However as it is, this cider is refreshing and well made. All the way through it is light and fruity - although with the acid running through it to keep it sharp. This is carried through to a moderate aftertaste which stays with you.

Being called a 'vintage', I was expecting something a little more smokey or more fully developed - this feels just like a normal cider. However, given the use and abuse of marketing language in the cider industry currently it can be forgiven.

Overall, I scored this at 72/100, which is a bronze apple. Expect something sharp, but at least it is well presented and well made!

**Information regarding where cider stands in relation to other alcoholic categories is public information available through the website of the National Association of Cider Makers. Figures used with thanks.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed - there probably are a lot of new cider-makers that are just using what comes to hand particularly in areas not associated with it and will not have cider varities to hand. That's what me and my mate do, we enjoy the craic and all that goes with it and look forward to the results but we do'nt rely on selling the stuff so if a percentage 'does'nt work' then it does'nt really matter and is put down to experience. It will be interesting to see what happens this year with the large shortfall of apples. I already know of one small-scale maker in Herefordshire that supplies locally and to a major supermarket that has lost the contract because they cannot guarantee the volume....

    Laurie -