Tuesday 2 April 2013

Worley's Premium Vintage Cider

I am the sort of person who would save the best till last. Of course, it doesn't always work out that my perception of what is the best is borne out... I guess that is the curse of assumption! But, normally I am on to a reasonably safe bet with vintage ciders. And so it is with Worley's. The cider I knew about, Mendip Hills, wasn't bad at all... but I reckon this is going to be the winner.

I do have a question for Mr Worley: Why add the word 'premium' to call it a premium vintage? Do you sell more than one kind of vintage, and this is the better one? Okay, apologies for being flippant. There is a more serious point here though; adding the word 'Premium' to a drink generally makes me suspicious - whilst it ought to have be meaningful it has been abused to almost worthlessness by those huge beverage companies who slap it onto whatever tripe they put to the public...

Anyway, I guess it's none of my business.

Premium Vintage is a 6.2% cider "lightly sparkling vintage cider from Somerset". Or so says the label. Pressed back in 2011, it has certainly had sufficient time to age properly - although I fear it looks filtered and processed (i.e. filtered, pasteurised and carbonated). Lets see - and if it is, lets see how much is lost.

Despite this cider having been run through filtering/pasteurisation/carbonation/wrung through hot towels and made to sit several exams, I am getting a smokey aroma to it. This is great and to me indicates that it is a proper vintage cider. It is also quite interesting as filtering and pasteurisation often wipes this sort of nuance out! There is bittersweet fruit and acid in the smell too and, without being too la-di-da I am getting fruit blossom in the nose too.

The taste is great. The smokiness doesn't come through in the taste so much but this is a fully tannic cider with a little more than a touch of acid to balance things. It is quite a dry cider, with the acid providing background noise to the fruity and complex cider taste. Very drinkable!

The aftertaste is moderate in length and dry. The tannin wins in the end and it is slightly puckering.

I like this cider a lot. It is certainly my favourite of the Worley's and well worth looking out for. I bought this one from the Bristol Cider Shop, but I am sure its available in many more places around Somerset. Sure the processing has had some impact on the flavour and profile of the drink but it is done pretty lightly. If I know anything of Pershore (who do this sort of thing and I believe did so for Worley's) they have a good handle on the process, however, they do it to order so hats off to Worley's for getting it done gently!

A well deserved silver apple with a score of 86/100.


  1. Thanks for that nice review. To answer a couple of your points: the 'Premium' bit of Premium Vintage was supposed to indicate it was the best cider we made of that vintage. This was a spicy mix of early-season Bittersweets and Sharps from a lovely south-Somerset orchard.
    And yes, it's processed. It was our first attempt - not at Pershore though. And we were very pleased with the results. What surprised us was how it opened up our ciders to people who wouldn't consider drinking our draught. Yes, there are some compromises, but it's still 100% juice and it brings good cider to a wider audience.

  2. Great clarification Neil. Thanks for that! Very nice indeed:-)

    Still don't think the 'premium' does it justice - though I accept I am not perhaps your target market.


  3. Hi there!

    I've been reading your blog since last year. It's great how you provide a tiny bits of extra information in your reviews. Though the number of reviews is so vast that I don't think I'll be able to read even half of it.

    I'm interested in differences of European ciders. I know that French are sweeter and British are more bitter, but what about other countries? Have you tried ciders from Spain, Germany, Russia etc.?

    If you've already written about them somewhere, could you kindly point me to the exact blog entry? I feel a bit dazed with tens of different tags on the left of the webpage. Can you also point out to some non-British cider brands that are worth buying?

    Best regards,

  4. Michael,

    No problem - Try the spreadsheet in 'scoring summary' as you can sort it into ciders that you like (saves reading the ones you don't!)

    I do write reviews on other ciders - Mostly French at the moment... you can find them at the end of the Index of Reviews. I don't think its particularly true that French are sweeter and British is drier - French are fizzier!

    There are plenty of French cidre that is worth a shot. A rule of thumb is to look for the AOC label... though I have to say its not a guarantee. Markets in towns in Northern France are usually a good hunting ground!

    Hope this helps