Friday, 17 May 2013
Rich's Cider Golden Years Vintage Cider 2011 - Lambrook Pippin
Rich's ciders back to back?! Well, its all I have. Apart from about 15 new bottles of cider that I am yet to photograph:-) Oh, and a few Perries... yup... am brushing up on my perry terminology and will have a crack at them soon. But for now, these Rich's have been standing me in good stead.
This is another single variety. As such I am going to put it under Cider101 as well as a review (probably mainly for my own reference, but its a growing list of single variety apples which could be useful!) I like Rich's for their odd verieties; I hadn't heard of, let alone used either Dunkerton's or Lambrook Pippin before now. OK, Yarlington Mill is a single variety that many producers make. To be honest it is a lovely apple so a bit of a no brainer (unless you are like me and insist on making blends to get the best flavour in the cider:-).
So, Lambrook Pippin is another variety I have no experience of. Turning to my reliable source of apple info, Ashridge Trees, I find the 'improved' Lambrook Pippin is a mild sharp apple which is as useful for cooking as it is cider. That should make this review interesting! It harvests mid season (October time) so would be great in a blend - But these reviews are all about finding out what it brings to the party. Oh, and one thing to mention to Ashridge from their notes: cider apples do not need to be pressed "as quickly as possible" - bletting them (allowing them to fully ripen and start to soften) is a traditional - and I would think 'best' practice.
So, lets get on with trying this cider then. Once again it is a highly polished product, although with a silver apple for the Dunkerton's perhaps I ought to learn to forgive this a bit more than I do! It pours out golden and quite fizzy and clean as a whistle. I'm not sure if I have shaken the bottle, but it is really quite fizzy!!!
The smell is interesting. There is some fruit in it but more noticeable is a funky, light note (I assume this is the sharpness of the apple, doing it's thing) This is not unpleasant and is very distinctive.
Often when people tell me a cider is based upon a sharp apple I think it is going to be very sharp - eye watering. Unfortunately for some of the newer entrants to the cider market (mainly where apples come from gardens or 'found around the county') this is unbearably true. However, it doesn't have to be like that - there are excellent ciders made from sharp apples (when done well and with respect to the varieties and character of the cider). What Rich's have done is to take a mild sharp apple - as in not very sharp - and make a cider from it. The resulting cider is very nice indeed.
There is light fruit running through the taste - oranges almost - and this works with the rounded sharpness. The acid itself is backed by a bit of tannin running through the cider (which is also a bit of sweet). Some of the carbonation stays with the drink and breaks it all up somewhat, making this a nice and interesting drink. I am left with a slightly watery taste at the end which is a little odd (but not bad).
The aftertaste is moderate in length and rather drying (there is a moderate tannin running through the drink too).
It is very nice. Perhaps not as nice as the Dunkerton's, although I may be splitting hairs a bit. A score of 77/100 is a solid bronze apple all the same.