Bomber of the Month: May
Aspall Orgainc Cyder
By: André DiMattia
Regular Price: $6.99
Sale Price: $5.99
Sale End: 5/31/2012
Hard Cider production is long with history and extremely varied in style. Many different countries from across the globe all have their distinct contributions to the category of fermented apple juice, some being bright and enticing, while others taste with the rustic charm that goes back centuries with tradition. With these varied styles finally showing up on our shelves, we have decided to dedicate May as Cider month. Each week we will focus on a single style that represents the approach of a different country. These bottles will be on sale for that week only and hopefully many will gain an appreciation for one of the world’s more versatile, engaging and refreshing of beverages.
No country is better known for their hard Cider production than that of England. The climate is wonderful for apple production with ancient wild varietals being believed to have grown as far back as 3500BC. It wasn’t until around the time of the Roman invasion of Britain where apples were then planted as the orchards that we still know today. Many incarnations of cider or cyder were created and consumed throughout the centuries with a massive breakthrough coming when the English took the technique of blending to create the overall palatable flavor of their finished product. It was from this effort of combining different styles and varieties that the range grew to include light and dry, thick and sweet and tart and intense options.
One of the most well known of English Cyder producers hails from the Shire county of Suffolk in the east region England, known as Aspall. Current production is still over seen and conducted by the eighth generation of the Chevallier family. Their stance for quality is apparent in each bottle but none representing the old family ways more so than the Organic Cyder.
Upholding the style common in the late 1700’s, the fruit is picked and hand delivered where it is carefully sorted as not to include any apple that may have rot or heavy bruises. The choice fruit is washed, minced and sent to a large press where it is compressed and single strength apple juice is extracted.
The new juice is pumped into a tank where yeast is added and an initial fermentation will take place upwards of 3-4 weeks. After the fermentation is complete, the cider is left to rest for 2 weeks so the dead and old yeast can drop out. The cider then is racked into tanks and allowed to mature, sometime for years depending on the style. Once completed and palatable, the real magic begins through the art of blending these different varieties. Each apple holds it’s subtle touches and only through the combination of these varied varieties can the bottles become what we find on our shelves.
On to the Tasting Notes:
Carbonated to a degree where bubble pour strong but dissipate as the liquid sits, the texture still retains a clean amount of liveliness. Such a delicate aroma, full of freshly cut fruit and damp wood all mingled upon the distinct apple seed purity. A touch of grain, almost wheat husk and a little dash of well water give the nose a lovely honesty. With just enough perceived sweetness to get one’s mouth watering, the faint aroma is quickly met by a much needed first sip. Pleasing with light ripe apple sugars then tart with a starchy textured tannin structure that leads into a juicy finish that is clean and quite dry. The balance between the bitter apples and the ripe dessert varieties can be felt and makes the overall flavor varied and interesting. Delicious to drink, especially if parched as this is wonderfully refreshing.
Food Pairing:Having just the right amount of sweetness to make each sip satisfying, Aspall’s Organic Cyder can be enjoyed with a varied amount of foods without fault. The bright and rounded flavor of pure apples would take pork or roasted chicken dishes very nicely. Foods that have high levels of spice such as curries or chili laced dry rubs would also go down a little easier with the apple’s cleanliness to balance it all. Foods with too much sweetness or too much richness might cancel out the delicate nature of the Cyder. Anything with a savory edge would be simply delicious next to a dry cider like the Aspall Organic.