There are currently 4 ciders in the range:
1. Vintage Bramley - dry, sparkling, apple cider
2. Jumping Bunny - medium, sparkling apple cider (sold out temporarily)
3. Plucky Pheasant - dry, still, apple and pear cider
4. Orchard Duet - sweet, still, apple and pear cider
All our ciders are produced using 100% juice from our own orchards. The ripest fruit is hand-pressed in the autumn, then undergoes a long slow fermentation over the winter.
Wild yeasts from the ancient orchard ferment the juice. These comprise a succession of several different naturally occurring yeast varieties, rather than a single strain laboratory culture. Each adds its own nuance to the cider, giving a subtle complexity and characterful flavour.
In spring the cider is bottled. The dry ciders are bottled as there are, meaning that the only ingredient in these are fruit. For medium and sweet ciders a sweetener is added at this stage.
No sterilising chemicals are used, so the ciders are 'live'. This means that a further fermentation can take place in the bottle, which softens the acidity of the cider, although, as we use bramley apples the ciders will always be quite sharp. The secondary fermentation also adds to the complexity of the cider, bringing subtle buttery tones.
The ciders are matured for over a year, giving them a vintage character. The flavours round off and become more mellow, but, given the vigorous flavour that they started with, they still pack a hefty punch to the taste buds!
Storage and pouring
The ciders have a natural sediment as they are bottle conditioned. This has settled during maturation to leave a crystal clear cider. If the cider has been agitated then it may become hazy or even cloudy. Some people prefer it like this, giving them a scrumpy style farmhouse cider. However, if left to settle for a few days the cider should clear.
Store the cider somewhere cool, such as a pantry. It doesn't need to be kept in the fridge, in fact, over-chilling the cider will reduce the intensity of the flavour. The cider will keep well and may even improve a little, but eventually it will become past its best. As the cider has already been matured I'd recommend drinking it fairly soon after purchase.
To pour the cider off the sediment I remove the cap carefully, to avoid shaking the bottle. I elevate the bottle to eye level then pour slowly and steadily into slightly tilted pint glass. When I get near to the bottom of the bottle I slow down and when the sediment starts to move towards the neck of the bottle I stop pouring, leaving around a centimetre of cloudy cider in the bottle.
Welcome to the range...
Vintage Bramley - dry, sparkling, apple cider
The cider is made from apples from our very oldest trees, some around 100 years old. It's been matured in the bottle for over a year to soften the acidity and develop complexity of flavour.
There's a good hiss when the cap comes off and plenty of fizz when it's poured, but it's a natural carbonation that doesn't froth up in the way that some drinks that are pumped full of carbon dioxide do.
The cider is a golden straw colour and has a cidery aroma with subtle hints of fresh green apples.
As it's made from bramley apples it has a sharp acid hit of mild fruit flavour on the first sip, then the minerally character of the cider comes through, followed by a clean crisp finish.
There are subtle complex tangy flavours derived from the methods of production, but the main feature of the cider is a unique intense punch of thirst quenching dryness.
Jumping Bunny - medium, sparkling, apple cider (sold out)
The cider shares the same production credentials as Vintage Bramley, but is sweetened to please those who prefer a medium or sweeter cider.
It's a pale golden colour and, when poured, streams of tiny bubbles rise up in the glass. The aroma is of sweet dessert apples. The cider has a good natural fizziness, with a finer mousse than is usual in ciders.
The cider has rounded mild fruit flavours and a sharp acid tang. It's made from bramley apples, like apple pies are, but the appley flavours are gentler and are combined with an alcoholic cidery nature.
It feels soft on the tongue and is a refreshing, easy drinking cider. It's highly quaffable, but it's worth sipping slowly to appreciate the complexity lying below the surface, with minerally undertones.
Plucky Pheasant - dry, still, apple and pear cider
The cider is made using bramley apples and conference pears. The pears in the orchard all ripen within a very short time of each other, so the timing of juicing the fruit is critical.
The aroma is slightly floral and the cider is almost totally still, having just a subtle spritz. It's a clear, pale gold colour.
The apples give a sharp, crisp character to the cider that is balanced by the gentleness of the pears to give a cider of moderate acidity. The sugars from the apples are fermented to absolute dryness, but a hint of sweetness remains from pears.
The cider is very drinkable, with a mellow nature and a smooth feel in the mouth. It has a light fruitiness that starts with apple cider and finishes with a nutty pear-skin aftertaste. The initial impression is that of a balanced, refreshing cider, but further down the glass, as the palate adapts to the flavours, the underlying complexity becomes more apparent.
Orchard Duet - sweet, still, apple and pear cider
The cider is made in the same way as Plucky Pheasant, but has sweetener added to produce an agreeable, easy drinking cider.
The cider has a pleasant, slightly floral aroma and is almost totally still, having just a subtle spritz. It has a clear, attractive golden colour.
The main flavour is a cidery fruitiness. It has a pronounced sweetness and a smooth clean taste. The apples bring a level of tangy interest that combines well with the sweet flavours from the pears. The cider finishes with a nutty, slightly peppery taste of biting through a fresh pear skin.
There is some subtlety underlying the balanced, velvety quality of the cider and it's worth taking time over the drinking.
Fans of this cider have said that it slips down dangerously quickly and is a really quaffable, cracking cider for a lazy summer evening.