Saturday, 30 June 2012

Aspall – Draught Suffolk Cyder



Aspall – Draught Suffolk Cyder
To the unfamiliar and/or geographically challenged, Suffolk is a county in the east of England which borders the North Sea. It is known for its agricultural capabilities, which makes sense if apple orchards are present. Traditional English ciders are more commonly found in the west to south west parts of the country, with Herefordshire and Somerset being the most popular. So to see a cyder from this part of England is really interesting. What I love about this cyder company is the tradition and passion. It has been making cyder since 1728 and today is still being produced by the 8th generation of the Chevallier family. Obviously things have changed a little over the last few centuries, but it’s always fascinating to see such heritage and history in a bottle.

What strikes me immediately with this product is the really funky champagne style bottle shape. It’s really inviting and stands out amongst the gazillion ciders in a local bottle shop. Who says you don’t judge a book by its cover right? It’s available in the standard 330mL bottles, or the larger 500mL’s here in Australia, but a draught style cider is usually more commonly served on tap in a local pub. 

I’ve had this cyder a fair few times I must admit, but the one thing that gets me every time is the sulphur levels. They’re high!  On the nose and palate, I can’t escape the steely sulphur dioxide character. This could be present in the Aspall export products to help preserve the cyder for the round the world trip to Australia, that’s my guess?

There is a good light level of carbonation, which blends in well with the clear, filtered, lighter golden straw colour. In the glass, besides the sulphur, you get a subtle apple peel character intertwined with a pleasant spice note. Once the cyder warms up a touch in the glass, a more floral note appears, almost like rose petals. Overall the nose is quite subdued, but if you go searching you will find some redeeming features. Palate wise, it’s not as interesting with no real apple characters present. It has some upfront sweetness/sour balance, but it finishes super short. This cyder consists of a blend of dessert and ciders apples, which can explain the real tartness/sourness you get when you take in a mouthful. The sweetness does coat the mouth in a pleasant way, with the bubble lifting the overall experience.

Really in summary, this cyder is clean, simple, faultless but a little straight forward. I do believe though that this would be a good introduction for anyone wanting to give English cyder a go. At the end of the day, it’s a reliable cyder which ticks the boxes for what really is becoming quite a popular drink here in Australia.  

Producer: Aspall
Country: England
Alcohol: 5.5%

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Cheers!

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