Tuesday, 15 January 2013



So whilst minding my own business one day in mid to late 2012, I stumbled across a new and somewhat different cider from New South Wales in Australia. The cider was being marketed hard via social media in and around the Sydney area – and it was gaining a following super fast. I must be brutally honest with this and say my first initial reactions of a bright pink ostentatious label, and the ‘dcider’ pun name did not sit overly well. I remember thinking I hope this is not another new comer trying to exploit cider and capitalise on its new famed success. But I was intrigued about it from the word go, as I wanted to see if this flashy bottles content matched the outer ‘pazazz’. Now fellas, not to be sexist or over judgemental but yes, it’s a pink label and yes some of you may feel a little ‘weirded’ drinking this out in town. But seriously, it’s 2013 and who cares. Don’t let little insecurities or the thought of drinking a supposed ‘chick drink’ ruin a perfectly good time. With this product, there is no need to. Good, glad we got that sorted.
The cider is made by Jeff Aston from Eling Forrest Winery, who is also known for making the Apple Thief ciders once upon a time. I wonder if Jeff is the ‘young, sexy winemaking genius’ which is written on the back of the label? Cheeky. The winery (Eling Forrest) is located in the New South Wales highlands, almost smack bang in between Sydney (NSW) and Canberra (ACT) and is the home to dcider. The cider is made using the premium apples from the cool climate Batlow region, which is located on the western side of the Great Dividing Range in NSW. So this cider gets a tick right away, as it sources its fruit from one of Australia’s premier apple growing regions. The apples in question for this cider comprise of 50 per cent pink lady, with the last 50 per cent consisting of gala, galaxy, red delicious and other red apple varieties. I’ll come back to these varieties when I discuss the cider in detail, as they play an important roll to the style of this cider.
For something different, I thought I would take the carton of dcider away with me over New Years where I could get a few more opinions over a more casual setting. The general consensus for this cider over a couple days was quite overwhelmingly positive, and was really enjoyed by all (especially by my Brother who is an avid Strongbow drinker! – I know it's horrible). So why was the cider a hit? I’ll tell you why.
On initial inspection, the colour did scare me as it was a very pale straw bordering on clear. To me this screams “THIN WITH NO TASTE!!”. The carbonation was light with a fast fading mousse and large bubble bead. There was two big surprises with this cider, and the nose was the first (I’ll explain the other in a tick). Huge wafts of musk, red apples, grape fruit, passionfruit and kumquats leach out the glass. This complimented by gorgeous floral and herbaceous characters and a hint of sweet candied apple. Some creamy and buttery complexity also shone through which rounded out the whole experience. This nose is seriously fresh (handled reductively – no oxygen contact whilst making), ultra focused, clean and very pure. I really loved the sweet angle of this nose being soft, mellow, and super inviting.
The palate gave off the second of the surprises, with its big and bold medium up-front sweetness combined with an amazing creamy texture. This textural component was way out of left field, and I didn’t see it coming. It gave the palate a whole new dimension. Now, Jeff’s vision was to create a cider with a ‘rounder, creamier character on the pallet’ and he has successfully achieved this via his apple choice. Gala, galaxy and red delicious all combined have darker flavours and creamier textures when eating them, so it makes sense that this would follow through to the cider. This is a very well thought out and clever apple selection, and shows eating apples can achieve diversity and style. The palate is rich, luscious and fat with good balancing acidity - from the pink lady's. There is an addictive red apple character which lingers, along with the prominent creamy texture (maybe some lees contact was carried out?). The higher residual sugar gives the cider mouth feel tonnes of weight, and the soft carbonation offers some excitement. I am super impressed with this pallet, as it was able to capture the purity of the apple very well.
So my initial worries about this cider where put to rest when I actually tasted the product. I can see this cider gaining a huge cult following in Sydney (if it hasn’t already), as it really captures your imagination. It’s quirky, very inviting and would appeal well to many of the younger consumers. The only real bummer is some traditionalist may see this as commercial apple lolly water, being sweet and packaged colourfully. But it’s definitely new wave, and is a style not really seen in Aussie ciders. The sweetness may also become a little cloying over a night, especially coupled with the creaminess. But overall, I think you will be pleasantly surprised with this offering – a real surprise packet. So go out and give it a try and you be the dcider (Now I am falling into the cider pun game!).  
Producer: Eling Forrest Winery
Country: Australia (Batlow/Sutton Forrest – NSW)
Alcohol: 4.5%
Website: www.dcider.com.au  

Rating: 8 out of 10


1 comment:

  1. great review. I would have been skeptical too at first but you just don't know until you get inside.