Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Pear Cider/Perry Tasting

So I thought it would be a cool idea if I was to taste through some Australian pear ciders and perry’s and jot down my thoughts and findings. I have taken out the formal approach and focused on the short, sharp and shiny – sometimes that’s better. I won’t score them, but l hope this will act as a guide and help you with your next purchase. I want to help take the umming and ahhing out of the decision making process. My quick fire reviews will be on examples sourced from South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. Please enjoy!!

Spreyton Cider Co – Perry
This perry is very new to the market, and is made in Spreyton which is just out of Davenport in Northern Tasmania. It’s the most unadulterated of the bunch, being the only cloudy example and having a much higher alcohol content. It’s also made with a number of varieties of pears including: Packham, Buere Bosc, Josephine and Commice. This perry does have a 10 per cent addition of apple cider too. So the perry is nice and cloudy, with the tiniest amount of carbonation – possibly naturally carbonated. There is good (but subtle) earthy, meaty/yeasty, and confectionery characters and some nice hints of citrus round out the nose. The palate is quite neutral, but has notable juicy rounded sweetness, with a drying/warming finish. There was a small textural component too, which worked well with the soft and restrained acidity. Some back palate minerality was also a nice addition.   

This is a good, simple and easy perry which is unpretentious but very refreshing.
Producer: Spreyton Cider Company
Country: Australia (Spreyton, Tasmania)
Alcohol: 7.0%

Napoleone and Co Cider- Pear Cider
This pear cider is just another little beauty coming out of the stables of Napoleone in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. This is the little brother to the very popular and highly awarded Methode Traditionnelle pear cider which Napoleone have mastered. But this ‘little bother’, is not to be overlooked. It’s made with the Packham and Buere Bosc varieties. It’s filtered clear and has a nice level of carbonation when poured into the glass. Lovely exotic fruits, lychee's, and juicy pear characters are all woven together with an endearing floral bouquet. The nose is very clean and pretty. The palate is like biting into a pear, with an impressive purity of flavour. There is some creamy richness, earthiness and spice combined with a lower level of sweetness. The pear flavours carry onto the back palate almost seamlessly. This is a very fresh, crisp and clean pear cider – very elegant.

A very nice pear cider which is clean and pure, with good fruit definition.
Producer: Napoleone and Co Cider
Country: Australia (Coldstream – Yarra Valley, Victoria)
Alcohol: 4.9%

The Hills Cider Company  - Pear Cider

This is a company from Adelaide/ Adelaide Hills in South Australia which has only gone from strength to strength recently. Walk though the Adelaide pubs and no doubt they will have The Hills Cider on tap. It’s a success story which you would only dream of. I remember tasting this pear cider almost two years ago and back then, it was a very neutral and very subtle drink. It was nice, don’t get me wrong but wind the clock forward to today, and this pear cider is somewhat different. It’s made from 100 per cent Adelaide Hills Packham pears (which I am a huge fan of), and is in theory a very simple example. But oh no, it’s far from that. It has a more golden colour and is filtered clear with a medium amount of fizz. But the nose! Dear Lord, the huge and I mean huge amount of fresh Packham characters is mind blowing. Put it simply, it’s like pure juice. But other little nuances of pineapples, subtle citrus and nuttiness also feature. A tiny bit of volatile acidity (acetic acid or vinegar) is present too. The nose also features a creamy edge. But overall, a super impressive nose which is powerful, intense, clean and fresh. The palate has good upfront pear sweetness, and a higher level of acidity giving it focus. The carbonation is nice and creamy too, offering up tonnes of body and refreshment. All I can say is this pear cider has massive juicy pear flavours all wrapped up into a neat little package. It’s also appropriate to note that this pear cider won a Best in Class and a silver medal at the recent 2012 Australian Cider Awards.

Focused, amazingly varietal, very refreshing and a great summer’s drink.

Producer: The Hills Cider Company
Country: Australia (Adelaide Hills, South Australia)
Alcohol: 5.0%

Houghton Cider Company – Perry Cider

Brett Thorburn not only is the maker for Houghton Cider, but he’s an avid campaigner for ‘real cider’. His passion for real cider is seen in is own offerings with only the most natural of ingredients used. Houghton is a small little town located in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia – just a wee drive out of Adelaide. Brett utilises many apple and pear growers throughout the Hills, and keeps his ciders fresh, simple and uncomplicated. The pear varieties used in his perry are Packham, Lemon Bergamot and Williams and all come from the one grower. The colour is the darkest of all the examples, being dark golden orange. There is a very low level of carbonation – which is a Houghton Cider stylistic trait. On the nose is an unmistakable amount of upfront volatile acidity or vinegar. It’s huge! It reminds me of a botrytis wine. The positive is some of this blows off with a few swirls of the glass. Underneath the high VA levels nice earthy, honey, golden syrup, fairy floss and pear characters leap out at you. It’s a very big, rich, candied and juicy nose. The palate offers up a sweet, candied, sugary sweetness with big and bold juicy, fleshy pear notes. I can seriously compare it to a large twirl lolly pop that you used to get from a show. The VA does follow through onto the palate, and adds some heat. A pleasing red apple characters is also evident which adds more juiciness. Overall it’s rich and full with lots of mouth filling body.

Big, daring and rewarding if you can get past the huge vinegary levels. 
Producer: Houghton Cider Company
Country: Australia (Adelaide Hills, South Australia)
Alcohol: 5.1%

So there we have it, four good quality pear ciders/perry’s all with their subtle differences in style and composition. So what did I get out of this? I found that there was no real tannin or astringency present, which really is to be expected. This is unlike traditional perry which has mouth gripping tannins that coat your teeth. All had medium to low carbonation levels too, which was good to see as these examples all boarder on the softer, more feminine style. Being made with pears which have a certain level of unfermentable sugars (sorbitol), all the examples has some degree of sweetness which aided in adding body and form. Lastly, I saw some great earthiness and loads of juiciness. This makes sense, as picture biting into a pear – you get great earthiness and juiciness don’t you. Have fun giving them a shot!


1 comment:

  1. Well Cider is certainly on the rise here but a long way to go. Great short reviews.