Monday, 6 May 2013

Worley's - 2011 Premium Vintage Cider

Well off we go on the first instalment of All About Cider’s ‘Special Edition’ cider reviews. To recap, I recently had a mixture of twelve English and Welsh ciders and perry's sent over from the Bristol Cider Shop. Many of these examples most certainly have not even seen Australian shores, so hence my desire to get them over to our big, brown land to try! Patience is definitely not my strong suit, and the temptation of having them sit in my house was too powerful. So here we are now! Just to note, this is purely a review with no scores. When I am in the presence of such cider royalty, who am I to judge with a score, right?

The first little ray of sunshine on a cloudy day called Worley’s comes from the county of Somerset, with Neil Worley being its founder. What I absolutely love is Worley’s came to fruition through a hobby which got ‘way out of control’ (the same sort of story which Mike Henney from Henney’s in Herefordshire encountered). If I was in a position of living in the beautiful country side, having interests in making cider, and having perfect cider apples at my disposal, I too would let my ‘hobby’ engulf my every day life. Sounds like a perfect sea change….I wish. Worley’s use up to sixteen different varieties from selected southern Somerset orchards, with the philosophy to let the fruit do all the talking. Wild yeast’s are also part of the Worley’s style, which adds depth and complexity to their cider. This type of cider makes me want to get up off my chair and dance around the room to Gangnam style. This is the stuff that really floats my boat, and is why I obtained this natural infatuation for cider.       
The 2011 vintage (which I must stress, is NOT available in Australia), was made using a select blend of earlier ripening cider apples. These included Somerset Red Streak, Brown’s Apple, White Jersey, Ashton Bitter, Major and Ellis Bitter. As I have discussed in earlier posts, these apple varieties are probably completely foreign to you, but they all are a nice mix of bittersweet or sharp varieties.

The colour of the cider was a beautiful gold and was filtered clear. The cider was back-sweetened post maturation; therefore sterile filtration was a must to eliminate any refermentation issues. A very light sprtiz was seen in the glass, until it completely disappeared to resemble a still after a couple minutes.
The nose was a real treat and oozed complexity and class. Lovely fresh hints of spice pantry, apple skin and orange blossoms were deep and concentrated. More secondary features of old wood (which also included a brettanomyces/band aid note), musty old barn and cold store added depth and intensity. As a whole the nose was rich, luscious, intense, powerful but impressively very restrained for a wild ferment. What I loved was this amazing floral character, like what I would imagine if I was walking through a Somerset orchard at bloom in the spring time. This tied the whole nose together perfectly. Just a real nasal pleasure.

The palate really upped the ante and propelled this Vintage cider into the stratosphere of Somerset awesomeness. Mouth filling medium dry sweetness was beautifully balanced by waves of mouth sapping drying astringency and apple seed bitterness. The bittersweet and sharp fruit really was the stand out here. The cider apple astringency demanded respect, but if done, rewarded the tastebuds with textural overload. All the key areas of the cider where in harmonious balance, from the astringency, to the acidity, to the alcohol. It was all fantastically complex, and showed elements of rusticity too. Juicy flavours of cherry apple, smokey oak, red apples, roses and earth all teased the flavour receptors in the mouth and sent them to flavour country. A light fizz lifted all the flavours and really made them stand out. The best words used to describe this cider on the palate consist of: Juicy, rich, complex, balanced and rewarding.
Wow guys, this is the real deal of cider. This is a cider which restores a huge amount of faith amongst all the concentrated, mass produced and poorly made examples we see more and more of these days. What I love too is this highlights that cider can age perfectly, contrary to many beliefs out there. Like a wine, cider can get so much better with age, and this is a prime example. A cider style like this would also easily slot into the slip cordon between Ponting and Warne of Australian consumer’s palates and would continually take one handed dive catches all day long. I rate this cider very highly, and I would go as far as saying this is one of the best ciders I’ve ever tasted – up there with Eric Borderlet and Gwynt y Ddraig. This is real top shelf booze and is a serious cider. A real privilege to drink.  

Producer: Worley’s Cider
Country: England (Shepton Mallet, Somerset)
Alcohol: 6.2%


1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a cracker.

    I must admit though, I am really suprised that they back sweeten the cider. I thought that was a trick reserved for novices who continually let the cider ferment to dry even when they intend not to...

    I've been considering back sweetening some batches in a month or two after they mature. Any thoughts on a keg to keg filter followed by concentrated juice (mixture of apple & pear)?