Thursday, 13 June 2013

Hallets - Real Cider

It’s time again to review one to the delectable ciders I had sent over from Bristol in England. This review will focus on Hallets – Real Cider.

Firstly, what I really liked about this cider without even opening it was the label: ‘Traditionally Made – Real Cider’. Combined with ‘Beautifully Simple’ discreetly placed at the bottom of the bottle and I was hooked and captivated. For some crazy reason, these phrases instilled a huge amount of confidence in the product which I was about to taste. You could argue that I was judging the book by its cover, or that I was a Gullible Garry, but in all fairness it really made me excited.
The cider is made in Southern Wales by Andy and Annie Hallet under the Blaengawney Cider banner on their 25 acre property. The Real Cider is made with natural yeasts and a blend of vintage cider and fresh new season juice to really intensify the rich apple flavours. The cider is also keeved – an old French cider making technique used to naturally clear and sweeten cider. Keeving seems quite rare in the UK nowadays, with Pilton Cider and Hallets being the only two I can think of off the top of my head. The cider is said to be of medium sweetness and light in carbonation.

The colour pours a nice golden yellow which indicates possible oak vat age, and is clear in appearance. There is a nice, subtle level of carbonation with large, bold bubbles. The nose offers a stunning array of fresh primary apple aromas and fulfilling background complexity. Immediate sweet apple cider aromas are beautifully balanced with what seems to be old bourbon or rum vat notes. Lashings of bettanomyces give the whole nose an added element of barnyard, along with a rich blue cheese/mould angle.
The mouth feel offered up a beautiful, fresh medium sweetness with ever lasting waves of bitterness and gripping astringency. This is most certainly bittersweet fruit working its magic. High levels of sappy tannin and crisp penetrating acidity was perfectly balanced with the medium sweetness. Nice concentrated flavours of honey, apple peel and brettanomyces (bandaid) were rich and generous and added body. This was complexity central! But amongst all the tannin, brettanomyces and sweetness, the overall balance and structure was very impressive. On the back palate, it was smooth and rounded with nice warming alcohol.

This cider just got better and better with every sip. I was so disappointed when I took my final mouthful knowing I may never try this cider again. It was rich, layered and very intense. The tannins may be confronting to a traditional cider newbie, but I'd be confident to say that by the end of the bottle, they would be obsessed. This is a seductive and very classy cider!

Producer: Blaengawney Cider (Hallets)
Country: Wales (Crumlin, Caerphilly County Borough)
Alcohol: 6.0%


1 comment:

  1. Hi James
    Thank you for reviewing our cider and we are very pleased that you enjoyed it. It is proving very popular and we struggle to keep up with demand - I don't suppose that's a bad thing though!
    All the best.