Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Dr Pilkington's Miracle Cider

I don’t know about you, but I am thinking some clever marketing has gone into this cider label. Dr Pilkington’s Miracle Cider would have to be one of the cheekiest, mysterious and somewhat endearing cider label concepts on the market today. ‘Made under Doctors orders’ and ‘When it works it’s a miracle’ are just a couple mischievous little slogans which are pasted over the bottle. A Tasmanian Cider Maker tweeted to me recently that “cider should be fun”, and you can’t help think this statement holds true for Dr Pilkington’s. You get that sense of a fun, tongue in cheek beverage designed for simple drinking. I also can’t ignore the awesome larger 500mL VB hand grenade bottle shape, which reminds me of the old school long necks.
The cider itself is produced in collaboration between McLaren Vale wine producer Chapel Hill, and the McLaren Vale Beer Company. Under the supervision of Winemaker Bryn Richards, the cider is made at the Chapel Hill winery. I recently visited Chapel Hill winery and had a solid in-depth chat with Bryn regarding Dr Pilkington’s. In Bryn’s eyes, the cider was made to be simple and very straight forward but have significant drinkability virtues – nothing more, nothing less. The fruit sourced is actually bulk juice bought from a juicing plant in the Adelaide Hills, and trucked down to the Vale for processing. The purchasing of bulk juice is common practise in Australian cider, with actual physical on site milling and pressing more common with artisan/boutique producers – especially in Tasmania.

The Dr Pilkington’s cider poured a very light straw which fit in well with the simpler, dessert apple style. The carbonation was aggressive at first but died down fast to a fine soft bead. I found the nose to be quite similar in character to that of a white wine. Intense fresh citrus aromas of tight lemon and lime dominated with other contributing aromas of lemonade, Granny Smith apple skin and asparagus. The potent citrus notes made it a little hard to find any real definitive varietal apple characters in my eyes. But overall, the nose was fresh and clean but very simple and uncomplicated. It was almost to the point of being a little uninspiring and tedious, but that is a stylistic trait.
The simplicity of this cider was evident on the palate too. The large up front C02 bubbles where quite aggressive, bordering on soda water. To be honest, the cider did taste a little like soda water which had a hint of apple flavouring put in for good measure. I know this may sound gross, but I did burp a lot with this cider as a direct result of the high dissolved carbon dioxide levels. There where some nice dry fresh apple flavours, but I found them being drowned out by a watery mouth feel. A ruthless acidic back bone did add structure, and a hint of tannin grip provided some much needed texture. The back palate was a combination of lip smacking acidity, large bubbles and steely sulphur dioxide, but with no real dominate apple flavours. The dryness of the whole package however, was actually quite refreshing and made the cider quite drinkable.

Right, so the brief from Bryn Richards was for a simple and drinkable cider, and it wasn’t ever meant to set the world on fire in terms of cider superiority. So did it nail the brief? It most certainly did. This cider would be absolutely perfect on tap, in a nice cold glass with your best buds as company. This is where this cider would really excel. It’s drinkable, refreshing and not full of any scary components which would turn consumers off – big tick there. It’s just pure 100 per cent fermented Adelaide Hills apple juice. But I would describe this style as the short, back and sides of Australian cider. Its downfall is that it is very basic, and may leave you yearning for something with a little more oomph and gusto.   
Producer: McLaren Vale Beer Company
Country: Australia (McLaren Vale, South Australia)
Alcohol: 5.0%
Website: www.drpilkingtons.com

Rating: 11 out of 20


1 comment:

  1. I only discovered this cider yesterday. It is one of only two ciders in this country that could be regarded as dry, the other being Mercury dry (you don't count Strongbow as it is rubbish). Therefore, in my books it makes it a great drinking cider.