Monday, 2 September 2013

Pagan Cider - Apple Cider

Pagan Cider is a relatively new brand in Australia, and like many commendable ciders, this apple cider comes from Tasmania. The apples, pears and cherries which are used in the Pagan line up all come from the Huon Valley. We all know the reputation this apple growing region has in producing fine, world class cider. Pagan came about when two men named Mick Dubois and Harry Moses started to make pretty solid batches of home brew. At the same time by sheer coincidence, Winemaking Tasmania (who most notably contract process wine), were investing heavily in cider making equipment. It was from here Pagan Cider was born as a commercial cider as the two forces banded together. The cider is now produced wholly at the Cambridge facility, along with Franks Cider.
The Pagan apple cider is considered ‘super premium’, and only made in smaller volumes with whole fruit free of concentrates, flavourings and sugars. Our Pagan ‘Oath and Law’ is the Pagan Promise. The dessert apples are sourced from fourth generation grower Andrew Griggs of the Lucaston Park Orchards. Pagan Cider has also been nicknamed the ‘Champagne of Ciders’, by who I don’t know, but to me it seems overly presumptuous. Big call, but the proof is in the pudding they say. So let’s have a look at this cider, and see if it deserves the prestigious hype.
The cider poured a very (and I mean very) light straw, and was filtered to clear. The apple had initial over carbonation issues in its first release. But it was great to see a new lowered explosion of bubbles, fading to a fine bead in this batch – perfect. The nose was a sexy little number. Seductive/feminine upfront citrus, fresh red apples, musk, peach and perfume added beautiful varietal purity. The exceptional cleanliness was fresh, crisp and very inviting. This was a simple nose but with impressively tight, elegant and inviting features. What it highlighted well was the power of the Huon Valley fruit. It did show the finesse fine champagne displays, so this must be commended.  
A balanced level of medium sweetness added great weight to the mouth feel. This sweetness was perfectly balanced with a tangy acid backbone and some phenolic grip. Flavours of pure musk, rich apple and sweet apricot offered nice, smart varietal characters. The cider felt soft and fluffy as it glided past the tongue with ease. The back palate did fall a touch short with the apple characters diminishing away into what seemed to be a sherbet character. The lower alcohol did not affect palate weight, and no watered down characters were evident. Again, this was a simple but effective cider. The palate was soft, well balanced with just a little fading out towards the end. However, it was a pleasure to be enchanted by its clarity and style.
I like what Pagan are trying to achieve with this cider. I felt as every mouth full went down, I was drinking a little bit of Tassie too. The cider is soft, flirtatious and seductive – it will win you over (and this is coming from a self confessed cider purist). I can see this being quite a popular offering, and I love how it highlights that a simple, dessert apple cider can be so charming. It actually reminds me a lot of the Napoleone Ciders from the Yarra Valley. I recommend you give this cider a try. Is it the ‘Champagne of Cider’ though? I’ll let you decide!!! Ha!
Producer: Pagan Cider
Country: Australia (Cambridge, Tasmania)
Alcohol: 4.5%
Rating: 14.5 out of 20

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