Sunday, 12 July 2015

Brady's Lookout Cider - 2014 Methode Traditionelle Premium and Wild

I always really enjoy seeing new Tasmanian ciders hit the market. In the past, I have made it pretty clear I have a soft spot for the apple isle. There’s some real innovation happening courtesy of some stellar cider minds - Karina Dambergs (Red Brick Road), Clive Crosssley (Red Sails), John Cole (Wilmot Hills), Mark Robertson (Lost Pippin) to name a few. Chris and Caroline Brown from Brady’s Lookout Cider are two names which could easily fit into this category of skilled cider custodians. Their resume is impressive. From studying cider making in England, to visiting cider regions in England, France and Germany. This is the sort of thing I like to see. A producer actively going out of their way to learn the skill of cider making. Why not learn from the best cider making countries?!
Brady’s Lookout is located in the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay dominated region of the Tamar Valley, just outside of Launceston, Tasmania. Here Chris and Caroline have a functioning cider mill, with an apple orchard currently under development. This orchard will eventually consist of both culinary and cider apple varieties. They currently pick their own fruit in the Tamar Valley, and use it to produce their line-up of Methode Tradionelle ciders. The portfolio currently sits with two ciders, one being fermented with earlier season fruit and commercial yeast (Premium Cuvee), and a second with mid-season fruit and wild yeast (Wild Cuvee). All riddled and hand disgorged, the Browns produce in their words “light, dry effervescent ciders”. Traditional techniques are used in the production, with a twelve month maturation in bottle upon release. Now we’re talking!! Both ciders sit at a whopping 9.4 per cent alcohol and bottled in a 750mL. Great presentation too. Love it.   

Wild Cuvee
The cider pours into the glass with a nice foam mousse, with large bubbles and fine bead. The golden straw colour is impressive and the disgorging ensures a clean finish. The nose is brimming with strawberries and cream with a seamless floral edge. Could whiff this for hours. A hint of a soapy wash leads into a funky twang courtesy of the wild yeast. Complex and fresh are key here. Great all round first impression, and shows cultured yeasts are not always best.
The palate is just as impressive. Lean mid-season picked fruit gives backbone, which is balanced well with just a tiny dab of what could be tirage sweetness. Toffee apples and confectionary flavours appears to linger with small hints of apple seed bitterness. A monster alcohol hit towards the back palate gives weight closing with a refreshingly dry finish. A really nice alternative to Champagne in my eyes.
Great little tipple. Well made, and shows the complexities of a wild ferment. This gets the big thumbs up.


Premium Cuvee
This cider pours a shade darker than the wild, with a little less carbonation (or “Lighter in Fizz” in my tasting notes). However, a nice mousse is present and again nice and clear from the disgorging. The nose gives off a distracting cooked note, similar to burnt toffee. Hard to get past it. But dig deep and a small hit of spice, and under ripe floral apples are present. Lacks the complexity and finesse of the wild. Commercial yeast strains should give fresh primary apple aromas. Also no real yeasty notes from the twelve months bottle maturation pre disgorging. Bummer.

Super delicate apple flavours on the palate, with good structure and focus. Hints of back palate bitterness, and texture are shimmers of light in a palate which lacks the ‘flavour punch’ of the wild cuvee. This cider is so much more lean and fragile. Positively, it holds the high alcohol well.

Unfortunately this cider was a bit off the mark for me. It fell a touch short and was out classed by its wild sibling. However it was clean and fault free, and did show some good technique. I would just like to see it with more gusto, seeing as its labelled “Premium”. Great effort none the less.


Producer: Brady's Lookout
Style: Methode Traditionelle (Dry)
Country: Australia (Tamar Valley, Tasmania)
Alcohol: 9.4%


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