Saturday, 29 November 2008

Raw Quality

Today was a choice between watching the struggling England rugby union team play the mighty All Blacks in a cosy Uppingham pub, or a tedious racking off and blending session in the freezing cold cider house. On balance frostbite and boredom in the cider house seemed the most rewarding option...

The Rockingham Forest Cider which we pressed in October has almost finished it's initial fermentation. Most of the tubs are showing little or no sign of activity, and it's now time to top them up ready for the cold Winter months. I've been looking forward to this little job ever since we pressed the apples from John's beautiful old Cotswold orchard. I had a good idea that the apples we harvested were good cider varieties, it's not too difficult to recognise a bittersweet cider apple, they don't taste very nice, but it's only now that I can truly gauge their quality.

With the aid of the trusty Rockingham Forest Cider Chicken Baster, I sampled each of the fermenters before topping up with one of the sharper blends of cider. The flavour is obviously a little on the raw side, and still largely dominated by yeastiness, but even so the rich bittersweet character comes shining through. I'm really pleased with the quality at this stage which promises to be even better than last year's vintage. Two of the tubs are still quite lively and sweet, and if anything these slow-movers show the quality of the blend even better.

I may have missed the rugby, but I can sleep safe in the knowledge that all is well in the ciderhouse tonight.

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