Gwatkin Golden Valley Scrumpy
Golden Valley is, like Yarlington Mill, orange in colour, though perhaps a little less towards the red end of the spectrum. It’s clear with virtually no sediment. The slight carbonation complements the darkly intense orange in the glass. The bottle is all nostalgic rustic idyll — you know the kind of thing. Big horses and sunshine. And no mention of the exploitation of the peasant labourers by the feudal landowners.
The taste is deep and fruity with sour undertones. It is light-bodied, dry-ish and bittersharp. Golden Valley packs a solid 6% alcohol punch, enough to give it a nice solid kick. Its acidic much more than astringent, on the palatte intensely appley and incredibly sharp at first, mellowing to a smoother oakiness later on.
The bottle blurb tells us that the scrumpytakes its name from the small corner of Herefordshire where scrupy cider has been made in the traditional way for centuries. Which is reassuring, as is the information that the cider is made from local apples and oak aged. You won’t taste the oak at first but bear with it and Golden Valley delivers a complex aftertaste with a bit of barrel action in it.
Continuing through the label blurb, I’m not sure whether I needed to know that:The romantic age of Steam[sic] and olde-worlde[sic] agriculture may be long gone, but at least the Golden Taste[sic] of Real Cider[sic] still lives onThat just sounds like nonsense. But the cider is good, so I suppose the blurb must be forgiven.
Golden Valley is a cider packed with character and complexity. It reminds me why real cider is such an important thing to protect and support in this age of bland, lowest common denominator ciders produced industrially with little character or individuality. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it is complex and intense and challenging. TheGolden Age of Real Ciderreally does live on.
2012-10-07 by Charlie Harvey