Thatchers Somerset Vintage Cider for M&S on the train to see rms talk
I should note as prominently as is possible that buying stuff from M&S is ethically extremely questionable given their well documented support for the Israeli state. Acquiring stuff in other ways may be an option.
Thatchers are doing something quite unusual for a Somerset cider maker. They’re doing the whole wanky middle class cider thing. They have come up with a "vintage" cider, aged in oak barrels that have been rolled on the thighs of a virgin. Or something. And teamed up with M&S to make the whole enterprise even more middle class. So is this just Ascot-swill, to be dashed down in between vol-au-vents?
Thatchers are an interesting lot. They’ve been making single variety ciders for some time. And now they seem to be endeavouring to emulate the success of ciders like Aspalls Premier Cru with a cider that is marketed as if it were a champagne. Its a new angle on cider. And one which may be less than entirely justified, or at least the bourgeois fetishisation of fizzy French wine may be a thing that we shouldn’t buy in to.
So what is it like? Pretty nice actually. A tad less on the dry side than Aspalls, and with a typically Somerset essence of farmyard lurking somewhere below the palate’s consciousness. I was drinking on a train, which made it somewhat more difficult to assess the colour of the tipple. It tasted like we were dealing with something white wine coloured. But I speculate. This is a dry, soft, light cider, springlike, cheeky and with just a hint of tannin.
What I can say for sure is that this is the sort of cider that would be good on a picnic or perhaps for swigging at a festival. Its softness belies an arse-kicking 7.4% rating on the richter scale, so beware. My suspicion is that the Champagne-style bottle will lull you into treating this stuff like a fine wine more than cider per se. And you might be right.
The verdict? Not one for scrumpy heads or crusties. But not at all bad. You can get the stuff in a bottle that won’t get you accused of being a member of the royal family or a character from a 19th century Russian novel from the Thatcher’s Cider website.
2011-03-08 by Charlie Harvey