Malvern Oak Dry Reserve Cider
Nor and I rented a little cottage up in the Malverns for a few days for my birthday a couple of weeks back. Yes that does sound thoroughly bourgeois!. One of the reasons for heading out West was to get nearer to traditional Scrumpy country. And to climb some hills. But that’s another story. I came across the Malvern Oak Dry Reserve in the local Waitrose. Ahem, yeh. That’s probably not sounding any less middle class.
We spent a bit of time wandering amongst the wintery orchards, so it was rather cool to come across some cider made from the fruit of those very trees. Near enough, anyhow. Malvern Oak is a cider from Knights Cider, a family outfit based at Crumpton Oaks in the foothills of the Malverns. On their site they say that they have been making cider there for 3 generations. They’re doing the right thing by making their ciders from 100% real cider fruit (not concentrate) and they’ve expanded from 25 to 200 acres of trees over those 3 generations. Pretty impressive.
The cider is nicely bottled in a clear wine sized bottle. I actually feel that some other cidermakers are missing a trick by offering only 500ml bottles, especially for lower ABV ciders. Well, its all nicely labelled in black, with the Knights branding. Pretty OK really.
It's a golden, amber colour with perhaps just an hint of haziness. There was a little bit of quickly dissipating fizz when I first poured it out, but Malvern Oak is very much a still cider.
The taste is really exceptional it starts sharp, zingy. Think cooking apples, gooseberries maybe even lemons. But the zinginess is balanced with a superb and subtle sweetness that never stops the whole kaboodle from feeling like a dry cider. I bet Malvern Oak would be the perfect refreshing drink to sup on on a hot summer’s day after walking up Worcestershire Beacon.
So a dry, sharp, well rounded, impressively balanced cider. The apples are some of the classics — Yarlington Mill, Dabinett, Kingston Black with Harry Master’s Jersey — nonetheless it takes someone who knows their craft to make cider this lush. I’ll definitely need to head out Malvern way again to treat myself to another bottle.
2012-01-25 by Charlie Harvey