Sanford Orchards in Devon is really at the forefront of the “proper” cider revolution in the UK. Their flagship Devon Red and Devon Scrumpy grace the bar in many a crafty booze boozer and deservedly so. I got a hold of a trio of some of the other bottled ciders in their multi award winning range.
More commercial style Shaky Bridge (6% abv) is a medium sweet sparkling cider that actually tastes like it’s made from real apples as opposed to syrup. Crisp apple, some apple blossom, very clean and refreshing.
Old Kirkton (6% abv) is as unique a cider as I have ever tasted. There’s aromas of raspberry, farmyard and grassy herbs. The palate hints at stewed strawberries, moving into cooked apple and ultra dry green apple skin finish. lovely but retaining some on the finish. I love the texture that the hay pressing gives it: creamy and almost milky. Definitely one for the connoisseur.
Very complex and layered their 2007 Vintage Cider (7% abv) is aged in rum barrels for a minimum of 18 months. I got aromas of: fine grained oak, subtle burnt sugar, underpinned with late autumn orchard. Tasting it, first I feel the grip of those wood tannins, but there is some fresh acidity (impressive for a 7 year old cider). Next is mature, mellow, caramelised warm fruit and on the finish: earthy mushroom and some toasted nuttiness as well. Perfect match for rind washed creamy cheeses or roast meats. I find it so amazing to see how well good cider does age, it evolves just like a fine wine.
Cider is the fastest growing category in the drinks sector. The range, complexity and quality of Sanford Orchards (and others) must surely have something to do with it.
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