Pilton Cider (2011) Review

Vital Stats:

Producer: Pilton
Cider Name: Cider (2011)
Region: Somerset
ABV: 5.5%
Taste: Medium/Dry
Served: Chilled 750ml bottle
Colour: Golden/Orange
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Sparkling

Review/Tasting Notes:

Purchased From: Bristol Cider Shop
Date: 31/12/12

Ah so this is my last review of 2012 and what a year it has been. So many quality ciders have been discovered and it’s been very happy in Cider Blog land! To make the year go out with a bang, I’ve decided to finish it off with a Pilton Cider.

Pilton have been on my radar for so long, but I have yet to review them until recently, when I discovered Cider 88 was produced by them! This cider I’m having tonight is what they are best known for, which is the naturally sparkling cider that is in a wine/champagne like bottle. The cider is made using the old English method of Keeving. As Pilton describe so nicely on their site, this method is the following:

Fully ripe, bittersweet cider apples are collected and milled as usual but the pulp is left to stand for 24 hours. This maceration period allows the pulp to oxidise and for pectins to be released from the cell walls. The pulp is then pressed to give a thick, dark juice; rich in flavour.

After a few days, a pectin gel, called the chapeau brun in France, floats to the surface and clear juice can be extracted from below. The gel is discarded along with most of the actively fermenting yeast and the nutrients it needs to fully ferment the apple sugars into alcohol.

The result is an only partially fermented cider, that retains much of its refreshing apple flavour and soft taste.

We bottle the very best of our keeved juice, before it has completed its long fermentation, and allow it to mature into a superb, sparkling, bottle-fermented cider.

I’ve heard keeving can be a difficult art to master, so fair play to the guys at Pilton for using it here. It would be boring if everyone did the same way as well! The bottle looks classy, this is a special occasion, so I’m hoping this can live up to all expectations! Right it’s time to pop the cork and see what it has to offer….

It was fairly lively once that cork had gone pop and had a good level of natural sparkle to it. It certainly looks like a proper cider and has a gorgeous golden/orange colour going on. It has one of those crisp, ripe, apple aromas about it. The flavour is juicy, crisp, rich, full-bodied and just so sexy. This is probably up there with my favourite naturally sparkling cider. The bubbles are not the main feature in this and just help compliment it. It tastes like a proper cider and not really wine-like at all. It’s not really sour/acidic, bitter or high in tannins, but it’s just tasty. It’s certainly a celebration cider and not for a session.

Would I buy this again?: Yes
Overall Rating: 9/10


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Martin said,

    Thanks for the great review Nick, I love the mega sized wine glass. Happy to show you around the cider works if you are ever near Shepton Mallet.

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