Ross-On-Wye Balls Bittersweet (SV) Cider Review

Vital Stats:

Producer: Ross-On-Wye
Cider Name: Balls Bittersweet (SV)
Region: Herefordshire
ABV: 6%
Taste: Dry
Served: Lightly chilled 500ml bottle
Smell: Rich apples/Light oak
Colour: Golden/Amber
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Still

Review/Tasting Notes:

Purchased From: Bristol Cider Shop
Date: 21/05/13

After the indifferent experience of the Tutts Clump Traditional Farmhouse Perry, I wanted to bring my evening up to a high note and thought there was no better way than to try a cider from a consistently good producer. Up steps a cider from Ross-On-Wye, which happens to be their single variety (SV) Balls Bittersweet cider.

If you’re a regular reader of my reviews, then you will know I love a cider from Ross-On-Wye, as they always seem to make a high quality cider/perry. That’s not to say they don’t do some ciders/perries I am not into, but the odds generally are I’ll like it. Up today is the Balls Bittersweet, which is another bittersweet apple variety. It says it’s a cross between a Medaille d’Or and Foxwhelp apple. I’ve heard of the Foxwhelp (and enjoyed it previously), though the Medaille d’Or is a new one on me. According to the label I should expect soft tannins and a smooth, rich, full-bodied flavour. It sounds mighty fine from the description so far! Lastly, it comes in at SG 1003, which technically should make it a dry cider. I can wait no longer, so now it’s cider drinking time!

This poured a golden/amber colour, has a rich apple aroma with minor hints of oak and is absolutely still. I take in my first sip and you get a smooth, very soft apple taste, mild tannins and very little acidity to begin with. The aftertaste is certainly drying and the tannins come in to their own more, with a very small oak hint to it. My only problem with this one is it tastes too weak/thin and doesn’t have enough about it. The tannins are fairly ballsy in the middle of this drink, but it just doesn’t really do enough for me overall. It’s probably a little too dry for me too (not by much) and it’s certainly missing some acidity to make it more exciting, in my opinion. I can see this working well in a blend, but on its own it is lacking that je nais se quoi. This for me is certainly not up there with my favourite Ross-On-Wye ciders and I won’t be coming back for it again in a hurry.

Would I buy this again?: Possibly, but they do a lot better ciders
Overall Rating: 7/10

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