Sampford Courtenay Traditional Devon Cider Review

Vital Stats:

Producer: Sampford Courtenay
Cider Name: Traditional Devon Cider
Region: Devon
ABV: 5.5%
Taste: Medium
Served: Lightly chilled 750ml bottle
Smell: Rustic apples
Colour: Golden/Amber
Clarity: Clear
Carbonation: Lightly sparkling

Review/Tasting Notes:

From: Sampford Courtenay (01179418543)
Date: 01/06/15

After yet again a busy few months with work/life getting in the way, I can finally settle down in the house with not a care in the world and crack open a good bottle of cider to enjoy on a damp and drizzly Monday evening. One that’s been staring at me from the cider shelf, but as yet untouched, is the delightful looking Sampford Courtenay Traditional Devon Cider.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had a Sampford Courtenay cider, as I enjoyed a lovely pint down The Royal Navy Volunteer a few weeks back, but it’s the first time I’ve managed to sample it in bottle form. It will be interesting to see how it varies from that. From memory I think that was served on the keg, with a little fizz added and this bottle looks a little more calm and even more to my liking. As many of you will probably know by now, I much prefer my cider naturally still.

Based on Solland Farm, on the Northern edge of Dartmoor, they are a Devon producer who makes their cider in the proper, traditional way. It’s a 100% full juice cider and not made from a nasty concentrate. There’s also no sign of artificial flavours, sweeterners or colours. It’s just good old honest cider. That’s what I love to hear when finding about different cider makers.

They make their cider using a wide variety of cider apples grown in their own orchards. These include the likes of Dabinett, Michelin and Ellis Bitter. By the looks of things it is not just cider apples they use, as they also include the likes of Bramley Seedling too. All in all, it sounds just like what I’m looking for.

My first impressions when I see the bottle of cider is it just looks classy, yet also has a very simplistic design. The picture of a tree shining through the bottle, from the back of the rear label, is a nice touch. It looks like something you’d happily serve at the dinner table or order in a restaurant and it wouldn’t look out of place. Which makes it feel a little sacrilege that I’m serving it in a pint glass whilst chilling on the sofa. Anyway, that’s enough of the talking and lets get on with drinking this cider.

As I popped open the swing top cork, it poured with a moderate head, which fizzled down quickly to leave a small but constant stream of bubbles. What I really did notice when I opened it was a really gorgeous rustic apple aroma burst into the air.

After appreciating the lovely aroma, I take in my first sip and you get an upfront sweetness about it. It’s not a sickly sweetness, but just very fruity and sweet. After I take in that, the acidity/tartness comes to foreground, which is soon followed by a light tannic/dry finish. In the after-taste I can feel a light oakiness about it too, which does linger for a while. It’s not a cider that is ballsy and in your face, but it has character, very smooth and a good all-round balanced cider. My only fault for it is I wish it was a little drier in taste, but overall it’s very satisfying and well worth trying.

Would I buy this again?: Yes
Overall Rating: 8.5/10

Disclaimer: This was a free sample from Sampford Courtenay, however this had no bearing on my review of this cider.

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