I've been trying quite a few ciders of late. Cider is, of course, not wine, but it is nonetheless quite a serious drink (or, should I say, has the potential to be a serious drink).
A few years back cider was a Loser Drink. The only people who drank it had some sort of link with the west country, wore cardigans, didn't shave (much) and liked to listen to folk music. As well as teenagers who couldn't handle the taste of beer. But now it is back in fashion, which is a Good Thing.
I avoided it for the best part of two decades after having a very bad experience at university watching the superbowl at a party in Founder's East (the girl's wing of Royal Holloway [University of London]'s rather grand Founder's building), where I spent a very happy if rather crazy year as a resident (although, I was of course, at least most of the time in Founder's West).
But now I'm back drinking cider, which is potentially a great British drink, as well as a great Normandy/Brittany drink. It can be food compatible, complex and beguiling, and is usually remarkably affordable, too, when compared with high quality wine.
Tonight, after a long session in the nets (that's where we practice cricket, for the benefit of non-brits and colonials), two ciders that are rather good.
Aspall Premier Cru Dry Suffolk Cyder
7% alcohol, made with 100% fresh pressed apple juice. Quite light in colour with a green gling. Very fresh appley nose leads to a palate that is savoury, fresh, a bit lemony and crisp, with tight, pure appley fruit. Not too cidery, and a bit like a gently sparkling wine. Prosecco-like? Seriously refined. 8.5/10 (Tesco, Waitrose)
Henney's Dry Cider, Frome Valley, Herefordshire
Very attractively packaged. Yellow/gold colour, 6% alcohol, made from fresh pressed apple juice. Sweet appley aroma. Palate has a delicious bittersweet apple character with some spicy bite and a bit of tannic grip. Very fruity and quite pure, with a nice savoury twist. 7.5/10 (Tesco)