Apples varieties are a little different from grapes or perry pears in that very few offer the perfect taste profile for a single varietal drink. Hence the quest for the ultimate taste profile takes place across as wide a range of varietals as possible with an aim to combine and balance them to the most ideal mix of bittersweet tannins, gentle acid and residual sweetness. Different styles of cider exist from country to country also, so by using our range of Cider Apples we can create styles that would resemble French, English, New World and indeed unique Irish ciders.
We bottle Ciders based on what the year gives us for an optimum balance of varieties in terms of tannins, acidity and malolactic complexity, and in 2016 we did 2 different bottlings of 'Bittersweet' and 'Demi Sec', as follows....
Here we have used 47 different types of Apples from our Orchard in Killahora, including rareties like Morgan Sweet, Egremont Russet, Harry Masters Jersey, the voraciously tannic yet stocky Tremlett's Bitter, and this year Yarlington Mills, Major and some of our own unique Wild Hedgerow apples, as well as a good dash of Dabinetts and Michelins from both our own and from James' orchard in Tipp.
Our cider undergoesa partial Malolactic fermentation thanks to its long maturation period over the summer which reduces the acidity a little, and improves mouthfeel. This reduction in acidity means we only need a smaller amount of residual sweetness to balance our cider; ie fewer calories per bottle. In this batch we left the acidity a little higher with the addition of some of our wild hedgerow apples to allow it to pair better with food.
Le Johnny Fall Down - Demi Sec Cider
In this 2016 bottling, we used a larger percentage of French apple varietals blended with some of our other varieties giving a rich, deep fruity taste. This edition is slightly sweeter to balance the acidity, and has soft tannins at the end. This is slightly more robust in character so can deal better with the inevitable inclusion of ice on the part of bar people.....#NoIce btw!
But we're very happy with this as a contrast to the lighter nature of the bittersweet.
From September until December 2016, fermented until July 2017
Why does this date matter? Because our Ciders will change with each year due to the change in proportion of the varieties the orchard grows, the growing weather and the fermenting weather, although like wine houses we will strive for a house style that best reflects the fruit of the year, or the character of a batch.
In 2018 we expect ciders to be v.interesting, thanks to the curious mix of actual seasons for a change!
Aroma starts with Red Apple, a hint of hay or meadow, and a light breadiness in the background.
A fresh and soft opening, with hints of green apple and unripe pear coming from natural malic and lactic acids, backed by subtle balanced sweetness, hints of malolactic creaminess, and clearing to the lingering length of tannins. Although called Bittersweet, (from the apples used), with around 23 g/litre of residual sugar it is more of a Medium Dry in character, with a drier ‘RealFeel’ due to the vibrant tannins.
The most apt words to describe our Bittersweet 2016 Cider are ‘Fresh and Tannic’, and most definitely ‘Food Friendly’!
Serving at 10 deg C is ideal, although it migh seem unusual, but you will find at this temperature, it is chilled enough to be refreshing but both sweetness and tannins become more prominent and its character becomes slightly more robust. Ice will not help this cider in any way, and in our opinion throws the balance out!
Aroma starts with the smell of soft, ripe fruits, and a hint of leathery spice.
Gives ripe green apple, plum, honey, with spicy notes at the end. Malolactic present but more subtle and tannins in this are slightly softer and less drying overall. Athough more rocust in terms of acidity and sweetness, this gives the impression of being softer.
The most apt words to describe our Le Johnny – Demi Sec 2016 Cider are ‘Deep and rich’.
This serves better slightly cooler, so can be dropped down to 8 degrees or below. No Ice as always but is more amenable to a glacial corrpution should this occur 🙂
Cider is always going to work great with heavier dishes, will comfortably work with smoked fish, mackerel, roasted meats meats, (tannins like fattier foods), hearty umami rich sauces, pork of all varieties is an obvious choice. Will also work with dishes that have some but not too much acidity, including some lightly spiced Asian dishes, or possibly Mexican, but haven’t tried the latter yet! Try it with some of the fine dishes in Greenes,/Cask, Sage, Ballymaloe or The Spitjack where we its on sale.
The Demi Sec specifically goes with more funky cheeses, and the pallet cleansing nature of the Bittersweet goes amazing with mussels.
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