Sunday 25 August 2019

Dunkertons Cider expert insight: Picking the perfect cider this summer

Helping us pick the perfect cider and perry to toast the summer, Dunkertons Cider with its Cheltenham based cidery, has been explaining why organic is so important, and how tasting cider isn’t all too different to tasting wine.

While many of us spend hours planning and prepping delicious cuts of meat for those long summer barbecues, it’s rare that we make the same effort when it comes to booze, often opting for supermarket bargains in bulk.

But with an entire range of high quality, locally fermented organic ciders right at our fingertips, the SoGlos team thought it was about time we learned how to pick a decent cider to impress friends and family this summer, by speaking to Dunkertons Cider’s sales and marketing director, Andrew Cross.

For more information, visit dunkertonscider.co.uk directly.


What makes Dunkertons Cider so unique?

All of our ciders are organic, so that means we only use organic apples grown in our own orchards in Herefordshire, or we partner with organic growers, and that’s really important for us.

In terms of our ciders, they naturally ferment around seven to seven-point-five per cent. So, a lot of the feedback we get is that our ciders are quite strong! All our ciders and perries are also hand blended and we mature them for over 12 months to get that famous Dunkertons deep flavour.

There are lots of different ciders in the range. What’s the difference?!

There are three core categories that we create. First there’s the signature blended range, which is what most people will be familiar with. That includes Premium Organic which is a medium cider, Black Fox – a medium dry that’s stocked in Waitrose, and we also have a dry blended variant.

We’ve then got what we call our celebration range where we have a brand called Vintage, which was launched to celebrate 30 years of organic cider production. There’s a perry, or pear cider in that range too, which is a lovely medium sweet cider.

The final core part of the range is the connoisseur’s single variety range. We’ve got four special ciders in this collection, which are each named after the single apple variety they’re made from – Browns, Kingston Black, Breakwells Seedling and Court Royal.


What should people look for in a cider?

I think the key thing is, to think about cider in a similar way to wine. Different apples grown in different regions will produce different flavours, and each cider will contain a blend of apple which will have a balance of sweetness and acidity to it.

The first thing we’d recommend is that consumers do some research into who makes a cider. There are some ciders on the market with very little apple juice content, and ciders made from concentrate, whereas all of our ciders are made from whole-pressed organic apples.


What are your top tasting tips?

There are three key characteristics to consider in a cider which are tannin, sweetness and acidity – but I’m conscious that tannin and acidity can be quite complicated to decipher for consumers.

But on a basic level, if people start with whether they like cider on a spectrum of sweet through to dry, they can then experiment with different ciders within that same kind of taste range.

The other thing from our perspective is that Dunkertons is known for having a really deep apple flavour, which is because we have such a high juice content.

Craft beer and local breweries have really seen a rise in popularity over recent years, is the same thing happening in the cider industry?

I’ve got a background in craft brewing, and I think with that movement it’s made people far more aware of who brews the beer, the different hops and the different styles. People are being more experimental, which is great, and we’re definitely seeing the same in cider.

Generally, people just want to be a bit more informed about the food and drink that they’re eating, and they want to know they’re spending their money on quality ingredients.

We’re also seeing people becoming a lot more aware about the sustainability and ethical stance of food and drink producers, which as an organic independent company, is great for us.


Why is organic so important to Dunkertons?

We started in 1980, and our founders Ivor and Suzie Dunkerton were pioneers really. The reason for that is they wanted to grow orchards in harmony with the environment and support the natural ecosystem.

What people don’t tend to realise is that organic orchards help to support up to 50 per cent more wildlife than non-organic ones, because they’re not using the pesticides and chemicals.

We were also the first cider company whose orchards and cider production were certified to Soil Association standards.


For more information, visit dunkertonscider.co.uk directly.

© SoGlos
Friday 12 April 2019

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