The Gentle Folk Cider is probably the smallest real cider company I have every reviewed. When I say company I really mean 3 wine makers experimenting with apples and letting the apples and wild yeast dictate what type of cider they want to be made into. So how does a cider made by the wine markers from such labels as Lucy Margaux (Lucy M), Shob Brook Wines (Didi is their experimental range) and Gentle folk stack up?
The Cider itself starts life as organic apples considered to ugly for the supermarket shelf. But as we all know true beauty is on the inside… and it’s called juice. The apples are grown on the Shliltz’z family orchard less than 5 kilometres from where they are milled and pressed. The pressed juice is left unpasteurized and unfiltered before it is fermented in a barrel. The cider I’m reviewing is from the 2012 vintage although it doesn’t say so on the bottle. It came from a 300-litre barrel. It was the only barrel of the 2012 vintage. I told you that this was a small operation. The fermenting juice is then moved into kegs just before the primary fermentation has finished. The fermentation is with wild yeasts much like some of the wines made by the 3 labels. The cider has been left to sit in the kegs for around 2 years, maturing, and soaking up the flavours from the lees. Lees are the particle remains of yeast cells that have been killed off and sink to the bottom as the alcohol content rises. In the interest of consistency between the bottles, the team force carbonate the cider as it is bottled.
I got chatting with Gareth of Gentle Folk wines and the ringleader of this trio. He is the type of bloke who will try to ferment anything.
We just put apples in a bottle. We don’t want to import a flavour from the other side of the world trying to chase a style. We’re letting the apple guide us. There is no added yeast or sulphates, no water or sugar.
Gareth told me about how he loved experimenting with fermentation. Before releasing this vintage he tested out ciders back sweetened with everything from juices to honey, wildly different results. As he holds a wine making license legally it was much easier to go into cider production compared to beers or spirits.
The next vintage of Didi, Lucy M and The Gentle Folk Cider should be available in November.
Here we have a good old fashioned earthy cider. There is that classic cider house smell. It smells like a cold day when you rather be in shed than the orchard.
There is a great balance between the dry and the acidity. It has a solid earthy taste but I wouldn’t go as far as to say “farmhouse funk” more brie cheese, but it is delightfully unrefined. The cider is dry with a sharp acidity that is only added to by the prickly bubbles. The Gentle Folk Cider feels like it’s a two-tone cider. On one side you have a fresh fruit vibe, the other side is dryness. At first sip it seems like a miss match but on closer inspection it begins to work. The fruitiness hangs in the after taste inviting you to wash it down with another sip.
Final Thoughts on Didi, Lucy M and The Gentle Folk Cider
At first I thought this was a side project by these wine makers but after chatting with Gareth he told me, “It’s not where will we take the cider, it’s where will the cider take us.” This makes me think that the 3 wine makers are excited about their cider making. With larger vintages full of organic apples and wild yeast aging as you read this, it could be a very exciting cider label to keep and eye out for.
|Country of Origin
|Basket, Adelaide Hills, South Australia