It’s cold wet and windy. The east coast of Australia is getting drenched by a once in a 30 year low pressure system. The streets are under water. Australian cider makers don’t make cider for this situation. Luckily there is a cider making region that regularly deals with gloomy weather and they make some pretty decent ciders. So I’ve picked up a bottle of Henney’s Vintage Cider. This 2014 vintage is a still cider from England’s west country county of Herefordshire.
Henneys only use fresh apple juice in their ciders. In this case all the locally sourced apples were picked in the summer of 2014. Being from Herefordshire they nearly have every famous cider apple variety they could want. Henney’s cider makers have gone for a mix of bitter-sweet and some bitter-sharp apples. Think Browns Apple, Michelin, Dabinett, Yarlington Mill and Tremletts Bitter
Some ciders get their fizz from trapping the CO2 from fermentation, others have it forced into the bottle. This vintage cider has let all the gas escape prior to bottling. If you think back to the days before stainless steel, wooden barrels were used and while they held the cider in, they did not hold the gas in. Hence still ciders became the standard. The cider is aged over long, cold, English winter which allows flavors to develop. The cold temperatures help keep aromas in tact.
As it is still cider there aren’t any bubbles to lift the scent up and into your nose. I was worried there wouldn’t be much going on here but the lack of fizz isn’t stopping the scent. This is a full on mix of over ripe apples, acetone and a hint of chopped woody herbs
Let’s start with the texture, which is completely unexpected. I was expecting a rich and creamy experience from the Henney’s Vintage Cider. Instead I’m discovering that this is not completely still cider. The odd rouge mini bubbles appear in the glass but ouch they hit your tongue with its polite riot of pin pricks. As they die off expect your tongue to get stuck to the roof of your mouth as bitter astringent tannins kick in.
There is a nice balance between juicy over ripe apple and a tangy apple cider vinegar. This would match up well with a pub serving of British fish and chips with a splash of vinegar
Final Thoughts on Henney’s Vintage Cider
This might challenge the odd cider drinker used to light, crisp styles. The Henney’s Vintage Cider is full rich and complex. As challenging as it is, it’s extremely moreish, I’ve sunk two bottles of the Henney’s Vintage Cider (500ml) without even realizing.
I said this would work well with fish and chips but the Henney’s Vintage Cider feels more like a warm curry, nice complexity and it warms you up just as well. The bottle says “sip or quaff”. Quaff, definitely quaff.
|Product||Henney’s Vintage Cider 2014|
|Company||Henney’s Cider Company|
|Country of Origin||England|
|Region||Frome Valley, Herefordshire|