Monday, 18 February 2013

Cider Review #1: Breakwells Seedling (Dunkertons)

My first cider review! And its a single varietal to boot, from the medium-sized but well respected cider mill, Dunkertons of Herefordshire.

Style: Medium-dry / Western Counties / single varietal.
Appearance: An appealing golden colour with a little haze.
Nose: Good strong, sweet and earthy fresh apple aroma
Taste: A semi-sharp acidity is present throughout in addition to a lovely full, fresh apple taste and a faint sweetness. Dry tannin dominates the finish, stretching it out indefinitely. In fact its certainly more intense than both Dunkertons Premium Organic cider and Co-ops Tillington Hills cider (which showcase no small amount of tannin themselves). The sensation this amount of tannin gives is not too far off (but not exactly equalling, either!) sucking on a sloe berry or more pertinently a crab apple, making tongue and gums stick to one another. 
Mouthfeel: Quite full and a little oily.
Carbonation: A characteristic that tends to be on the low side in cider (in the dozen or so I've tried so far that is) compared to (too) many ales - a good thing in my opinion! In Breakwells the fizz is persistent but not over the top, helping the cider achieve a welcome freshness and drinkability, arguably needed at 7.5% ABV.

Breakwells Seedling is an early maturing apple cultivar first discovered in Monmouthshire about a century ago. It's a bittersharp cider apple meaning it has high levels of both tannin and malic acid, respectively. Both of these characteristics come across in a big way in the taste and that's what makes this such a good cider. The sweetness to begin with however is enough to prevent the drink becoming lopsided. Dunkertons themselves are a fully organic, family-run Herefordshire cider maker that started up in 1980. They also produce two other single varietals, from Browns and Court Royal apples. 

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