This week we bring you our top cider tasting tips from our resident cider expert. If you’d like to meet him in person you’ll have to come by our Festive Fizz and Winter Warmers tasting session on Thursday 29th November 7-9pm. We’ll be opening some interesting bottles for the festive season and we’ll be getting very merry here in the Pilango Cider Vault.
So let’s take a look at the top tasting tips for sipping your cider…
Firstly at Pilango we love to use beautiful glassware, which does justice to the Cider inside it. We taste our cider, in a stemmed glass which tapers towards the top to concentrate the aroma. If you don’t have anything that sounds like this, then a white wine glass will do nicely!
And then on to tasting the cider… it’s really about focusing on each of the senses one by one.
Sight | Cider tasting is a bit like wine tasting (particularly for white wines or rosé). The darker the colour the bigger the flavour, light is more delicate, darker colour is deeper flavour. Give it a swirl and hold it up to the light. The thickness of the liquid will tell you a lot about the viscosity, which will tell you about what to expect from the alcohol content (the slow trickle down the inside of the glass is known as the legs which is an indication of ABV in a drink).
Smell | Give it a swirl around the glass and invite some air in. Give it a smell and question - are you in a countryside orchard in the spring time surrounded by blossom? Or are you in that same orchard surrounded by big juice filled apples? What colour are they? green, red, yellow, a mix? What else can you smell, leather? toffee? tropical fruits? citrus fruits? hay? green grass?
Sound | It may sound silly to say this but… try not to do a tasting anywhere too loud. If you are drinking in a club, it is a very different experience to tasting round a dinner table with some friends. If you are somewhere loud or busy such as a festival, it’s worth for the first couple of sips really concentrating on the tasting as the noise can be distracting.
Touch | What temperature is the cider being served at? Room temperature, cellar cold, chilled? Or is it warm or even hot, ( if you like your ciders warm or hot check out our blog in December on the best winter warmer ciders). You wouldn’t drink a red wine chilled (well most red wines) and to my knowledge champagne isn’t great served straight from the stove. What temperature do you like your cider?
Taste | The main event. Wash the cider round your entire mouth as gently drawing some air into your mouth as you taste. Think back to school, different parts of the tongue pick up different things, so let them all have a chance. Once you have had a chance to tune into the cider, go back and have another taste, this time follow the journey of the cider across your pallet, from the initial first impressions the middle, the end and finally the after taste. How is the acidity? Is it crisp? sharp? soft? sweet? dry? tannic, or is it fun, light and bubbly (like a Prosecco, Cava or Champagne)? Is it fizzy, slightly sparkling or is it still, like a lovely glass of white wine? Bubbles bring bitterness (there is a reason sparkling water tastes different to tap) so give this some thought too.
This is clearly a lot to consider in the scheme of things. But we’ve found with cider drinking even thinking about these aspects a little bit can really give a great experience and we love to see our customer’s faces when they realise they’ve found a dry cider that tastes like champagne or a fruit cider that makes them feel festive.
For further tasting advice and generally enjoying yourself we recommend attending our Festive Fizz event on the 29th November or one of our ‘Beginners Guides’ which run each month – these are very popular as Christmas gifts and are bookable through our events page. Do drop us an email if you have any questions and our team will be happy to help.