I am a sucker for a new bottle on the shelf. Yesterday, while wandering the socially distanced supermarket aisles my eye was caught by a very fine looking brown bottle of Thatchers Vintage “pick of the year” 2020.
The french have long extolled the differences that the weather plays in Apple flavours while large manufacturers like Thatchers have up till now, worked there damndest to maintain uniformity through blending.
Is this a bold step in a new direction? Or just some clever marketing?
To find out the answer I did the only sensible thing I could and bought a few bottles. Just a couple mind; ‘premier’ ciders attract premier price tags, even in the local co-op.
With a listed ABV of 7.4% I was expecting this bottle to deliver on taste. However the first mouthful was a distinct disappointment. Instant reaction was “meh, pleasant but underwhelming”.
Sure, there was apple flavour there, but very few of the bitter notes we look for in Cider. The astringency was missing altogether. The sharpness had gone awol too. In short it felt as if I were drinking an overly rounded ‘don’t upset anyone’ apple juice.
As I went through the glass the ‘cideriness’ of the drink grew to an acceptable level. I certainly didn’t find myself disliking the taste but my temper just got worse as I pondered the wasted opportunity for a big producer to deliver a true ‘vintage’ Cider experience.
Thankfully it wasn’t too fizzy or too sweet. Had it been otherwise I would have been straight down to Myrtle Farm to shout drunken obscenities at them over the hedge (well it is a 7.4% brew).