Taste our Artisan Ciders
Tasting cider involves all the senses, so that sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch each contribute to the overall experience and to the assessment of its quality.
At merridale, we have manufactured our own glass for tasting cider. Originally made on Vancouver Island, we now purchase these glasses from Mexico where some of our family members live. Each one is hand poured and made from recycled glass. They have a solid glass thick base which serves two purposes: First, when stored in the fridge or freezer, the base acts as a chilling agent, eliminating the need to add ice cubes which dilute the drink. Second, the heavy nature of the base makes it very difficult to knock it over– sometimes very handy after one or two! As you pour the cider into the glass look for the explosion of small bubbles that rise as the gurgling liquid is poured. If you are pouring an effervescent cider, be sure to listen for the joyful popping and fizzing as the bubbles explode on the surface.
Naturally-effervescent ciders produce a froth when first poured, which turns to small bubbles that merge into larger spheres while rushing to the surface. When these bubbles release, they shower tiny particles into the taters’ nose, which heightens the senses and enhances the bouquet!
Serve dry ciders at cold or at room temperature and then serve colder as the cider rates sweeter. Sample the dry before the sweet, the young before the old, and the lighter alcohol content before the stronger ones.
Once poured, hold the cider glass to the light (daylight is best) and appreciate the color and clarity of the cider. The color will vary according to the type of apples used, such as rose or pink if crab apples were used, and a range from dark amber to champagne-blond. The cider should look neither dark nor watery, and should be clear and not hazy. A living cider still contains yeasts, pectin, and apple solids, which may settle into the bottom of the bottle as the “lee.” If the cider contains lees, it is best not to shake the bottle before serving, and only pour the top two-thirds to seven-eighths of the content to avoid disturbing the sediment.
Take a sip, enjoy the warm flavour and then roll the cider around your mouth to release the sweetness or the bite of the apples. There are four fundamental tastes to stimulate your tongue, which sends messages to your brain for translation into the experience of taste. Along with taste, the smell imparts an overall sense of flavour. The tastes to be aware of are sweet, bitter, saline, and acidic, although the vocabulary for describing ciders (and wines) can be quite extensive. The Long Ashton Research Station at the University of Bristol 21 has developed a cider-tasting vocabulary that includes 163 words to describe unique appearance, aroma, and taste attributes.
Some of our ciders or more like apple wines, such as the Cidre Normandie. We have added sugar to the pressed apple juice before fermentation to increase the specific gravity, and inevitably raising the alcohol content to 12%. Our Cidre Normandie, along with the Scrumpy and Cyser is aged in oak barrels which soften the tannins and impart.
The ciders at Merridale are traditionally produced, being fermented from 100 % first-pressed juice of several heritage varieties of cider apples.
Select the cider you want to virtually taste on our cider page for a description!