Aspall Grand Cru

Review of Aspall’s Grand Cru cider, from England.  I’ve also tried a number of their other varieties.

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Cider:  Grand Cru
Cidery:  Aspall
Cidery Location:  Suffolk England
ABV:  6.8%
How Supplied:  500ml tall black bottle
Style:  English cider made from sweet, sharp, and bittersweet apple varieties

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Availability:  Semi wide release (through Artisanal Imports)

Cider Description:  Rich, golden colour. Traditional bittersweet cyder-apple aroma with orchard fruit and floral notes. Palate initially slightly sweet, then mouth- filling and full bodied. Complex array of fruit flavours balanced by gorgeous soft tannins, producing a bone dry finish. Very long aftertaste, a true sign of a classic cyder of the highest quality. An ideal partner for highly flavoured meat dishes, especially duck confit and exotic food from Asia and North African with a hint of sweetness.

Apple Varieties: 40% Sweet (Discovery, Worcester Pearmain, & Chivers Deligh), 25% Sharp (Bramley Seedling, Grenadier, & Lord Darby), and 35% Bittersweet (Tremlett’s Bitter, Yarlington Mill, Medaille d’Or, & Kingston)

Cidery Description:  The Chevalliers have been making cyder at Aspall for eight generations, since 1728 when Clement Chevallier fermented his first batch of Normandy style Suffolk cyder. They still produce cyder using only the fresh juice of whole Suffolk apples and the philosophy championed by their founding ancestor, Clement. Still owned and managed by the Chevallier family, Aspall is the oldest direct lineage cyder maker in the United Kingdom. There are no hidden partners or parent companies enabling Aspall to focus on making the best possible product without compromise. Truly family owned.

Price:  $7.00
Where Bought:  Special Brews in Lynnwood WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I’m a big fan of Aspall, and hadn’t tried this one.

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First Impression:  Pale amber hue.  Low carbonation with some foam upon pouring.  Smells of apple juice, yeast, and honey.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Moderate carbonation.  Medium bodied.  Moderate tartness and acidity.  Mild tannins and bitterness.  No sourness or funk.  Rich flavor.  Notes of granny smith apple skin, apple juice, yeast, honey, floral, stone fruit, mineral, and pineapple. Long strong finish.  Moderate apple flavor.  Moderate sessionability.  Moderate to strong flavor intensity.  Moderate to high complexity.

My Opinion:  Yum!  Aspall hasn’t disappointed me yet.  I love the richness and tannins, and the extra sweetness, tartness, and flavor notes add some uniqueness.

Most Similar to:  This seems like a combination of English, French, and American cider…it has the tannins of an English cider, some yeastiness & additional carbonation of a French cider, and the sweetness & tartness of an American cider.  Its flavor is unique and I can’t really name any similar ciders.

Closing Notes:   This cider is quite enjoyable and an exceptional value too.  I look forward to continuing to try every Aspall variety I can find.  My favorite remains the Imperial (black label), although it seems they have may have replaced it with the blue label version.

Have you tried Aspall Grand Cru?  What did you think?