Rocquette XC Exceptional Cider

Review of Rocquette’s XC Exceptional Cider, from the Channel Islands in the UK.  Its the first time I’ve tried their cider, although I’m a fan of English cider.

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Cider:  XC Exceptional Cider
Cidery:  Rocquette
Cidery Location:  Guernsey, Channel Islands, UK
ABV:  4.5%
How Supplied:  clear glass 11.2oz bottles
Style:  English cider made from cider apple varieties

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Availability: Mostly in the UK, but at least some U.S.A. availability (through Half Pint Ciders).

Cider Description:  XC – Exceptional Rocquette Cider has been crafted from specially selected apples to produce a lighter, more refreshing drink.

Apple Varieties: Dabinett, Michelin, Tom Putt, Angela, Helene, Amanda, Three Counties, Bramleys, Red Falstaff, and 10% community gathered apples in Guernsey.

Cidery Description:  Nestled in the Fauxquets Valley in the heart of Guernsey countryside and with distant views of the English Channel, the Meller family farm has become established as the home of Rocquette Cider.

To produce a quality, local cider has always been our dream. From planting the seed to creating a finished packaged product, which competes on an international stage, we are committed to continuing the long established cider heritage of Guernsey.

We are proud of our sustainable approach to cider making and passionate about our brands. We hope that you become immersed in this as you explore our site.

Price:  $4 / single bottle
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House in Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing

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First Impression:  Deep caramel amber hue (lovely!).  Nearly still.  Smells rich, of bittersweet apples, caramel, and tannins.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-dry to semi-sweet.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness and acidity.  Low to moderate bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or funk.  Notes of bittersweet apples, caramel, brown sugar, coffee, apple pomace, and orange.  Moderate apple flavor, sessionability, flavor intensity, and complexity.  Moderate to long finish.

My Opinion:  I really enjoyed this cider; the flavor was unique.  However, its not one of my favorite English ciders (which so far is Aspall Imperial, black label).

Most Similar to:  Other English ciders from bittersweet apples.  It also reminds me some of Locust Bittersweet Reserve, which on draft had some similar coffee and orange notes (although more body, sweetness, and unfiltered qualities).

Closing Notes:   This is a unique English cider, with some impressive color and flavor.  I haven’t seen it sold anywhere else, and I haven’t seen any other varieties from them, but if I do, I’ll give them a try.

Have you tried Rocquette?  What did you think?

Aspall English Demi Sec Draft Cider

Review of Aspall English Demi Sec Draft Cider.  I’m a huge fan of English cider, and of Aspall, and have tried a few of their other ciders (reviews & tasting notes here).

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Cider:  Demi Sec
Cidery:  Aspall
Cidery Location:  Suffolk England
ABV:  6.8%
How Supplied:  500ml bottle
Style:  English craft cider made from heirloom & cider apple varieties

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Availability:  Fairly wide release at specialty bottle shops in the U.S. (and Europe of course)

Cider Description:  Golden color, with ripe apple and honey-ish aromas. Lightly sweet with a pleasant balancing acidity giving way to a nice off-dry finish.

Apple Varieties:  65% Sweet (Cox Orange Pippin, Egremont Russett, & Royal Gala), 25% Sharp (Bramley Seedling & Howgate Wonder), and 15% Bittersweet (Tremlett’s Bitter, Yarlington Mill, & Dabinett).

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:  ~$8
Where Bought:  Schilling Cider House
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  Browsing.  I’ve been wanting to try more Aspall varieties, and hadn’t tried this one.

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First Impression:  Dark straw yellow with some orange.  Low carbonation and moderate foam upon pouring.  Smells of mild apple, floral, and citrus.

Tasting Notes:  Semi-sweet to semi-dry.  Low to moderate acidity.  Medium bodied.  Low tartness.  Hints of bitterness and tannins.  No sourness or bitterness.  Notes of honey, citrus (including grapefruit), floral, and green apple.  Moderate length finish.  Moderately flavored.  Moderate apple influence.  Moderate sessionability.

My Opinion:  Tasty!  Its light and refreshing, although with more sweetness and less richness than I expected.  It doesn’t have many of the characteristics of traditional English cider.

Most Similar to:  I found this more similar to “American” ciders than English ciders.  The following have similar honey and floral notes:  Moonlight Meadery How Do You Like Them Little Apples (except it is sweeter and barrel aged), Finnriver Honey Meadow (except it has chamomile and lemon balm), and EZ Orchards Hawk Haus (except it is much drier).

Closing Notes:   This was definitely enjoyable, but not what I was expecting.  My favorite from Aspall remains their Imperial (black label…not sure if it differs from the blue labeled bottles).

Have you tried Aspall Demi Sec?  What did you think?