Sheppy’s Oak Matured Somerset Cider Vintage Reserve 2013

Review of Sheppy’s Oak Matured Somerset Cider Vintage Reserve 2013.  I had been on the lookout for a cider with a bold barrel influence, and this one matches that description!

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Cider:  Oak Matured Somerset Cider, Vintage Reserve 2013
Cidery:  Sheppy’s
Cidery Location: Somerset, Taunton, UK
ABV:  6.9%
How Supplied:  500ml brown glass bottle

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Availability:  Wide release in UK, but likely limited in the U.S.

Cider Description:  Vintage Reserve is a fine traditional English cider from the Sheppy family cidermakers.  This quality sparkling cider is crafted from apples from a single year’s harvest grown in the Sheppy orchards in Somerset, England.

Cidery Description:  Farming 320 acres at Three Bridges Farm since 1917, three generations of the Sheppy family have weathered the ups and downs of farming and cidermaking by embracing change and opportunity.  Craftsmen cidermakers for over 200 years.  Quality is central to all our ciders, which are produced from local and home-grown apples here at Three Bridges Farm. Modern technology has been used to assist the completely traditional production of fine English cider, but never to compromise the quality which is associated with the name Sheppy’s Cider.  We are proud to share with visitors from far and wide our beautiful farm and orchards, and to show you as much as possible of how and where we make our delicious ciders.

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Price:  $7.00 / 500ml bottle
Where Bought:  Full Throttle Bottles in Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle WA
Where Drank:  home
How Found:  browsing, remembering a recommendation from Sarah of Cider Log

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First Impression:  Golden amber.  Little carbonation.  Distinct rick oak apple scent.

Opinion:  Semi-dry.  Wow, this is actually heavily oak aged!  I had been on the lookout for a cider I could say that about, and found it.  For me, it is a favorable heavy oak flavor.  I also pick up caramel, burnt sugar, and vanilla.  My only complaint is the moderate bitterness with the medium-length finish.  However, once it warmed up a bit from fridge temperature, it became less bitter and the flavor smoothed out a bit.

So, I’d recommend between fridge and room temperature with this cider.  At room temperature it got a bit funky.  I find it odd this was described as sparkling cider when I found little carbonation, but maybe they meant not still?  It was also a relatively non-descriptive description on the bottle, which didn’t do this cider justice.  I like that they vintage this cider, as I’d imagine the cider crop can vary significantly year to year, which can definitely impact the flavor, so this way consumers know they may be getting a slightly different product than they had previously.  This is a thick, rich, earthy, and smokey cider with a strong oak barrel flavor.

Most Similar to:  English ciders, but with a more rich & heavy oak flavor.  If you want something sweeter with a less intense but still bold flavor, I’d recommend Thistly Cross Whisky Cask.

Closing Notes:   Yum!  I started off questioning whether I liked this cider, but it really grew on me, and I was sad when the bottle was empty.  For an imported craft cider this seemed to be a good deal at $7.  Full Throttle Bottles is the only shop I’ve seen Sheppy’s at so far, and they had one other variety when I bought this one (Somerset Draught Cider I believe).

Have you tried Sheppy’s Oak Matured cider?  What did you think?

Do you have any other recommendations for me for ciders with a heavy barrel influence?