Drink these delicious wines made from apples, pears and other fruits besides the traditional grape variety
Have you ever been offered a cider, perry or other fruit-based wine with your meal when eating out at a restaurant? An increasing number of sommeliers are choosing to pair English artisan wines made from fruits other than the traditional wine-making grape varieties.
Different from the mass market ciders, perries and fruit wines you might find in the supermarkets, these delicious alternatives made from 100% not-from-concentrate fruit content have been scooping awards at international wine competitions (such as IWSC) and pair fantastically with food – they’re also generally lower in alcohol than conventional wines. Here’s five to try…
Rich blue/purple in colour and velvety smooth to taste, this sweet and intense wine (main picture) is made from blueberries picked at Lutton Farm in Northamptonshire. The blueberries are frozen, then pressed and fermented to deliver this stunning ice wine, which displays notes of dark berries and candied violets with a hint of rose and flavours of kirsch and blueberry jam to taste. Enjoy with cheese, chocolate desserts and Christmas pudding, or as an aperitif – it makes a great alternative to port or sherry.
This ground-breaking dry cider is produced in Hampshire using the same production technique as Champagne – the apple fruit juices undergo double fermentation, which adds to the complexity of the finished product. On the nose you’ll get elderflower, brioche and green apples while an earthiness comes through on the palate to help soften the acidity. Pair it with white meat and seafood, pasta or as an alternative to English sparkling wine with cheese.
This cider combines pressed Dabinett apple juice with the red wine skins of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Cortis grapes, which have been previously fermented for red wine. The skins are left in contact with the cider for over three months to extract colour and flavour before the juice is then left to ferment and mature on lees for nine months. The result is a spicy aroma concoction of coriander seed, green peppercorn and tobacco leaf with rich, spiced apple and blackcurrant flavours on the palate and a long but soft red berry finish. It pairs excellently with a mezze board of parma ham, hard cheeses and olives, as well as meaty lamb or game dishes.
Made from 100% freshly-pressed Bramley apple juice, this cider also undergoes a second fermentation similar to Methode Traditionalle wines. However, the real magic is the in-bottle on-the-lees ageing which lasts for between 12 to 24 months and adds layers of complexity and yeasty, bready, biscuity and buttery flavour notes. Enjoy it in a sparkling wine flute glass or coupe with canapes or light fresh fish dishes such as smoked salmon or mackerel pate.
From The Newt hotel in Somerset, this fine vintage cider made with specially selected dessert apples which have been slowly cold fermented in the cellar. The result is a super-fresh cider displaying notes of ripe pear, melon and almond and crisp apple flavours. This elegant number pairs perfectly with equally fine food, such as scallops and oysters.
You can find out more and order all the above wines from cideriswine.co.uk. Cider Is Wine is the quality mark for ciders, perries and fruit wines fermented exclusively from the fruit (not from concentrate) and offers support to producers as well as consumer tastings and a subscription service.