Some friends of ours recently returned from a holiday in the lovely county of Somerset, and brought back for us a bottle of Somerset Royal Cider Brandy.Probably most people, on hearing the term,”cider brandy” will think of the famous French product, Calvados.Well, here is a home-grown product to rival the French one! Somerset Royal is distilled from vintage apples grown in the orchards of “Zummerzet”. The apples have the most wonderful and evocative names…. Dabinett, Kingston Black, Stoke Red, Yarlington Mill and Harry Masters to name some of them. The apples are gathered in the autumn, blended and pressed. The juice is then fermented in huge oak vats for the next three months, after which the cider is distilled and the clear spirit, known as “Eau-de-Vie” or “water of life” drawn off into barrels. These barrels may either be aged sherry barrels from Jerez, or new oak barrels from Hungary or the Limousin region of France. The cider brandy is then allowed to mature in the barrels. Over time, it gains colour from the oak and becomes smooth and mellow. Although the oak barrels are important in developing the smooth, round character of the cider brandy, it is the apples, the soil and the climate of the West Country which gives Somerset Cider Brandy its unique taste. It is similar to Calvados.and yet, very different. Somerset Royal is allowed to mature for three years in the barrel. It develops a strong apple nose and a spiced, floral palate, with a long, lingering aftertaste of spirit. It is smooth and very warming, an ideal after dinner drink, or one to savour on a cool, autumn evening by the fireside. Somerset Royal is 42%abv. Somerset Royal comes in a presentation box and the picture on the front of the box is changed every year and is taken from a painting by various artists. This is an established tradition of the Somerset Cider Brandy Company. A 35cl bottle o
f Somerset Royal retails at around £11.00.If you are in the London area you will find Somerset Royal stocked at Fortnum and Mason and Harvey Nicholls.Nationally, the product should be available in most good quality stores and wine shops. Most outlets of Threshers and Wine Rack stock Somerset Royal.You can also order online at www.ciderbrandy.co.uk Visitors are welcome at the orchards in Somerset, where you can follow the orchard trail. For further details contact: The Somerset Cider Brandy Company Ltd. Burrow Hill Kingsbury Episcopi Martock Somerset Tel: 01460 240782 Cheers!
This three year old has a nose of apple which leads onto a floral, spicy palate with a touch of spirit followed by a long lingering aftertaste.