Thursday, 2 April 2015

Sheppy's make real cider

For many years I was a fan of The Archers on BBC Radio. This was a tradition started by my grandfather as the family had, until the Great War wrecked so many hopes, ambitions and lives, farmed in the area of the English Midlands portrayed in The Archers.

My favourite characters were the Grundy family. They were a proper farming family as they were the only farmers in Ambridge who made thier own scrumpy cider on their farm, Grange Farm.

Which brings me to another farming family, this farming family is, however, a very real farming family, the Sheppy family of Somerset.

The family has farmed and made cider since the 1800s. And that's a heck of a long time to be getting something so utterly right!

My wife -who has strong family connections to the West Country herself (Devon, the other side of the Tamar!) so she is something of a connoisseur of ciders. 

We had three bottles of Sheppy's ciders: Sheppy's Vintage Reserve, Sheppy's Kingston black Cider and Sheppy's Falstaff Apple Cider.

At 7.4%, Sheppy's Vintage Reserve is a cider of reassuring strength. This traditional cider is matured on oak vats in the age-old method.

The result is a darker cider with a flavour that is matured and delicious, with a hint of tannin from the oak. "It reminds me of a good quality malt whisky," said my wife as she sipped her glass.

Sheoppy's Kingston Black Cider is only slightly lighter in alcohol content at 7.2%. It's a single variety cider that really hits the spot. It's dry, yet no so dry as to make it unpleasant to drink. It has a pleasant taste that reflects well on the type of apple used and on the family who still make it.

The third Sheppy's cider that we tried was my own personal favourite, Sheppy's Falstaff Apple Cider. Somewhat less alcohol, it comes in at 5.6%. It has a lovely, light colour and it is made with the more modern and utterly delicious desert apple, the Falstaff.

The cider is medium-sweet refreshing to drink and easy to drink.

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