Fruit flavoured ciders review

A review of fruit flavoured ciders. This really divides opinions

FRUIT flavoured ciders. Well. I haven’t known such divided public opinion since Deirdre decided to stay with Ken and abandon her lover Mike Baldwin.

For weeks my eyes have been drawn towards fruit flavoured ciders in shops. “No!” said the good fairy on my right shoulder. “Yes!” said the cheeky little devil sitting on my left. The devil won.

The other night I queued up with lots of red berries in my shopping basket, most of them emblazoned on cider bottles, and some in a well-known brand of cereal. Breakfast. (The cereal, that is. Perhaps.)

Fruit cider shopping basket
You thought I made it up

I like a glass of cider now and again. Usually on a Saturday afternoon as I watch the footie results. Fruity ones, no, not really. So roll on a Scientific Experiment.

I contacted Bulmers and they told me: “The cider category has experienced meteoric growth in recent years, as consumers increasingly look to widen their drinking repertoires and experiment with new flavours. Flavoured ciders are forecast to deliver 80% of total cider growth this year.”

I told workpals. Now that stirred up a debate. “A cider is a cider. … These aren’t ciders … they’re pandering to our nation’s sweet tooth.”

I trawled a couple of stores – Tesco and the Co-op – and picked up a handful of fruity ciders. All 500ml, about 4% abv and early to mid £2 mark.

stella raspberry cider review
Stella raspberry cider

Stella Cidre Raspberry: My favourite. Lots of raspberry aromas popping out of the glass. It was a raspberry pink colour, tasted sweet but natural.

kopparberg strawberry lime cider review
Kopparberg strawberry lime cider

Kopparberg with Strawberry & Lime: An unmistakable strawberry aroma; couldn’t chase down the lime though, either tasting or sniffing. The colour of a deep rose wine; and reminded me of ice cream syrup.

magners cider orchard berries review
Magners cider orchard berries

Magners Orchard Berries: To look at, I wondered if someone had been let loose with a paint palette of pinks. So bright. Unnaturally bright pink. It put me off. Sorry.

Strongbow cider dark fruit review
Strongbow cider dark fruit

Strongbow Dark Fruit: The colour of Ribena and smells much the same. But watery on the finish. If this had been served with ice – I didn’t – as many of the brands recommend, then it would have been more watery. Not convinced.

Bulmers Red Crushed Berries and Lime: After a long hot car journey this was refreshing. There. I’ve said it. No trace of lime.

In the interests of balance, I took to social media for my pals’ thoughts. Here’s some.

“You can’t beat Rekorderlig strawberry and lime – so refreshingly lush on a hot summer’s day! The Stella Artois Cidre Pear is surprisingly nice too!”

Kopparberg pear or mixed fruit are gorgeous. Very light and not too fizzy. Lovely over ice.”

“I love the Bulmer Bold Black Cherry. It’s proper lush.”

“Fruity cider is the drink to drink when you want to pretend you’re not really drinking. Rekorderlig Strawberry and Lime and black cherry Bulmers.“

“Having extensively tested the range Strongbow have on offer we think they should stick to what they know best.”

“I had a toffee apple flavour one that was very drinkable.”

{After research I think this was Brothers Toffee Apple Cider.}

I leave the final word to my best chum: “I don’t like cider, me.”

People eh.  We’re all so different.

Also in my glass … A good bottle of chardonnay from Argentina.  Trivento Reserve Chardonnay 2012 (RRP £8.99, Tesco online and selected stockists).

trivento chardonnay argentina
Trivento Chardonnay

This is one of those wines which has flirted with oak just enough to bring an interesting layer of flavours and aromas, with green apples, stone fruit and honeysuckle. Three months in oak has added a brush of silky, subtle vanilla. Watch out for the 14% abv. It sneaks up.

Published in the saturday extra magazine August 2, 2014

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