Tuesday, 20 March 2012


    Melomel. A cider or mead flavoured with fruit or berries. I made an experimental batch a few years ago using blackberries in my cider, and I've cracked open a bottle this evening to see how it's doing.

    Mmm, blog posts made under the influence of strong cider-derived alcohol...

    The label says 2005, so it would have been bottled in mid 2006. It's had just under six years in the bottle, and it comes out slightly effervescent due to a process called malolactic fermentation in which naturally occurring bacteria slowly convert the malic acid in the cider into lactic acid, releasing CO2 and mellowing the flavour. The blackberries lend a gentle hint of the hedgerow as well as a rosé tint you wouldn't normally expect from a cider.

    I always get annoyed when wine critics wax lyrical, now I'm doing it. Damn. Well, at least I'm not going to blather on about the bouquet. There, it smells like cider, satisfied?

    I'm overdue for a cider post here, but this time of year is hardly busy on the cider front. Not much is happening. I did rack the 2011 pressing on Sunday, but that was a simple case of siphoning the cider away  from the settled spent yeast into clean plastic drums, allowing any further yeast to settle out of it and stopping the yeast imparting any bad flavours on the finished product. I tasted a small glass of the rough young cider and found it to be rather good. If nothing spoils it between now and bottling time perhaps the '11 will be a vintage year. I can live in hope, can't I.

    There are times when a bottle of well-aged real cider lends a positive spin to the world. This I think is one of them. I know it's illusory, but right now I appreciate it. Wassail!



  1. Save a bottle, May perhaps...

  2. you kept it for five years? Crikey, impressive.
    I was at a party on Sat, and there was a barrel of Thatchers. The chap organising the bar said it was gorn orf. We took the top off and I sniffed. Really cow-y farmyard smell. "Oh yes, Thatchers does smell like that," I said...

  3. Bring out the cider for tonight we'll merry be! Hic! Gosh I wished I was down there 'sampling' the (not quite) amber nectar.

    Shirley Anne xxx

  4. @Caroline, indeed I will. Just hope it'll not be one of those 'acquired taste' bottles :)

    @Dru, One would hope he'd taste a bit before declaring it off! It amuses me the way cidermakers produce different products for their diverse markets. Especially the rough, barely drinkable scrumpies carefully produced in gleaming modern plants for people who drink it because they believe that's what cider should be.

    @Shirley Anne, should you find yourself this way I'll save you a bottle. Take the train though, it's potent stuff! :)

  5. Looks really good. I will try it one of these days if the offer still holds.

    Calie xxx

  6. Sitting here salivating at the prospect of all that mead, sitting across the ocean. It's damned hard to find over here, unless one knows someone who makes it.

  7. @calie, the more time that passes, the less there'll be left...

    @Jaye, I should clarify, this is cider derived, i.e. from apples, not mead-derived, i.e. from honey. I guess you could make your own :)