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CIDER REGIONS

Cider production is found in various regions around the world, each with its own unique cider-making traditions, apple varieties, and flavor profiles. Here are some notable cider regions:

  • Asturias and Basque Country, Spain: The Asturias and Basque Country regions in northern Spain have a long-standing cider-making tradition. Sidra, as it is known in Spain, is often made from local apple varieties and produced using traditional methods. The cider is typically poured from a height to create aeration and enhance its natural carbonation.

  • Normandy and Brittany, France: These regions in northwest France are renowned for their cider production. Normandy is known for its cidre, which is typically made from a blend of apple varieties, including bitter and bittersweet apples. The cider is often fermented with indigenous yeast and aged in oak barrels. Brittany is famous for its sparkling ciders, known as Cidre Breton, which are made using traditional methods.

  • West Country, England: The West Country, encompassing counties such as Somerset, Devon, and Herefordshire, is a significant cider-producing region in England. Here, cider is made from a range of apple varieties, including bittersweet and sharp apples, and often fermented using wild yeasts. Traditional methods like barrel aging and keeving (a process to retain natural sweetness) are employed.

  • Herefordshire, England: Located in the West Midlands of England, Herefordshire is known for its cider orchards and production. The region produces a variety of ciders, including dry, medium, and sweet styles. Herefordshire cider often utilizes traditional cider apple varieties, such as Dabinett, Yarlington Mill, and Kingston Black.

  • Vermont and New England, United States: Vermont and the broader New England region have seen a resurgence in craft cider production in recent years. Cider makers in Vermont focus on using locally sourced apples, including heirloom and cider-specific varieties, to create a range of traditional and innovative ciders.

  • Tasmania, Australia: Tasmania, an island state of Australia, has a burgeoning cider industry. The region’s cool climate and fertile soil provide ideal conditions for growing cider apple varieties. Tasmanian ciders are known for their crispness and complexity, with many producers following traditional cider-making techniques.

  • Ontario and Quebec: Canada: Ontario and Quebec, located in eastern Canada, have established themselves as prominent cider regions. The provinces produce a range of ciders, including ice ciders made from frozen apples, as well as traditional dry and semi-sweet styles. Ontario is particularly known for its apple orchards, and Quebec is renowned for its ice ciders.

England

 

England has several cider-making regions known for their long-standing traditions and diverse cider styles. Here are some notable English cider-making regions:

 

  • West Country: The West Country, encompassing counties such as Somerset, Devon, Dorset, and Herefordshire, is arguably the most famous and significant cider-making region in England. It is known for its orchards filled with cider apple trees and a rich cider-making heritage. Ciders from this region are typically made using a mix of cider apple varieties, resulting in a range of styles from dry and tannic to medium and sweet. Somerset, in particular, is renowned for its scrumpy ciders, while Herefordshire produces notable traditional cider styles.

  • East Anglia: East Anglia, comprising counties such as Suffolk and Norfolk, is another cider-making region in England. While it may not have the same prominence as the West Country, it has a history of cider production and a growing craft cider scene. Ciders from this region often feature a blend of dessert apples and cider apple varieties, resulting in a range of styles from crisp and refreshing to medium-dry.

  • Kent: Kent, also known as the “Garden of England,” is well-regarded for its apple orchards and cider production. The region benefits from its favorable climate for apple cultivation. Kentish ciders are typically made from a combination of cider apple varieties and dessert apples, resulting in a range of styles from dry to medium-sweet. The region is also known for producing perry, a cider made from perry pears.

  • Worcestershire: Worcestershire, located in the West Midlands of England, has a rich cider-making history. The region is known for its traditional cider apple orchards, and cider production has been an integral part of its agricultural heritage. Worcestershire ciders are often made from a blend of cider apple varieties, creating a range of styles from dry and full-bodied to medium and fruity.

  • South East: The South East of England, including counties such as Sussex, Hampshire, and Kent (mentioned earlier), also has a cider-making presence. Cider production in this region is characterized by a mix of traditional and modern approaches, incorporating a variety of apple types. The ciders from this area can range from traditional, tannic styles to lighter, more contemporary styles.

Each of these English cider-making regions has its own unique cider-making traditions, apple varieties, and flavor profiles. Whether you prefer a dry, tannic cider or a sweeter, more aromatic style, exploring the ciders from these regions can offer a taste of England’s diverse cider heritage.

West Country

The West Country Of England, particularly the counties of Somerset, Devon, Dorset, and Cornwall, has a rich and long-standing history in cider production. Here is a brief overview of the West Country cider history:

Ancient Origins:

The West Country has a cider-making tradition that dates back centuries. The region’s abundant apple orchards and favorable climate for apple cultivation provided ideal conditions for cider production. Cider was made by pressing the apples and fermenting the juice, offering a way to preserve the fruit and create a refreshing alcoholic beverage.

Monastic Influence:

During the medieval period, monastic communities played a significant role in cider production. Monasteries, such as Glastonbury Abbey in Somerset, had extensive orchards and developed techniques for cider-making. They used cider not only for personal consumption but also as a source of income through trade.

Traditional Varieties:

The West Country is known for its traditional cider apple varieties, specifically cultivated for their suitability in cider production. These apples are categorized into bitter-sweet, bitter-sharp, sweet, and sharp types, each contributing to the flavor, tannin content, and acidity of the cider. Traditional West Country cider often incorporates a blend of these apple varieties to achieve a well-balanced and complex flavor profile.

The Influence of the Industrial Revolution: The Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries brought changes to cider production in the West Country. With advancements in technology, such as improved presses and mills, cider production became more efficient and accessible. Cider makers started to focus on producing larger quantities of cider for a broader market.

The Influence of Scrumpy:

The term “scrumpy” is often associated with West Country cider. Originally, scrumpy referred to traditional farmhouse cider made by small-scale producers using traditional methods. However, over time, the term has become synonymous with strong, unfiltered, and often rougher cider. Scrumpy has a rustic and artisanal charm, capturing the essence of traditional West Country cider.

Geographical Indications:

The West Country is recognized as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) for cider production. This designation ensures that cider produced in this region meets specific quality and production standards, preserving the traditional methods and character of West Country cider.

Today, West Country cider continues to thrive, with both traditional and modern cider makers producing a wide range of styles. The region’s cider festivals, such as the Somerset Cider Festival and the Great Dorset Cider Festival, celebrate the rich cider heritage and provide opportunities to showcase and enjoy the diverse flavors and traditions of West Country cider.

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