Review: Aspall Imperial English Cider
We make a point of championing cider here, and with good reason. For many colder climates, it is often a more reliable fruit than grapes (colder climate varietals are changing that), it is an ancient and great beverage, it is often a GREAT value, typically has a lower ABV, and it is just plain good. Several northern wineries also include ciders in their lineup, as it provides an alternative to “people who don’t like wine” and is a hedge against a less than ideal grape harvest. With more craft ciders made from actual cider apples (as opposed to culinary AKA eating apples) full of their bittersweet flavor popping up, expect lots of cider reviews, news and discussion on here.
We do want to lay a foundation by going to one of the gold standards in cider that a lot of people may simply bypass. When you’ve been making cider for almost 300 years and eight generations, you should know what you are doing. Aspall English Imperial Cider is a higher ABV cider (clocking in at 8.2%). And since cider is a niche product here, it is an excellent value. Aspall also makes a vintage Imperial Cider. When you see that on the shelf, get it!
Clear on the pour. Bottle comes in a crown cap, but it isn’t more than petillant. Dry, typical bittersweet aroma. More dried apple and pie notes than fresh. Medium body, full mouthfeel, moderate tannin. Great complex taste of pie spice with a very long finish. Touch of sweetness but very much in balance, especially with the tannins from the apples. The body and ABV of this cider would hold up well to a wide variety of big bodied foods and cheese, and would also be perfect with desserts with a moderate sweetness level. This cider also has the advantage of likely to please both the wine and beer drinker.
Cider: Imperial English Cider
From: Suffolk, England
Price: $12 (500ml)
Rating: 95 points