The final stop on our tour was the main tasting with lunch! Each maker presented a bottle of their creating and told us those enriching details about its making. Where it comes from, how it is made, what varieties are used, and their thoughts as they went about crafting it.
While at Gregg’s Pit, we were privileged to taste some of the latest vintage direct from the tanks. We tasted a beautiful dry perry that won 1st prize at the Putley trials just the week before. As well as a keeved cider - a blend of Yarlington Mill & Dabinett cider apples - that was about a week away from going in the bottle. Later in the day we then tried a bottle of the previous vintage of this same cider. After entering the bottle it becomes sparkling, and with it’s slight retained sweetness and moussy texture, it is a truly beautiful cider. Rich, sumptuous and so wonderfully full of life.
Our third stop on the trip was to Gregg’s Pit in Much Marcle, Herefordshire. Where James Marsden, the maker at Gregg’s Pit, took us on a tour of his unique orchards. The cider apple trees were in bloom and coated in white and pink blossom. Among his trees he even has a native variety, the Gregg’s Pit perry pear, and we gazed upon the mother tree of the variety - an over 200 old giant of a tree some 4 stories tall, that was the first to exist of its kind. It was a wildling, and unlike its descendents it has no graft mark.
Our second destination on the trip was to the barrel rooms at Oliver’s Cider & Perry, Herefordshire. They are an incredible sight, with over a hundred barrels or varying shapes and sizes, laid out across 4 rooms. Light pours in through the slatted walls as they work their magic across months.
The first stop on our trip was to Simon Dent’s beautiful array of orchards in Preston Wynne, Herefordshire. Under the unsurpassable narration of cider maker Tom Oliver we were taken around the orchards, seeing cider apple trees planted 2 weeks ago, through to 200 year old perry pear trees.