When you get into fine cider, one of the things that becomes so obvious is just how very important the cider maker is; the drinks they create are a reflection of them, their personality and the choices they make while creating their cider. The best makers have a ‘house style’, as a result, refined by time and tuned to their taste buds, leaving its stamp upon all they create.
It takes a lot of time and refinement to get to this level, and this is why it’s so exciting for us to start offering Makers Selections on our online shop. Each is a chance to taste the talents of such makers across a whole set of bottles. It’s a map of their making, across recent years.
Last week, we announced our Oliver’s Selection, showcasing the talents of Tom Oliver. But now we move across the North Sea to something very unique - the dessert wine rivalling creations of Andreas Sundgren, at Brännland, in Sweden.
Brännland cidery sits in the subarctic, on the Baltic seaboard of Sweden only around 160 miles south of the Arctic Circle, providing the natural cold desired for making the finest ice cider.
The process of making ice cider is a truly fascinating thing, in Brännland apples are left on trees in a -20 degrees Celsius winter then pressed for their juice; only about 20 percent of which is used, being a rich must, containing within it the best elements of the juice.
Only a few makers in Europe are able to work with Natural Cold in this way. Canada is another region famed for its ice cider, and there the standard says the best ice cider can only be made with natural cold. If you never had the joy of tasting ice cider, it’s best thought of as a dessert wine and it can be its beautiful replacement. When people think of cider, they often think of summer, but ice cider is most at home in winter - it’s perfect for these colder months.
This is a really special selection, showcasing a whole array of different ice ciders from one of the best makers on earth. Each of them unique, bursting with all the complex flavours the apple can create, a wonderful combination of tart and sweet, holding a beautiful balance of sweetness and acidity!
The selection shows across Andreas’ ice cider making spectrum: with the youthful, and fruity side of things on one end, moving through differing lengths of ageing in each bottle to the other end; for example, the just released Belle de Boskoop, which has been fermented entirely by wild yeasts (very unique for an ice cider) and aged for an incredible 36 months in a small 114 litre new oak barrel. It comes from the 2015 season - in Andreas’ view one of the finest vintages in the last decade, and is currently pouring at Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck Restaurant.
The selection also comes with two bespoke hand blown glasses, called La Pomme, which have been created in collaboration with Ingegerd Råman, a renowned Swedish designer. Made at Skrufs glasbruk, one of Sweden's finest glass producers, it was designed especially for drinking Brännlands ice cider.
1 x Claim 2018
1 x Pernilla 2018
1 x Iscider 2017
2 x La Pomme Glasses
You can find it HERE and in the 'Selections' section.