Taste of the Week. Award-winning Longueville House Cider


Taste of the Week
Award-winning Longueville House Cider

Longueville House Cider 5.5%, widely available in 500ml bottle

The big thing you notice, aside from the golden colour of this medium-dry cider and the rich aromas of the autumn in the 24-year old orchard, is that the flavour is long and deep, like the mighty Blackwater that flows by the Longueville Estate near Mallow, Co. Cork. 

The balance, between the estate grown fruit (25 acres) and the acidity, is remarkable, hinting that the production process is precise. But this is not measured, not weighed, at least not in any industrial sense. Remember this is all comes together in an old bare-walled farm shed, using “machinery”, for the apple brandy in particular, that is just as likely to be seen in a folk museum or come across in a secondhand sale.

Two varieties of apple, Michelin and Dabinett, are grown in Longueville. The amount of each variety is not measured. They are gathered up together and go into the old oak press together. Nothing is added. Irish Distillers ace cooper Ger Buckley told me recently that, when reassembling a barrel, he judges everything by eye. Cider making in Longueville is something similar: by eye, by smell, by touch, by intuition, the basic tools of an artisan honed by years of experience.

Put them all together as they have in this North Cork estate (a proud member of the Old Butter Roads Food Trails) and the result is this superb cider, yours to savour, the pleasing sensation of the orchard fruit, long and deep on the palate and its refeeshing finalĂ©. With no artificial sweeteners, additives, colourings, preservatives or added sulphites, this is a true craft cider. 

Do not spoil the effort of the land and the human hand with ice. Longueville’s Rubert Atkinson (pictured above) advises: “No ice! It waters down the flavours and kills the carbon. Enjoy this like a wine, in a wine glass.” Chill it well and pair with fish, meat (especially pork), cheese, charcuterie or simply on its own.

* Back in the mists of time, these Longueville lands were owned by a Daniel O’Callaghan but, after the collapse of the 1641 rebellion, O’Callaghan’s lands went to Cromwell. Amazingly, the wheel came full circle in 1938 when the present owner’s grandfather Senator William O’Callaghan bought the property, restoring it to the same family clan of O’Callaghans. You may read all about the centuries in between in a leaflet they hand out at the house and, on the back, is a map of the many and varied walks on the estate! Info also on the website here.

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