A Quart of Ale± #99
On the craft journey with a cider detour: Legacy, Longueville and Mac Ivors
Longueville House Cider 5.9%, 500ml can Bradleys
..”Refreshing, clean and crisp…it’s how traditional cider used to be before it got all artificial and fake,” say Longueville House of their original cider, a real artisan production.
It arrives in your glass in a dark amber colour but you will see the natural sparkle. The aromas are unmistakably of the orchard where their cider apples, Dabinett and Michelin, grow. And the outstanding autumnal apple flavour of this medium dry cider confirms its authenticity. This is one you swallow and say thanks to the O’Callaghans.
The apples are harvested in late October, once picked they are crushed and pressed together (they don’t over worry about the exact quantity of each of the two varieties) in the Cider Mill on the estate. The pressed juice is left naturally ferment over a period of 2 to 6 months, taking place as a result of the action of the wild yeasts, which are particular to the orchards and environs of Longueville.
The newly fermented cider is left for a further 6 months resulting in a rich, amber coloured cider, full of character, flavour and taste. There are no added sugars or sweeteners (no chapalisation) colourings, additives, sulphites or preservatives used at any stage during the production and manufacturing process of the ciders. The entire process from growing the apples to the fermentation of the cider is done on the farm.
Legacy Medium Cider 5%, 500ml bottle
Very light orange-y colour here. And it carries a light haze, not so much that you can’t see the fountains of bubbles constantly rising. The nose, not over emphatic, is undoubtedly of apples. It has quite an engaging mouthfeel, a burst of flavour, sweet yes but also well balanced so there’s no excess and it finishes fruity and satisfying, tannins gently gripping the lips as it says goodbye.
This one is a bit like the Alsace Gentil wine as it has no less than six varieties: Elstar (eating), Bramley (cooking), Discovery (eating), Katy (eating), Michelin (cider) and Dabinette (cider).
They say: “This is a crowd pleasing cider; easy drinking, great flavour profile, natural apple aroma. Great with good friends, a warm sun, a good sporting occasion or kicking back on your own.”
Legacy have a small passionate team “that love producing the best quality ciders the land can produce in a sustainable way. From blossom to bottle.”
Legacy Dry Cider 5%, 500ml bottle
A very bright liquid with an orange colour and, like the Medium, it is slightly clouded. Again you can see those bubbles flying up. Natural apple aromas greet the nose. There no shortage of fruit flavours (green apple from locally grown fruit) as it hits the palate but it is, as you would expect, noticeably drier; your lips will tell you! A good bite is how producer Liam McDonell describes it, saying it “is the strong Bramley flavour coming through”. It is well balanced though and quite a thirst quencher.
The Medium Dry is made with three apple varieties; Elstar (eating), Bramley (cooking) and Michelin (cider). “Elstar is a floral light cider that sits in the background, Bramley is the big bold mouthful and Michelin is a beautiful sweet French cider apple that gives a soft caramel flavour and a lingering dryness”. The blend has a crisp dry finish.
“This is a great cider with oily fish and white meat. It has a strong acidic backbone so it is able to cut through rich flavours and compliment. The high carbonation coats the tongue and cleanses the palate.”
By the way, this is a favourite of Liam’s. Our session here ended on a split decision. I was a little surprised that I had a slight preference for the Medium and not at all surprised that my tasting partner (CL) picked the Dry!
Mac Ivors Juicy Session Cider 4.2%, 330 ml can x 4 Tesco
This session cider pours clean and golden, bubbles galore. Aromas are of the orchard and it is clearly a refreshing one. May not be dry enough for some, but I’d be quite happy with it in a session. It does of course finish dry. It comes in a 330 ml can and, after a check for stockists, I found mine in a 4-pack in Tesco.
They say: Delicious and thirst-quenching, our Juicy Session Cider is made exclusively from hand-picked, Irish-grown dessert apples such as Falstaff, Elstar, Allington Pippin and Golden delicious. This medium dry cider has a simple and refreshing flavour profile and it now comes in a convenient can. Crisp clean finish.
Mac Ivors Cider has its roots in Armagh, known as “The Orchard County”. “Our farm was established in 1855 in the townland of Ardress. Our cider takes its name from our Cider Maker Greg Mac Neice’s grandmother Annie Mac Ivor.”
Some interesting bits on the Mac Ivor packaging:
Armagh grows 4 times as many apples as the rest of Ireland put together.
It takes the juice of 4 whole apples to make every can of our cider.
Every year, we hand pick over 12 millions apples on our family farm.
We have 52 hives bees to pollinate our apple trees. That’s millions of bees!