Grown in the foothills of Somerset’s picturesque Mendip Hills, the apples for Thatchers Cider’s newest blend all come from one single orchard, its Classics Orchard, and are part of research being undertaken by the cider maker to find the best way of planting orchards for the tastiest fruit.
The Classics is a full bodied, rich, golden cider at 8.4%, crafted from a blend of 26 different traditional apple varieties. The bittersweet and bittersharp apples are part of a trial being undertaken by Thatchers, that sees these heritage apple varieties grown for the first time along wires to increase the levels of sunlight received on the fruit.
Richard Johnson, Thatchers Head Cider Maker says, “Apples gathered from the Classics Orchard are a true window on the rich variety of cider’s heritage. Grown along wires to capture the sunlight, these traditional cider apples, all new to our blends, are being raised in the modern Thatchers’ hedgerow way.”
British cider maker Thatchers has pioneered the hedgerow style of planting apple trees in its orchards (as opposed to the more traditional bush orchards), where trees are supported on wires in a similar way to vines, so maximising sunlight on the fruit. Sunlight plays an important part in helping the fruit grow both in quality and quantity.
Family-owned Thatchers is committed to research and innovation, trialling lesser-known varieties for their suitability to Somerset soil and climatic conditions. Planted in 2015, The Classics orchard is just a few miles from Myrtle Farm, overlooked by the picturesque Banwell Castle.
Since the 26 different varieties crop at different times throughout the harvest season, the apples have been picked at the right time for optimum ripeness, with the freshly pressed juice cold stored before being fermented and blended to make this unique cider.
Apples pressed into The Classics include Filbarrel, Broxwood Foxwhelp, Bloody Turk, White Jersey, Stembridge Cluster, Tom Putt and Cider Ladies Finger.
“With apples from our Classics Orchard raised within a few miles of Myrtle Farm, blended and packaged here at our mill, this is a cider that reflects the very heart of Somerset cider making,” continues Richard.
Thatchers The Classics is available from www.thatcherscider.co.uk, or from the Thatchers Cider Shop at Myrtle Farm, Sandford, Somerset.