Pilton Cider - Somerset
Solstice Late Harvest Keeved Cider 4.5% ABV Sweet
Keeved…Anyone? Yeah, it’s a word and it’s non-explicit. If you haven’t heard of it, then brilliant, I might be able to educate someone today – God help you. We’ve touched on keeved ciders recently in our online videos and this is a sweet keeved cider, from a cidermaker who is Mr Keeved. Martin is the man behind Pilton Cider and his small operation in Shepton Mallet specialises in a range of keeved ciders. If you are a cider aficionado, then there’s a good chance you would have tasted, seen or heard about his cider. His flagship is the Pilton, which leads the line from his unique and exquisite range of naturally sparkling ciders.
The art of keeving is something which is still of an unknown to most cider folk, even within parts of the South West where cider has a huge following and where there is a natural affinity for this alcoholic beverage. However, people seem to be more aware and taken aback from the cider that is being crafted in Normandy and Brittany. That is because without realising it they’ve probably been drinking keeved cider, aka “cidre bouche”, where it’s more commonly produced out there. But now, thanks to Martin and co., this beautiful style of cider can be sourced within our wet, frosty and windy island. Who wants to go North West France anyway…?
The keeving production method brings natural bubbles and a complex flavour profile which takes cider to another level in my opinion – it gives cider that extra bit of sophistication, that je ne sais quoi. Keeving can be a complicated subject, but to explain it in layman’s terms, it’s basically a longer and slower process whereby the fermentation comes to an early halt, leaving a natural amount of residual sugar leftover which helps to give it that extra bit of body and richness.
Tasting the Solstice, I soon realise my full glass has become an empty one and that’s normally when you know you’re on to a winner. It’s hard to find a nicely balanced sweet cider that isn’t overly rich and cloying. The acidity and natural bubbles balances out the sweetness nicely. On the flavour side of things, the sweet apple blends in with a nutty and savoury background. For me, it’s a cracking cider for the winter months and it would be an awesome digestif with a nice platter of cheese and crackers after the roast turkey!