Gospel Green Cyder

Posted by Alison Taffs on December 12, 2019.

We love sharing and talking about this unusual fine cider with bubbles, finesse and freshness.

I am really passionate about proper cider: I believe it’s an important drink and part of our English heritage, alongside beer, and should be celebrated, appreciated and, most importantly, enjoyed. 

I have been running tastings with guests and drinkers for many years, and one of the most popular topics for a tutored tasting session is bubbles and sparkling drinks, usually wines. I was delighted when I came across Gospel Green a few years ago, and have been showing it, to great reactions, at sparkling events and matching it with food at supper clubs, ever since. 

GG is no ordinary cider; it’s made in the Eastern England tradition from culinary apples ( eaters and cookers, rather than the traditional West of England specific cider apples) and the bubbles are added much more like a fine wine. It’s sparkle comes from Methode Traditional, as in fine English sparkling wine and Champagne, the time consuming and expensive second fermentation in the bottle technique, rather than adding CO2 at the end. In fact, in digging around in research for my tastings a few years ago, I discovered this method of making sparkling wine that many call “Methode Champenoise” was made possible by an English innovation, rather than a French one.

The English, led by Sir Kenelm Digby in the Forest of Dean, developed furnaces burning coke and capable of making stronger glass in the 1600’s. These stronger and more stable bottles allowed second fermentation and didn’t explode under pressure. The first sparkling drink to be made using this method was fine cider, rather than Champagne. 

Apples for Gospel Green Fine Cyder come from the Blackmoor Estate in Hampshire, are made into still cider, blended and then put into a Champagne bottle with a little sugar, more champagne yeasts and a beer-style crown cap. Then, in the confined space of each bottle a second fermentation begins; the yeast eats the sugar and gives us tiny fine bubbles and complex, crisp, refined flavour.  The yeast then dies and stays in the bottle in contact with the cider in the cellar for a minimum of 12 months. 

I enjoy showing it to people and watching their bemusement at its freshness, delicious, aromatics of elderflower and green apples, refined character, and often, not being able to put their finger on quite what it is. 

From right to left: Alison Taffs, Brock Bergius owner of Gospel Green, Tom Rayfox of The Grape Society.
From right to left: Alison Taffs, Brock Bergius owner of Gospel Green, Tom Rayfox of The Grape Society.

I am fortunate enough to have met and hit it off with the owner and cider maker of Gospel Green, Brock Bergius, last year, when he came to support a tasting we were running. We are now friends and share a mutual boundless enthusiasm for all things drinkable, characterful and delicious. (I hope we will be able to invite Brock to join us in a pop up or tasting at the pub before too long).

So it was an obvious choice for us to offer Gospel Green to our customers in The Hop Inn.  

We will also have some Gospel Green Rose; fine Cider blended with a dash of Pinot Noir wine with a slightly lifted flavour of wild strawberries, baked apples and a beautiful pale pink shade. 

Gospel Green comes in a large format (750ml) Champagne-style bottle. 

When you would like to share something refreshing, sparkling and special with a lovely long finish with friends, I hope you’ll think about a bottle of something as traditional as a sparkling cider, with a distinctly modern twist.

 

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