Mischief, Rouge & Willie Gunn From Colcombe House Ciders
The bulk of my review content relates to food, but I do relish the opportunity to sample drinks too. At my recent visit to the Fine Food North Show in Harrogate I got chatting to a very charming fellow, Kier Rogers, whose family have been farming, and producing Cider, on their farm in Herefordshire for more than 90 years!
Colcombe House is a former Victorian fishing lodge and Queen Victoria’s son, The Duke of Connaught, used to enjoy the pastime of Salmon fishing along this stretch of the River Wye. Kiers family have well established Orchards whose trees use the rivers waters, nutrients from the fertile soil, and (if lady luck shines) an abundance of sunshine to produce delicious varieties of cider-making Apples.
Kier very kindly gave me a trio of bottled Ciders to bring home to drink at my leisure: Mischief on the River (known simply as Mischief), The Willie Gunn, and a fruit cider called The Rouge. Just because of the fantastic name, I decided to crack the bottle of Mischief open first!
If ever there was an apt name for a product, this is it; Mischief by name and definitely by nature! The way its light, fruity character danced on my taste buds certainly was lively, determined to kick up its heels and have, well, some mischief! Both The Man Bird and I thoroughly enjoyed the bright, crisp taste of this 4.8% abv, medium-sweet cider; it has an infinite quaffability to it, and is just lightly carbonated to lift it in the mouth.
For our second tipple we opened the Willie Gunn, named after a type of fly used in Salmon Fishing. Compared to (little miss) Mischief this definitely had a bit more “guts” to it and was a bit drier in the mouth. This bad lad comes in at 5.3% abv and has a lightly caramel finish on the palate and lingers a tad longer in the mouth, having a deeper character. This would go fabulously well with the assortment of foods you’d find at a BBQ: Chicken, Burgers, Fish, Prawns, and the accompanying salads.
The final cider for us to try was 4.0% abv The Rouge, an intriguing Strawberry- and Rhubarb- juice enhanced Cider. Now, I am a bit of an old fuddy-duddy when it comes to fruit ciders; to me, Cider is an Apple only drink. However, I always keep an open mind when offered products to try, and I’m jolly glad I did on this occasion. Where I was expecting an artificial, overpowering fruit cider with very little apple taste, I got the opposite.
Although you get the distinct notes of the crisp Rhubarb and sweeter Strawberry coming through, they don’t overwhelm the Apple taste; rather they all dance together nicely, creating harmony where I’d feared discord. On a totally girly tangent, The Rouge is utterly enchanting in its pale Rose colour and is a medium sweet Cider like its (female, I have decided! ) counterpart, Mischief.
In addition to these three gently sparkling beauties, Colcombe House Premium Ciders also do still ciders (including The Willie Gunn Cloudy) and a non-alcoholic Apple juice. For more information on any of the products, head over to www.colcombehouse.co.uk. Hot Wings cheerfully awarded here.