This month sees us focus on three small producers from East Devon - all of whom share a passion for reinvigorating craft cider production in this traditional area. We have selected two each of their contrasting ciders to create a superb showcase of East Devon's smaller producers. So here goes .....
Rull Orchards, Bickleigh, Tiverton
Mike is not your typical cider grower or maker, but he is making waves. Having sold his demolition business in Bristol, he set about planting up new orchards on the slopes of the River Exe Valley, and several years in, the first crops are ready, supplemented by seeking out local old orchards. Mike is one of the few UK Pommeliers too!
- Orchard Sunset; A light and fruity cider for warm, sunny evenings. Blended with a little zing and an almost tropical flavour from the rare Devon apple 'Goring', perfect for enjoying in the sunshine. Medium 5%
- Orchard Storm; Vintage cider made from classic cider apples. Made from a blend of bitter-sweet Dabinett from 2020 and bitter-sharp Tremletts for a bit of punch, leaving a cider that has a bold, rich and well rounded flavour. Medium Dry 5%
Courtney's of Whimple
The Courtney family took on an ancient orchard from the famous Whiteways and have reinvigorated it, letting sheep roam below the trees, and nature take its course, with all ciders wild fermented and without sulphites, so as natural as they come.
- Whimple Orchards, Medium Sweet 4.6%.
- Silly Cow, Medium 4.6%
Ventons, Clyst St Lawrence
Mark and Sharon Venton moved to their smallholding in East Devon in 2006 and upon clearing the overgrown grounds, uncovered two old apple orchards. Rather than waste the apples, they borrowed a hand-turned crusher and small basket style press to make small batches of Cyder in an old stable. Things have moved on since then a lot, although apples are still straw pressed!
Now using fruit from other local former Whiteways orchards too, they produce strong 6.5% and tannic traditional wild-fermented farmhouse ciders true to the old Devon roots.
- Skippy's Scrumpy, Dry, 6.5% still. Proper old school bone dry.
- Apple Vice, Medium, 6.5% sparkling. Big flavour hit, with a little sharpness and astringency as well.