6 of the best Dorset ciders
- Credit: Archant
Here’s our guide to some of the best Dorset artisan ciders
West Milton Cider Company
Award-winning cider maker Nick Poole, one of Dorset’s most respected producers and the driving force behind the Powerstock Cider Festival, makes the hugely popular Lancombe Rising, their best known cider. This champagne-style cider – Reserve Supreme Champion cider at the Royal Bath & West Show this year – is made using a little-practiced traditional method known as keeving, which involves removing a large element of the natural yeasts and nutrients prior to fermentation while retaining its natural sugars producing a fine natural sparkle and a nutty, caramel background. No sulphites or other chemicals are used in any of the ciders, all made from Dorset-grown apples including Dabinett’s, Yarlington Mill and Chisel Jersey’s. Available at outlets around Dorset and plans are underway for a farm shop.
westmiltoncider.co.uk; 01308 485235
This award-winning family operation run by Oliver and Penny Strong uses 11 varieties of West Country cider apples including Dabinett, Coate Jerseys, Michelin, Tremletts Bitters, Taylor’s, Chesil Jerseys, Sweet Coppin, Harry Master’s Jersey, Yarlington Mills and Porter’s Perfection. They are all grown and pressed on their farm near Bridport to produce certified organic craft ciders. Popular brews include Wildcat - an unpasteurized and unfiltered medium-sweet sparkling cider named after the wild puma that legend claims roams the area, and Elderflower - a crisp, complex and lightly sparkling cider made with elderflower cordial. Available at outlets throughout Dorset, online or from the farm’s Tap Room.
www.dorsetnectar.co.uk; 01308 488382
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Copse House Cider Company
Master Cider Maker Bob Chaplin brings more than 40 years experience to this award-winning cider company, and in 2013 was awarded gold for his lifetime contribution to the industry at the Bath & West Show. Old and new cider apples including Morgan Sweet, Tom Putt, Black Dabinett, Tremletts, Browns Apple and Kingston Black are grown on the 46-acre Kine Bush Farm in Sandley near Gillingham and award-winning ciders include Landshire Medium (still) and the original Copse House Cider, unrivalled in its class at the 2013 Bath & West Show. Available at bars and restaurants throughout the South West, as well as online.
Purbeck Cider Company
Joe Hartle, whose family runs the renowned Purbeck Ice Cream Company, founded the Purbeck Cider Company in 2006 after travelling around New Zealand where he came up with the idea to combine cider making and sheep farming. He set to work planting an orchard of traditional cider apple varieties including Dorset varieties Woodbine and Slack-Ma-Girdle, and is now one of the largest cider producers in Dorset. Popular brews include Joe’s Dry and Joe’s Sweet, as well as the powerful Muddy Scamp (6.9%). Available at outlets throughout Dorset and beyond, as well as online.
purbeckcidercompany.co.uk; 01929 481500
Cranborne Chase Cider
An engineer by day and a cider-maker by night, 23-year-old Bill Meaden began learning the basics of cider making at the age of 15, when he helped press apples at The Square & Compass pub in Worth Matravers. His range of dry, medium and sweet ciders, which use higher quantities of sharp cider fruit than other Dorset brews, are available through bars at events or from Bill’s own mobile bar, The Cider Shack. Over 80% of the apples come from his orchard of 55 trees, located in the Cranborne Chase, and the resulting cider is then matured in oak barrels. Sample the cider at his hugely popular biannual Last of the Summer Cider Festival.
The Sherborne Cider Company
Apple growers Simon and Victoria Baxter only recently diversified into cider –with spectacular results, taking out the Supreme British Cider Champion award and Gold Medal for their dry cider at this year’s Bath & West Show. The operation is tiny but it’s worth seeking out their dry or medium dry ciders made from apples grown on their 80 acres of orchards of heritage apple varieties - sweet and bittersweet – including Sweet Coppin, Yarlington Mill, Harry Masters Jersey, Somerset Redstreak and Dabinett. Available in box-in-the-bag from the farm gate, selected outlets and country shows if you’re lucky.
thesherbornecidercompany.com; 07970 214282