Thatchers Summer vintage 2017 review (9.25/10) – The drink appeared very well-balanced, boasting lots of uniqueness, and character. Plenty of quirky elements seldom seen, were apparent too.

The Good

“Inspiring branding”.
“Lots of carbonation”.
“Plenty of sweetness”.
“Medium-dryness as promised”.
“Practical and good value”.
“Great balance”.
“Good character and uniqueness”.
“Some bitterness”.
“Some woodiness”.
“Fresh smell”.
“Medium mouthfeel”.
“Smooth taste”.

The Bad

“Bitterness too strong”.
“Weak aftertaste”.
“Summer vintage idea on packaging misleading”.
“No acidity”.
“Sweetness levels much greater than promised”.

Packaging

With the Classic off-white label against the glistening brown glass, the thatchers Summer vintage 2017 oozes class. It’s colours of yellow, cream and brown work perfectly to produce a truly stylish vessel.

For information, the bottle is also good, providing the vintage year on the front. Mentioning the location too, of Thatchers producers in Somerset. It assures of medium dryness, even boasting “Light and fruity”, in signature handwriting.

At 500ml, and 7.4% ABV, things don’t get any less exciting. This is as strong as Twisted tree vintage, and the 2016 Thatchers oak-aged vintage also at 7.4%. Much stronger than 4-5% ABV Thatchers cans. At 3.7 units from just this bottle, this makes things practical though. With 3-4 daily units recommended in the first part of 2018 still, this seems to promote one bottle, for a sensible evening of alcohol consumption.
The product was just £2, showing good value. Thatchers Old Rascal for example, was £3.80 since 2 bottles were needed. Thatchers oak-aged vintage 2016 was 20p cheaper, providing the limit from just the one. This was on offer though, however this shows stable supermarket price over the last 2 years for similar products.

As for the label, yellow clearly symbolises “Summer” well, hence the inscription of summer vintage. But what does this actually mean ? Well, fortunately this is clarified on the label.
Since apples are normally harvested in the autumn/winter season, exact time varying by variety, the word “Summer” here, refers not to when the apples were harvested, but of the aroma which should supposedly remind you of the summer. the label refers to this aroma aroma having “Delicate blossom and … rosy apple” notes. Things you’d associate with summer.

The drink states it’s backstory as a stroll in Somerset orchards, inspiring it’s creation. Myrtle farm, the home of Thatchers, producing cider for 4 generations.
The label continues with expectations for dessert apples, providing a “touch of sweetness”. It continues with cider apples providing “Length and body”. The latter suggests fuller mouthfeel, with some taste carried through to the aftertaste. “Gently sparkling”, suggests light carbonation with “crisp” bite, shouting freshness from natural apple.

The website adds the expectation for “Florally notes”, perhaps indicating a hint of flowers in smell and taste; All in an effort to remind you of summer. It continues with “well balanced”, “hints of spice”, and exclusively Somerset-derived apple varieties. Not only this, but it educates your palette on traits possessed by these apples.

Overall then, the branding, label, and backstory, was near perfect. The history was woven into the brand message for Somerset summer joy, and this was backed up with qualifications behind this statement. It really did entice me to drink aswell, allowing clear taste expectations to be established.

I’d hope then for light carbonation, medium-dryness, subtle sweetness, with natural flavour. This can be anticipated just from the bottle. It should be supported by a fruity and floral smell, which reminds me of summer. If the drink doesn’t, I’d suggest the branding is a little misleading. The website adds: “well-balanced with hints of spice” and “some floral element to the taste aswell as the smell” to round off expectations.

Only time will tell if any of these are true… and if they continue to the aftertaste

Smell

A smooth and sweet natural aroma. The scent continued for a while. It was also non-sickly. I couldn’t detect the flowery notes as promised, but it was certainly fresh and pleasant. After a time, you could still sense it, which showed persistence.

Taste

The taste pleasantly began with vibrant fizz. Fizz which bubbled down into a sweet sensation. One that was very natural. This was at a good level. The sweet sensation cut off quickly and didn’t last much into the aftertaste though.
The taste had some unique element to it, which could’ve been the floral element as promised. It was light and refreshing, and resembled woodiness. Perhaps this aspect was similar to the oak-aged vintage taste experience, but it was brighter, certainly more unique and preferable to that.
After a time, the woodiness and floral elements, faded into bitterness in the aftertaste. This became a little strong, but at first added some pleasant complexity to the drinking experience.

It took a while for dryness to become more noticeable, but this did become a good medium as promised eventually. This encouraged swallowing, with more subsequent sipping, appeasing my thirst.
The mouthfeel was medium, due to a good level of sweetness and carbonation “thickening up”, the sensation. The sweetness was definitely more than a “touch” as specified though. The only thing lacking really was acidity.

Summary

Overall, the drink appeared very well-balanced, boasting lots of uniqueness, and character. Plenty of quirky elements seldom seen, were apparent too.

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Sources

https://www.thatcherscider.co.uk/our-cider/summer_vintage/
https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/2000/9-15-2000/apples.html
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2033038/Cider-season-comes-early-Apple-harvest-weeks-ahead-hot-spring-wet-summer-produces-bumper-harvest.html
https://www.thejournal.ie/storm-ophelia-orchard-apples-3663695-Oct2017/
https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/299251918

Products

Similar cider bottles buy here – Thatchers Vintage Cider, 12 x 500 ml

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