Sainsbury’s English vintage cider review (8.5/10) Palette soothingly natural vintage, isn’t distinctive enough for greatness though”.

The Good

“Natural flavour”.
“Confidently tangy apple flavour”.
“Reasonably priced”.
“Good bottle colour scheme”.
“Good balance”.
“Light carbonation”.
“Pleasant medium mouthfeel”.
“Full flavour”.
“Natural and Lasting smell”.
“Smooth taste and aftertaste”.

The Bad

“No USP”.
“No dryness”.
“Sweetness present, if lacking slightly”.
“Not made by the supermarket”.
“Impractical”.
“Online and bottle conflict regarding year of vintage”.

Packaging

Sainsbury’s English vintage cider is reported by the mysupermarket price comparison website, to be produced by H. Weston and Sons. A cider business I’ve written many a’ review for, before today.

These include sublime offerings such as “Old Rosie cider”, and their own brand “low -alcohol cider” which is also supplied by Weston’s (my review link below).
Whilst using a renowned 19th century cider producer to fill their own brand bottles, may be sensible to guarantee good quality, it appears misleading.
I mean, what is the point of being labelled “Sainsbury’s” if not to showcase what the supermarket can do itself. That said, it appears Sainsbury’s isn’t alone, with Waitrose using apples from the Herefordshire area too. These may well be Weston’s ?

As for drink backstory then, you could argue the extensive experience of Weston’s, should count for something here. Considering this, the branding seems rather feeble by not showcasing any of this heritage, on the bottle …. The bottle states “2018” as the year of vintage, which conflicts with the year stated online. We shall go with the online year for review purposes though…
The bottle designs resemble clip art a little too closely, but the yellow and black label contracts nicely with the algae green glass.
It states maturation period as “6 months in oak vats” on the rear label, promising to add “rich character and flavour” to sampling expectations.
As for backstory, the bottle adds nothing, but supports the idea that Weston’s made the cider. Of course, consistency of information (online, and on bottle), is welcome.

As for other expectations, I am fairly impressed with how the Sainsbury’s website does here…

It clearly states a year of vintage on the website , 750ml per bottle, with it’s 7.2% ABV, supplying a total of 5.4 units. As for practically, this may seem a little high, but for £2.50 all in, the price-per-unit isn’t very expensive. Old Rosie was slightly stronger with 7.3% ABV, but had lower capacity, making it more practical. I’d suggest good value here, despite low practicality. I mean, who wants to split a cider bottle over 2 days when it just goes flat once opened.

For taste expectations, these are clearly set out too, with the website boasting: (medium mouthfeel, natural sweetness and light carbonation), only lacking assertions for character or tartness.

Looking at ratings of other 2017 vintage drinks, Waitrose Duchy came in at just (6/10), Yet Thatchers summer vintage 2017, at the other end of the spectrum, took the crown, with a fabulous score of (9.25/10) !!

Let’s see how today’s vintage compares …

Smell

The smell had a confident and natural tang, suggesting performance in the acidity department. You could notice a few bubbles, suggesting (light-to-moderate) carbonation. The smell lasted well, still noticeable after several seconds. The scent almost reminded me of a fragrant wine. The scent remained for just a short while, on each sample.

Taste

The taste began instantly as natural apple. It was very smooth, possessing plenty of tart acidity as expected from it’s scent.
After a few sips, the acidity remained, but didn’t dominate. This suggested there was some sweetness present to balance. I suspect this prevented harshness, and was the reason for the smoothness initially detected.

Whilst the drink clearly didn’t possess much character or dryness, furthermore lacking a touch of sweetness to perfect good balance, it did provide a full flavour. The mouthfeel wasn’t too filling either. This certainly wasn’t anything more than moderate. It didn’t need to be …The flavour sung through well for the drinks consistency, ensuring this cider was nice to consume.

The aftertaste remained as a natural tangy acidity, for a long time.

Summary

Palette soothingly natural vintage, isn’t distinctive enough for greatness though.

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My old Rosie review: https://reasea.org/2017/07/24/westons-old-rosie-cloudy-cider-excellent-full-bodied-medium-dry-lacking-fruity-sweetness-910/

My Sainsbury’s low alcohol cider review
https://reasea.org/2018/12/14/sainsburys-low-alcohol-cider-review-better-than-apple-juice-but-lacking-the-complexity-and-flavour-depth-of-good-cider-6-0-10/

My Waitrose low alcohol cider review
https://reasea.org/2018/12/17/apple-cider-low-alcohol-by-waitrose-review-lightly-carbonated-low-alcohol-drink-with-character-hidden-with-too-much-sweetness-but-could-be-a-standard-strength-cider-8-5-10/

My Waitrose duchy review 2017 vintage
https://reasea.org/2019/03/05/waitrose-duchy-organic-herefordshire-2017-vintage-cider-review-6-10-watery-and-sickly-sweet-apples-natural-but-indifferent/

My thatchers summer vintage 2017 vintage
https://reasea.org/2019/02/02/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/

Sources

http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk/asda-compare-prices/Cider_And_Alcopops/Sainsburys_Vintage_Cider_750ml.html
https://www.sainsburys.co.uk/shop/gb/groceries/sainsburys-vintage-cider-75cl

Tags
English, Sainsbury’s, Vintage cider, 5.4 units, 750ml, 7.2% ABV, 2017 vintage, old Rosie cider, Weston’s cider, Reaseaorg, Low alcohol cider, thatchers summer vintage, low alcohol cider, benandthegang, 2019 cider reviews, Reasonedandseasoned

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