Thatchers Vintage 2020 review “Naturally sweet and fruity cider, very similar to Thatchers Gold cans”. – (8.25/10).
“Good bottle design”.
“Sweet and natural smell”.
“Some level of dryness”.
“Sweet and natural full flavour”.
“Nothing unique about the character”.
“Not enough dryness”.
“No crispness that was promised”.
“Carbonation not lively as promised”.
“Not well balanced”.
So it’s been quite a while since I’ve found a cider to review. But with Thatchers releasing its new vintage, wielding the strength of “pick of the year” apples, I simply couldn’t resist …
This they term “Thatchers vintage 2020”, which incorporates a mixture of apple varieties including Dabinett, Redstreak, Prince William, and Gala dessert.
The bottle is visually appealing, with a blend of off-white background, and orange and brown writing.
The bottle lists the establishment year of 1904, steadily creeping deeper into the past. Whilst not as old as some cider producers, there is 4 generations of Thatchers, who have produced cider at Myrtle farm in Somerset.
It’s always good to hint of your roots when presenting your creations, I feel …
The bottle cost £2 from Tesco, and due to its strength, it’s good value. Thatchers summer Vintage 2017 which I reviewed a while ago, was just £2 too, to reach the recommended safe limit, with 3.7 units.
In 2021 then, the latest vintage is still 7.4% ABV, and 500ml, providing the exact same 3.7 units as the Summer vintage.
These are both cheaper than some weaker offerings such as Thatchers Rose, which came in at £3.52, for the required 2 bottles to meet the safe limit.
Overall Thatchers Vintage 2020 is practical and good value.
Web sources suggest the varieties of bittersweet apples provide golden appearance, rich and medium dry flavour, and softly rounded and mature character.
Thatchers themselves state “an intense apple character and lively sparkle” will be provided, also suggesting full flavour and crispness. The bottle highlights “crisp sparkle”, showing how this isn’t lightly carbonated, but noticeably so.
From these suggestions I’d be looking for full carbonation, reasonable acidity due to thatchers assertion of “Crispness”, medium dryness, and sufficient sweetness to provide balance to the acidity, to allow the full flavour suggested.
Due to this depth of flavour, I’d hope for at least medium mouthfeel. The mature descriptor is more subjective, but to me this highlights it isn’t simply cider that has been forgotten about for a long time, but one in which the character and sensory characteristics of the drink have flourished after a while. The bottle supports this, suggesting the maturation process provides fuller flavour.
Not all ciders benefit from maturation though, as highlighted in online research.
The bottle also adds the assertion of unique character, suggesting I should look out for something distinctive, perhaps woody taste, aswell as full flavour.
The smell lasted for a short time, and was instantly sweet and natural. It was definitely fruity, but in no way sharp or harsh on the nose.
Despite it’s lack of strength, it persisted for some time, and was highly pleasant.
The drink had sufficient carbonation, although didn’t seem overly fizzy. Immediately a good level of sweetness was present, moreso than acidity.
There was a weak acidity, particularly towards the aftertaste, but this wasn’t overly noticeable. I wouldn’t have called it “crisp”.
The cider possessed some dryness, but didn’t quite live up to the medium dryness expectation.
Overall the taste seemed nice, but there weren’t any elements to balance with sweetness. Since it lacked acidity, it wasn’t well balanced therefore, and there was nothing especially unique. It actually reminded me a lot of Thatchers Gold cans, which I rated 8/10 many moons ago in May 2018.
There was nothing harsh about the taste experience, so it was certainly smooth, and because of this I feel it would be easily session-able. For it’s strength, it didn’t provide any particularly additional warmth, suggesting it could be easily drunk in a similar way to a weaker drink. It did have a full flavour though …
The aftertaste was a pleasant fruity sweetness, which wasn’t overpowering. It lasted for a while, but was very hard to distinguish from the main flavour of the drink. This may have benefited from some extra acidity or dryness.
“Naturally sweet and fruity cider which is very similar to Thatchers Gold cans”.
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Thatchers summer vintage 2017
Blackthorn Gold cider ( shepton mallet, Somerset)
Mallets original cider ( other Shepton Mallet cider)
Brothers toffee apple cider ( produced in Shepton Mallet)
Tags: Thatchers, Somerset, myrtle farm, est. 1904, vintage, 2020 vintage, cider , blogging