Tor Cider Blog

Making cider, for us, is like this is a journey. We were not sure where it would lead when we started and as we learn our craft we have come to realise that the destination is not what matters it is how we travel and how we respect the fruit of these unique orchards and the craft of cider making itself.

The orchards at harvest time

Harvesting apples for our ciders takes place over a two month period. This year the earliest apples to ripen are the Howgate wonder and Bramley apples that we are using for the Traditional Method Sparkling Cider. Later we will collect the cider varieties used in the orchard blends.

This year the apples are enormous and beautifully ripe. The Howgates are as large as grapefruit and have a rich red colour. The Bramleys have picked up plenty of colour and in late September still have the marked acidity that will give structure and vibrancy.

All our fruit is hand-picked and carefully placed in apple boxes before being delivered to rest for three weeks to allow the starch to convert to sugar before we begin the milling and pressing to release the juice that we will ferment into our 2014 vintage sparkling cider.

Release the cider!

The Tor Cider Company has come of age. We have bottled our single orchard ciders after a year of ageing in new American and third fill French oak barrels.

Yarley Hill is a light delicate cider with lively acidity, soft tannins and a refreshing apple flavour. It is made from sharp and bitter sharp apples with a proportion of bramleys for acidity
A perfect accompaniment to food.

Monk's Ford is a fuller bodied cider with more prominent chalky tannins and richer apple flavour. Made from bitter sweet apples from the heritage orchard on the banks for the river Axe.

Fenny Castle is a bright vibrant cider with strong apple taste and a complex character derived from the American and French oak barrels used for fermentation. It has also spent an extended period on the barrel lees and the overall result is a creamy smokey richness that is hard to resist. This has been likened to a summer ale in character.

Single Barrel in the spring we taste the maturing ciders and select the best barrel to be bottled straight off the lees as our vibrant youthful single barrel limited release cider.

Also our Traditional Method Sparkling cider is available in 750ml bottles. We have made this from 100% organic apples picked in the 2011 harvest. It has undergone both primary fermentation in oak barrels, secondary fermentation in the bottle and 24 months ageing on the lees. This is basically the same process used to make Champagne, Cava and English sparkling wine

The result is a sparkling cider with a fresh apple aroma, vibrant acidity balanced by a delicate apple flavour with a rich biscuity finish. Perfect as an aperitif. It is a great accompaniment to fish dishes.

At 8% alcohol It is a refreshing alternative to sparkling wine at a celebration.

All our cider are available from the cellar door or online.

April is here and our season begins again

This is the time of the year when our attention returns to the orchards. Life here is beginning to reappear. The grass is growing strongly and the leaves are slowly unfurling. The blossom has also begun to appear on the early varieties and it is wonderful to see the intense pinks and red colours give way to the soft white of the flowers.

It reminds me how fortunate we are to live in Somerset where orchards have played an important role in village life for generations. The traditional orchard with standard trees provides both grazing for sheep and young lambs and a haven for wildlife seldom found in in the more intensive forms of fruit production.

The appearance of seas of white blossom is a call to all or us to be thankful that this heritage has been preserved and remains little changed and we, in a small way, do our bit to keep both the orchards and the cider making traditions alive.