an impressively clean and crisp own-brand from a top maker
Good first impression – crisp, golden tones through a soft shouldered, clear glass bottle. Popping off the cap there’s a waft of dry apple that promises much, a promise enhanced by the subtle fizz of the pour. This cider is described as medium dry and sits fairly squarely in that range – a soft apple sweetness but refreshing, with a hint of wateriness on the palate that’s balanced by a roundness on the tongue and some astringency on the cheeks, plus a tang of fruity apple that hits the back of the throat for a nice long-ish finish. Coming in a 500ml bottle, there’s plenty to satisfy any thirst.
A label note says: “produced and bottled by H Weston & Sons for Sainsburys”. The major Herefordshire cidery Westons is a good pedigree. Also worth noting, for those more promiscuous in their supermarket use, are the many similarities between Sainsbury’s low alcohol cider and Waitrose’s. Indeed, set side by side, their colour and bottle-types exactly the same, these two could be identical. The only tangible differences are that the Sainsbury’s identifies as 0.9% ABV against Waitrose’s “less than 1%”, and in the matter of calories Sainsbury’s weighs in at slightly less, 30 kcal against Waitrose’s 32 kcal per 100ml – a difference of 10 kcal per 500ml bottle. In taste, though, undoubted siblings that they are, there are differences. Beginning with the hint of wateriness mentioned above, something that’s absent in the Waitrose, which has a slightly drier, more full-bodied mouthfeel. Still, for an own-brand, this is an impressively high quality product; a solid, fridge-keeper to return to again and again without getting tired of it.
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