Thatchers has added two West Country style ciders to its Cider Barn collection for 2019.

Thatchers 458 has been blended from the 458 varieties of apple grown in the Thatchers Exhibition Orchard at Myrtle Farm, Somerset. Thatchers Vilberie, in contrast, has been created from one single apple variety, the bittersweet Vilberie, harvested from one of Thatcher’s orchards in the foothills of the Mendip Hills.

Thatchers 458 is a well-balanced, medium dry cider and it is full-strength at 8.4% abv. It is made from the complete range of cider apple types: bittersweet, bittersharp, culinary sweet and culinary sharp. Lesser-known and ancient varieties which have been blended into Thatchers 458 include Vagon Archer, Wyken Pippin, Pigs Snout, Cider Ladies Finger, and Slack-ma-Girdle.

Richard Johnson, chief cidermaker at Thatchers describes Thatchers 458, “This is a cider that’s been created to showcase a moment in time and makes a welcome return after a few year’s break. The selection of apples – harvested over a period of three months in four separate sessions to ensure we gather them at their optimum ripeness – really offers us the periodic table of apples – from those high in tannin and acidity, to those at the sweeter end of the scale. There’s no other orchard like the Exhibition orchard, creating a truly unique cider made from the heart.” 

Thatchers Vilberie, a single varietal cider from the Vilberie apple, is described as “a delicious dry 6% cider” with a “balance of rich, soft tannins and acidity”.

Johnson said: “Thatchers Vilberie is a cider brimming with tannins. It is robust and packs a strong apple punch. If you like a Malbec or a Rioja wine, then Vilberie will be the one for you. It has a rich amber colour, long dry finish and hints of chocolate and coffee in its aroma. It is a cider for the experienced cider drinker that keeps you wanting more.”

Fourth generation cidermaker, Martin Thatcher, said: “We relish bringing new ciders into our Cider Barn collection every year, showcasing the skills and expertise of our cidermakers. Thatchers Vilberie and Thatchers 458 have contrasting traditional West Country cider styles thanks both to the apples selected and the techniques used to craft them.

“With apples from our orchards all within a few miles of Myrtle Farm, blended and packaged here at our mill, these are ciders that reflect the very heart of Somerset cidermaking.”

The two newcomers are available in 50cl bottles priced at £2.05 each.