Pilton Somerset Ciders are made using the very traditional keeving method. Keeving is reasonable common amongst the artisan cider makers of Northern France but has mostly disappeared from England. Currently, there are only two that I’m aware of that use the method regularly: Worley’s and Pilton. Pilton is made in the heart of Somerset, England; the home of one of the major cider regions of the UK.
Keeving is a process uses the wild yeast on the apple skins to create a funky and natural cider. The process also works with the natural pectin in the apple to arrest the fermentation prior to completion allowing for a touch of natural sweetness and slightly lower alcohol levels. The process is far more complex and interesting, but I’ll write a post about it in more detail at a later date.
Aroma: Rich apple, mild earthiness, spicy, lightly funky, touch of barnyard, caramel, hints of butter.
Taste: Medium tannins, mild/medium acidity, mild astringency.
Overall Impression: Pilton’s keeved cider is complex, elegant, and very balanced. It’s an excellent example of the keeving process and has that nice mix of sweetness, bitterness, and acidity to make a supremely drinkable and enjoyable cider. Keeved ciders are some of my favorites and is probably the reason I like French ciders so much. Pilton’s is new to the United States, but makes for a very welcome addition to the heritage cider scene.
CO2 Levels: Medium sparkle.
Geography: Somerset, England.
Apples: Traditional Bittersweets.
Availability: Pilton just arrived in the United States and thus is very limited on its current distribution. Pilton Somerset Cider is imported by B. United International.