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You Need to Make the Drive to Thedford

March 7, 2010

What place do fruit wineries have in the world of wine? Well my friends, grapes are fruit and fruit wines are made all over the world and if you open your mind you will find some great great libations.

When Terry and I went to the London Food and Wine Show, we came away with several memories but two biggies.

1) just how cool is Lynne Crawford…she was great and we will get to her restaurant, and 2) we had to go to Twin Pines Cidery.

Yes we all know that I make and like cider. Mine is ok, I am learning, but this stuff is superb.

Located in Thedford, which by Forest (all roads lead to Forest) and Alviston (Munro Meadery is there) on the way to Grand Bend but below the lake. If your gps is like mine, use it to get to fThedfordt then use the map on the website as my gps took me to a field about 2 miles west.

The building is way cool with the tasting room on the 2nd level and a store on the 1st level. As a family business you probably will get served by the cider maker.

They make Perry (pear cider), 2 ciders, Scrumpy (classic west country of England style cider), ice cider (wonderful) and and apple wine that was scrumptious. The cider maker took alot of time with us and took us into the production area. Small but clean….this is a real operation. He went thru his style beliefs, advised me on yeast selection and basically really helped me. Thanks.

Like a grape wine, the orchard is key to the production of a quality cider. Apple varieties, spray protocols, and orchard management all affect the end product. Well, he is first a fruit farmer. Minimal spraying, natural methods and old varieties. Way better than Organic. Yes he is planting proper cider apples.

FYI: a good cider is made from blending the juice from many types of apples. BUT the varieties do not taste that good and are generally old hard to find varieties (does anone have a crab apple tree I can pick???). You can't make really good cider from Red Delicious. You need tart apples. Crabs and these odd varieties that exist in Southwest England. He is starting to grow these great old varieties so the cider will get even better.

His stye is crisp with minimal intrusion to God's magic fermentation…just like I believe. If you have good fruit this can be done and his fruit is great.

So lets look at the Perry and the Standard Cider.

Perry: pear cider. Hard to press pears, I broke my press, got little yield but it is oh so worth it.

Visual: the colour is like and Anjou pear, golden with small wee bubbles…great and not over-carbonated.

Aroma: PEARS…. FRESH AND LOVELY PEARS, the kind you buy at the orchard, bite into and it gushes on ya.

Taste: essence of pears, it is crisp, dances on the pallet, with a great mouth-feel. He has achieved what he told me he wanted to do.

This is an excellent perry and maybe, oh hell its way better than mine or any I have had.

I want more NOW!!!!!! Lucky I bought 4 bottles (all are 1 liter bottles).

Hammer Bent Cider

Visual: my glass was used (perry) so I got a wee bit of cloudiness (who cares…not me), but the sample at the store and the bottle we brought to the Cottam Wine Society meeting were bright and clear. It is a straw colour and again great bubble management.

Aroma: apples but not fresh…maybe cooked apples…still really inviting. He follows the old way where he sweats the apples whereas I use freshly picked apples so it may be that, that changes the aroma.

Taste: Again very crisp. Lots of apple taste, this time fresher apple, great mouth feel and wonderful fruit acid balance. He has again achieved his goal. I really really like this cider.

Again similar to mine but way better. I try to get malolactic fermentation to round the taste (like Chardonnay) but he avoids it at all cost to keep the crispness. His apple blend is just bloody wonderful. But funny they are similar, so I am on course.

So this cider is wonderful. Dry crisp just great! Again I really haven't had anything better.

So can you have this with food? Why yes, think pork. Apples and pork are a perfect match. There is enough acid to cut thru fat so go for it and try it.

The Perry, certainly too! Its dry and crisp and I feel salmon or pickerel would be just super.

So this report backs up what I saw at the show. These are the best ciders available. And the are really cool people. Enthusiastic, fun and willing to explain what they do. You will enjoy being there.

Remember its a nice drive and about 2-21/2 hrs from Windsor and well worth the trip. Take some with you to Grand Bend or your cottage on the lake.


Historically cider was the drink of choice in North America. It used apples which were abundant and of course had alcohol. All fell apart during Prohibition and has never quite recovered. This is a farm product and oh so good.

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  1. March 7, 2010 7:45 pm

    I don't know a lot about apple cider and haven't try much of it. My first thought when you brought Apple Cider to the Cottam Wine Society was very reserved but I am so glad I kept an open mind about this stuff. It was very good and really paired well with our pizza, I may just have to visit Theford and get some of this cider myself.

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