Handpicked by IWSC

The best ciders, perries and fruit wines

Cider is having a bit of a moment, with some of the finest examples of the drink made using the same techniques as in winemaking. As such, Alistair Morrell from Cider Is Wine presents the 20 best ciders, perries and fruit wines made from 100% juice, not from concentrate

Words by Alistair Morrell

The Newt Fine Rose Cyder
Handpicked by IWSC
Cyder from The Newt in Somerset, which is making traditional method sparklers and single varietals as well as this vintage rosé

When was the last time you tried cider? Previously hailed as the drink of royalty, cider has fallen out of favour, steamrolled by wine’s increasing sophistication, the rise of craft beer and the gin resurgence. Dig a little deeper, though, and you realise that there’s more to it than that.

Production of British cider and perry only requires 35% fruit juice and the bar is even lower with fruit wines. And unlike wine, global standards for cider and the amount of fruit content in the bottle vary hugely. But look to drinks made from 100% juice, not from concentrate, and you’ll discover the best ciders, perries and fruit wines out there.

image of cider glasses
Judges sampled drinks of all shades in a blind tasting to name the best ciders, perries and fruit wines

As such, Cider Is Wine and the IWSC partnered on a blind tasting of 100% juice not-from-concentrate, with six expert judges looking, sniffing and tasting their way through fruit drinks made in the same style as wine.

Judges included food and drink writer and Club Oenologique contributor Fiona Beckett, the Social Company’s executive head sommelier Laure Patry and Adam Wells, the co-editor of Cider Review and Graftwood.

While the UK dominates in terms of global cider sales, 10 different countries were awarded medals for their fruit wines across the 13 different categories.

Cider harvest
Mark McGill of New Zealand’s Abel Cider, whose Mèthode 2017 sparkling cider impressed the judges

Ice ciders (made in a similar way to ice wine) particularly impressed the judges, including those made in sub-Arctic conditions by Sweden’s Brännland. Another standout drink was rhubarb melomel (a cross between mead and wine) from Berryland in the Ukraine.

La Petite Grange du Cidre, a cider made in a keeved style from Llanblethian Orchards in Wales, took the top cider trophy. Keeving is an ancient and artisan practice most often used in Normandy and Brittany – where a slow fermentation and wild yeasts create a naturally sweeter drink – and it’s exciting the see this skill and artistry returning to the UK.

And The Newt, a 16th-century country house hotel in Somerset that’s been lovingly restored, picked up a medal for its first traditional method cider, The Winston, bottled in a 568ml (pint-sized) bottle.

More than anything, this tasting showed the diversity of styles and individual qualities of these fascinating ciders, perries and fruit wines being made around the world.

For readers new to cider, we recommend you read our in-depth guide to why it’s time for wine lovers to take cider more seriously. But for now, we bring you the top 100%. fruit wines to try.

The 20 best ciders, perries and fruit wines

Brannland visual
Sweden's Brännland is making standout ice ciders

The judging process

We run a tightly structured, rigorous tasting process. That means that each cider sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges.

How do we score these wines?

Only the best ciders sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, samples have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver bottles range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.

More from Club Oenologique

Club O is an exclusive community and the go-to platform for wine and spirit lovers. Our flagship Club Oenologique magazine offers even more insights for enthusiasts and collectors. Based in London, our editorial team tells informative, inspirational stories from the world of wine and spirits, gastronomy and travel, as well as covering recommendations and the latest trends in drink. You can take a look at our Explained series, for instance, where we’re tackling grape varieties, regions and styles of wine and spirits. Alternatively, visit our Ask the Sommelier section, where experts answer your wine-related questions.