The styles represented in this category are the principal established styles. “New World” is simply a name change from the “Common” of earlier versions.
There are known styles not represented here. In particular, Spanish (Asturian and Basque) does not yet have a style definition because there is presently insufficient appreciation and understanding, as well as a lack of commercial examples of known quality for reference.
In the case of a cider made to a style not explicitly represented here, it should be entered in the closest applicable category. The first decision is whether the cider was made with apples with significant tannin content that gives the cider noticeable astringency or bitterness. If not, it should be entered as a New World Cider. If so, the choice is between the English and French sub-categories; this decision should be based on whether the cider tends more toward sweet, rich, somewhat fruity (French) or drier and more austere (English). For perry of a non-represented style, the decision is, as above, based on tannin content. If in doubt, enter as New World Perry.
C1A. New World Cider
A New World Cider is made from culinary/table apples, with wild or crab apples often used for acidity/tannin balance. Compared to other styles in this category, these ciders are generally relatively lower in tannin and higher in acidity. “New World” references the style, not a location, as ciders in this style are also made in eastern England, Australia, Germany, etc.
A refreshing drink of some substance – not bland or watery. Sweet ciders must not be cloying. Dry ciders must not be too austere.
Appearance: Clear to brilliant, pale to medium gold in color.”
Aroma / Flavor: Sweet or low-alcohol ciders may have apple aroma and flavor. Dry ciders will be more wine-like with some esters. Sugar and acidity should combine to give a refreshing character. Acidity is medium to high, refreshing, but must not be harsh or biting.
Mouthfeel: Medium body. Some tannin should be present for slight to moderate astringency, but little bitterness.
Comments: An ideal cider serves well as a “session” drink, and suitably accompanies a wide variety of food.
Characteristic Ingredients: Apple Varieties: Common (Winesap, Macintosh, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Jonathan), multi-use (Northern Spy, Russets, Baldwin), crabapples, any suitable wildings.
C1B - English Cider
English Cider includes the English “West Country” plus ciders inspired by that style. These ciders are made with bittersweet and bitter-sharp apple varieties cultivated specifically for cider making. English ciders are traditionally fermented and aged in wood barrels, which adds some character; however, the barrels used are rarely new, so there is no overt wood character.
Overall Impression: Generally dry, full-bodied, austere. Complex flavor profile, long finish.
Appearance: Barely cloudy to brilliant. Medium yellow to amber color.
Aroma / Flavor: No overt apple character, but various flavors and esters that suggest apples, particularly tannic varieties. English-style ciders commonly go through MLF (malo-lactic fermentation) which produces desirable spicy/smoky, phenolic, and farmyard/old-horse characters. These flavor notes are positive but not required. If present, they must not dominate; in particular, the phenolic and farmyard notes should not be heavy. A strong farmyard character without spicy/smoky or phenolic suggests a Brettanomyces contamination, which is a fault. Mousiness is a serious fault.
Mouthfeel: Full. Moderate to high tannin, perceived as astringency and some bitterness. Carbonation still to moderate. Bottle-fermented or -conditioned ciders may have high carbonation, up to champagne levels, but not gushing or foaming.
Comments: Sweet examples exist, but dry is most traditional, particularly when considering the drying contributions of tannin.
Characteristic Ingredients: Apple Varieties: Kingston Black, Stoke Red, Dabinett, Porter’s Perfection, Nehou, Yarlington Mill, Major, various Jerseys, etc.
C1C. French Cider
French Cider includes Normandy styles plus ciders inspired by those styles, including ciders made by various techniques to achieve the French flavor profile. These ciders are made with bittersweet and bitter-sharp apple varieties cultivated specifically for cider making. Traditional French procedures use small amounts of salt and calcium compounds (calcium chloride, calcium carbonate) to aid the process of pectin coagulation. These compounds may be used, pre-fermentation, but in limited quantity. It is a fault if judges can detect a salty or chalky taste. The enzyme PME (pectin methyl esterase) may also be used pre-fermentation for pectin coagulation. Note that the sweetness/gravity levels indicate an overall tendency, not a sharp delineation between English and French ciders.
Overall Impression: Medium to sweet, full-bodied, rich.
Appearance: Clear to brilliant, medium yellow to amber color.
Aroma / Flavor: Fruity character/aroma. This may come from slow or arrested fermentation (in the French technique of défécation) or approximated by back-sweetening with juice. Tends to a rich fullness. MLF notes of spicy-smoky, phenolic, and farmyard are common but not required (just as with English style), and must not be pronounced. The French expect more subtle MLF (malo-lactic fermentation) character than do the English.
Mouthfeel: Medium to full, mouth-filling. Moderate tannin, perceived mainly as astringency. Carbonation moderate to champagne-like, but at higher levels it must not gush or foam.
Comments: Typically made sweet to balance the tannin levels from the traditional apple varieties.
Characteristic Ingredients: Apple Varieties: Nehou, Muscadet de Dieppe, Reine des Pommes, Michelin, etc.
C1D. New World Perry
New World Perry is made from culinary/table pears.
Overall Impression: Mild. Medium to medium-sweet. Still to lightly sparkling. Only very slight acetification is acceptable. Mousiness, ropy/oily characters are serious faults.
Appearance: Slightly cloudy to clear. Generally quite pale.
Aroma / Flavor: There is a pear character, but not obviously fruity. It tends toward that of a young white wine. No bitterness.
Mouthfeel: Relatively full, low to moderate tannin apparent as astringency.
Comments: Some table pears may contain significant amounts of sorbitol, in which case a dry perry may give an impression of sweetness due to sorbitol in the pears. Perception of sorbitol as sweet is highly variable from one person to the next. Hence, entrants should specify sweetness according to actual residual sugar amount, and judges must be aware that they might perceive more sweetness than how the perry was entered.
Characteristic Ingredients: Apple Varieties: Bartlett, Kiefer, Comice, Conference, etc.
C1E. Traditional Perry
Traditional perry is made from pears grown specifically for that purpose rather than for eating or cooking. Many “perry pears” are nearly inedible due to high tannins; some are also quite hard. Perry pears may contain substantial amounts of sorbitol, a non-fermentable sweet-tasting compound. Hence a perry can be completely dry (no residual sugar) yet taste sweet.
Overall Impression:Tannic. Medium to medium-sweet. Still to lightly sparkling. Only very slight acetification is acceptable. Mousiness and ropy/oily characters are serious faults.
Appearance: Slightly cloudy to clear. Generally quite pale.
Aroma / Flavor: There is a pear character, but not obviously fruity. It tends toward that of a young white wine. Some slight bitterness.
Mouthfeel: Relatively full, moderate to high tannin apparent as astringency.
Comments: Note that a dry perry may give an impression of sweetness due to sorbitol in the pears, and perception of sorbitol as sweet is highly variable from one person to the next. Hence entrants should specify sweetness according to actual residual sugar amount, and judges must be aware that they might perceive more sweetness than how the perry was entered.
Characteristic Ingredients: Apple Varieties: Butt, Gin, Brandy, Barland, Blakeney Red, Thorn, Moorcroft, etc.