Little Pomona C'est Si Bon-Bonne
Then there's a metallic, earthy note, which isn't quite iron. Is this bottling perhaps slightly less clean than other Little Pomonas? After all, relinquishing control of the maturation of a cider to an oak barrel, however carefully sourced, however thoroughly the bunghole has been sniffed, is always something of a risk.
Peach pits. And a rather pleasant acidity.
They're definitely mineralic, these tannins. Almost blue steel (as when one has made steel tough by heating it, perhaps by drilling it at too high a speed or without lubricants).
It seems to me tonight that of all the Little Pomonas this is the one where tannic structure is most important.
From memory I think I can dismiss The Rainbow and The Unicorn as flighty creatures of fruit.
The Old Man and the Bee had a ripe richness which dominated other aspects of its character. Feat of Clay was brighter and sunnier - youthful choirboys beautifully chanting psalms rather than the Mongolian throat songs of Bonbonne.
If this were wine I'd call these tannins chalky. Can I do that with cider?
It's too full bodied to compare with Chablis, and there are these compelling tannins. But the blue steel.
It stays with you. The tannins don't want to leave. Like Secret Service agents, inexorably polite, Ma'am-ing to left and right and not moving no matter what you say.
Behind all that tannic action, there's something which might be fruit cake or dried apricots.
Here, tonight, this is the best cider I've yet tasted from Little Pomona, and I think it's a strong contender for my cider of the year. You should seek it out and try it.
(Now, quite clearly I'm not in any way impartial. The owners and makers of Little Pomona are very dear friends of mine, and I've helped out at every harvest since 2014. But that aside, I do think this is an exceptional bottle of cider)
Boring technical stuff: C'est Si Bon-Bonne is a dry, still cider from Herefordshire. It's made mainly from Dabinett, along with Harry Masters Jersey, Ellis Bitter, and Foxwhelp (I helped pick and press these last two). It was a wild ferment in an ex bourbon barrel, left for six months then racked into glass bonbonnes and aged without oxygen for a year.
You can read more about Little Pomona here.