Peter Morrell enjoys three new sparkling drinks which are perfect for al fresco summer moments
Cidrerie Stassen is launching a premium collection of three artisanal ciders with a refined taste using the finest high-quality fruit from the Aubel Valley in eastern Belgium. Stassen is rooted in heritage and 120 years’ worth of history. It was founded by Léon Stassen in 1895 and handed down through four generations of Stassen family. After World War II, there was a lack of Champagne, so Léon decided to make his sparkling cider to offer an alternative, using a strain of champagne yeast which is still used in the Grand Cru to this day.
I’ve tried all three of these ciders and was impressed with their elegance and quality. All of the champagne style bottles are attractively labelled and have a proper cork and cage closure. So when you open a bottle it is accompanied by a satisfyingly loud pop.
The first one I tried was the Stassen Cidre Cuvée Rosé (RRP £9:00) This was an exceptional sparkling cider made with rare red-flesh apples to impart a distinctive, natural pink hue.
This refined cider offered a crisp fruity taste with subtle notes of red berries and the mouthfeel was full and rounded. It’s made using fresh juice from red fleshed Geneva apples and hand-picked dessert apples from orchards in the Liège region of Belgium.
The second was the Stassen Cidre Brut (RRP £8:00) This was an elegant dry Belgian cider, made by combining bittersweet apples sourced from the Aubel and Liege regions of Belgium, with a touch of aromatic pear juice. The cider is a pale golden colour, green fruit aroma and crisp, fresh taste. A smooth finish, with woody notes. I loved the freshness of this cider, it would make a lovely drink on a summer’s day
The final one was the Stassen Cidre Grand Cru (RRP £10:00) You have to remind yourself that this is cider It’s an exquisite medium-dry sparkling cider made using fresh juice from a combination of hand-picked bittersweet and dessert apples from the family orchards in the Aubel region of Belgium. Delicate bubbles with a beautiful amber colour. Brioche aroma, notes of ripe fruits, vanilla and long fruity finish.
You can pair any of these drinks with a light seafood or white meat dish, baked camembert, brie soufflé, roasted peppers and goat’s cheese, or simply savour on its own.
Fourth generation Cider Maker Jean-Pierre Stassen sums it up by saying: “Cidrerie Stassen brings people together – it’s been crafted to share! Whether at picnics or garden parties, rooftops or bar gardens, Stassen brings people together over their love of good food, good drink and good times.”
Stassen ciders are available from the cider aisle at Sainsbury’s and selected bars and pubs across the UK.