Here is Adam Wells, writing in ‘Malt’ 15 February 2020, extolling the virtues of Michelin and Dabinett apples both as single variety ciders produced by Ross-on-Wye ciders, and how they blend together perfectly!
Never underestimate the Michelin apple!
” Michelin 2016 & 2018 (Batch D1)
Michelin, to me, feels like a canvas on which other apples can express their stylings. It has a bit of most things, without having a lot of anything. A touch of tannin. A touch of acidity. Its flavours aren’t broad or instantly arresting. And yet several of my favourite ciders have had this apple in their makeup. When I visited Albert in September he said “the point of a blend is to showcase qualities of varieties and hide their deficiencies”, and few workhorses are better than Michelin. Digging for equivalents with my wine hat on, I can’t think of terribly many single variety Cabernet Francs or Grenaches have really wowed me. But I can’t begin to imagine how many brilliant blends I’ve had that have featured one or the other. Intriguingly, in addition to the 2016-18 blend, we tried a straight 2018 Michelin that was significantly juicier and fruitier. I’d love to know what the 2016 tasted like as a solo act.
Dabinett 2018 (Batch D6)
Cidermakers love this apple for so many reasons. Late ripening, crops massively, easy to mill, even easier to press. Drinkers love it because it is another in the category of “has a good bit of everything, without being overwhelming in any single regard”. Particularly alluring is a sweet vanilla spiciness – not of the sort you would derive from American oak, but of a juicer, fruitier complexion. To my taste, as a single variety, it’s a little low on acidity, but it’s not entirely without it, and that – after all – is the point of blending. In a weird way it makes me think of Michelin-plus-plus – Michelin with a megaphone, if you like – but that’s not so much in terms of its specific flavours as it is in terms of having many of Michelin’s attributes … only more so. More tannin, more body, more ripe juiciness, more heft of flavour. Where Michelin exceeds Dabinett is in its gentle extra nudge of acidity. (Though this is not, of course to describe Michelin as ‘sharp’.) You can see why the two go together so nicely. “