A batch of ripe Yarlingtons in the right hands makes a fantastic cider. Bill Bradshaw reckons it’s a variety to cherish for consumers and cidermakers alike
The “Yarly” is a bit of a legend amongst the traditional cidermaking fraternity. I would almost venture to say it’s one of the few things cidermakers can agree on… almost! As a variety, it’s a great all rounder and is one of the more available single variety ciders with good reason.
Its popularity has spread this pale yellow, bittersweet apple far beyond its humble origins in bucolic east Somerset. Today its roots spread to mainland Europe and as far as the USA, Australia and Japan.
Its birth is dated to 1898 and, like many cherished traditional cider apples, it was found growing as a wild pippin, or gribble, in the race-wall by the water wheel at Yarlington Mill near North Cadbury in Somerset. It is believed it was originally taken and grown on to use as a rootstock but when it bore such tasty fruit, it was properly named and propagated to plant out.
“RICH AND AROMATIC, PLENTY OF TANNIN GIVES IT A UNIQUE AND DISTINCTIVE SET OF CHARACTERISTICS”
As a tree, once established Yarlington Mill grows well and crops heavily, if biennially, often producing bumper crops. This medium-sized apple often exhibits some pinky-red sun blush and once crushed, yields a wonderful juice – rich and particularly aromatic with plenty of tannin.
The ciders made from Yarlington Mill, have a great vibrancy, almost glowing gold. The variety tends to yield higher than average sugar levels, giving rise to a full bodied cider. This, when coupled with deep tannins results in ciders with distinctive, fantastic aromas, making them both beguiling and recognisable.
It is classed as ‘vintage quality’ – balanced and tasty enough to make good cider on its own, without the need to blend other varieties in to make up for anything that might be lacking – not something every apple can boast.
Although seasoned cidermakers and drinkers will know what to expect from Yarlington Mill, its gentle, not too challenging balance of flavours, tannins and acids offers drinkers a classic taste experience. Thus the juice sits well with less experienced palates and those drinkers still slightly nervous, much like that wonderful moment when you bite into and slurp the fresh juice from a cider apple for the first time. As with every single variety of apple, a cider made solely from that variety offers a great way to familiarise yourself with the particular set of characteristics that a specific apple can offer. The Yarlington Mill is definitely one to seek out.