Douglas McCaffrey reviews El Gaitero, a Spanish cider
El Gaitero Spanish Cider
El Gaitero is a cider or
‘sidre’ from the northern coast of Spain, specifically the Asturias region. Asturias is not only known for their ciders but is also known in Spain as ‘El pais de los quesos’ or the Land of Cheeses. I have never has any interest in visiting Spain but now I’m reconsidering. I mean, a land of cheese and cider? Adventure and heartburn awaits the careful traveller!
According to the internet, which is never wrong, you are supposed to pour this cider from above your head into your receptacle of choice. This allows the cider to aerate and achieve optimum drinking conditions. There was a small problem with this in my case as I am the clumsiest man alive. I regularly fall over while stood on completely flat surfaces and often lose equilibrium while seated. I settled on a compromise. Pouring from shoulder height into the biggest glass I could find, I achieved a bubbly, inviting glass of cider.
El Gaitero is a pleasant warm, golden colour reminiscent of a white wine and the aeration process adds some effervescence to it that is very appealing. It is very fresh on the nose and smells faintly of apple flavoured sweets. This was a little off-putting at first as it conjured an idea of lurid green Haribos, and the feeling that I may have bought the Spanish version of Kopparberg, or worse Magners.
I needn’t have worried. El Gaitero is indeed a sweet cider but shies from smacking you in the mouth with a sugar bowl. On the palate it is crisp, sharp and clean with beautiful, rewarding notes of McIntosh apples. The finish is strongly reminiscent of pure, cloudy apple juice and lingers just long enough to tempt another sip but not coat the mouth. It avoids the trap that befalls many a sweet cider in that it doesn’t taste as if it will erode your tooth enamel away.
It is not a session cider by any stretch of imagination. I purchased a couple of bottles and that was just enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. I can envisage El Gaitero becoming cloying and sickly if consumed in large quantities. As a refresher or a change of pace however I can see this becoming a solid, ‘go-to’ cider for the summer. I look forward to polishing off the odd bottle at a BBQ or at any sunny, warm mixer over the next few months. That is, of course, if the sun ever returns to us.