LOXTONIA, the family owned cidery in the Ceres Valley, has taken top honours as overall champion at the 11th International Cider Challenge (ICC), one of the world’s most authoritative and respected apple cider competitions.
Sweeping the board, Alexandra Blush Méthode Traditionelle, Loxtonia’s first bottle fermented cider, was named Supreme Champion for 2021 and won the Rosé Trophy as the best cider made in a rosé style at this prestigious London based competition. The pink-hued Méthode Traditionelle Cider is made slowly in the traditional French method of a fine Champagne and owes its complexity to bottle ageing for 15 months on the lees.
Loxtonia’s Alexandra Blush was one of 150 entries from 18 different cider producing countries across four continents and the only South African trophy winner. Run by UK Drinks Retailing magazine, the ICC panel of 30 judges comprised drinks retailers, cider experts, journalists and cider makers.
The Whitfield family have been making a wide range of ciders from ‘orchard to bottle’ on their Loxtonia farm since 2013 using only home-grown, 100% freshly pressed and naturally fermented apples. The idea to create a Méthode Traditionelle Cider in a classic sparkling wine bottle, is the brainchild of Loxtonia founder and chief cider maker, Larry Whitfield, who undertook this top secret mission in anticipation of his daughter, Alexandra’s wedding earlier this year.
Intended as a wedding gift to be revealed and enjoyed by guests at the reception, two Méthode Traditionelle Ciders, the award winning rosé-style Alexandra Blush and a drier Alexandra Brut, were created from the 2018 apple harvest.
“Keeping these special bottle fermented ciders a secret from Ali before her wedding day was a huge challenge for the whole family and the cidery team as she is naturally inquisitive and knows every nook and cranny on Loxtonia farm. I still don’t know how we managed to pull it off,” recounts Larry.
While the Covid pandemic may have delayed wedding plans in 2020, the extra bottle maturation time enabled these vibrant wedding gifts to evolve further, developing their graceful character and finesse.
Loxtonia Alexandra Blush is a ballerina pink Méthode Traditionelle Cider with the finest of bubbles and vivacious mousse. It is elegant with bright apple sorbet, strawberry and gently caramelised nuts, enhanced by a buttery brioche character from the 15 months on the lees. Graceful and refreshing, this is an excellent alternative to sparkling wine. Loxtonia Alexandra Brut is a honey-coloured Méthode Traditionelle Cider that exudes a profusion of fine bubbles, apple brulée, vanilla and roasted plum. Rich and complex, it is deliciously dry with a persistent finish and all the complexity of 15 months’ bottle ageing.
The limited release Loxtonia Méthode Traditionelle Ciders will be available to purchase in spring 2021. As a pre-release offering, cider lovers can email [email protected] or call 023 004 0930 to be placed on a waiting list. For more information, click here. To stay in the mix, follow @loxtonia_cider on Instagram and Twitter.