With strong white cider set to have a higher minimum price than Bollinger, Moët and Krug from next March in Wales, park bench gut rot peddlers have seized the opportunity to rebrand their products as cidre blanc to appeal to a more sophisticated clientele.
Under the law change, a six-bottle domestic consignment of the finest White Star will set Welsh consumers back a minimum of £45, compared to a minimum price of £28.13 for six bottles of Dom Pérignon*.
*Retail prices and profit margins may vary.
As is the case with many things, making something more expensive automatically makes it better. The Senedd itself is an example of this, with a clear improvement in the integrity, quality and behaviour of Assembly Members since they were awarded a £10,000 salary increase in 2016 in order to improve the calibre of people running for office.
With the famous Ivy restaurant opening in Cardiff soon, they’ve been selected as a testbed for cidre blanc. The revised drinks menu promises to deliver what’s described as a “lower alimentary experience”.
The sommelier showed me their impressive collection.
“….3 Hammers, Zeppelin, Omega, K, Diamond White, White Storm, White Strike, White Ace, White Power….that was quietly withdrawn from sale….Big Sally’s Scrumpy Thunderbox, Frankenstein’s Westcountry Mistake, Avon Slaver’s Reserve and Lambrini.”
The pride of the collection is a rare 2009 vintage White Lightning – one of the last bottles ever produced.
“Would madam care for the Frosty Jack’s?” the sommelier says, offering a customer some cidre blanc on ice, taking a sip themselves.
Trying to get past the gag reflex only hardened alcoholics have mastered, they describe it as “*cough*….Full-bodied….*cough*….rough mouth-feel. Has a distinctively automotive, slightly urinary, bouquet….*cough-cough-cough*….”
Through the coughing fit, the sommelier suddenly finds themselves disjointed from time and space, an apparent witness to the power of the cidre blanc: a group of teenagers throwing up in a car park; a woman squatting in the street, producing a triumphant arc of piss in the glare of a police van’s lights on Black Friday; someone who used to be a person with a job, home and family, dying of hypothermia in the doorway of The Ivy Cardiff.”
The sommelier returns to the room, “….Like tears in rain….”
“*cough*….I’ll get you some Peroni.”