Loxtonia, the family-owned cidery in the Ceres Valley, has taken top honours as overall champion at the 11th International Cider Challenge (ICC), the world’s most authoritative and respected apple cider competition.
Sweeping the board, Alexandra Blush Méthode Traditionelle, Loxtonia’s first bottle-fermented cider, was named Supreme Champion for 2021. It also 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 Drinks Retailing magazine in the United Kingdom, the ICC panel of 30 judges comprised drinks retailers, cider experts, journalists, and cider producers.
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 Méthode Traditionelle Cider made in a classic sparkling wine bottle was the brainchild of Loxtonia founder and chief cider maker, Larry Whitfield. He 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 bottles of fermented ciders a secret from her before her wedding day was a huge challenge for the whole family and the cidery team. Alexandra is naturally inquisitive and knows every nook and cranny of Loxtonia farm. I still don’t know how we managed to pull it off,” recounts Larry.
While the Covid-19 pandemic may have delayed initial wedding plans in 2020, the extra bottle maturation time enabled these vibrant wedding gifts to evolve further, developing their graceful character and finesse.
The Whitfield’s proud philosophy of ‘orchard to bottle’ captures the quality and integrity of the apple throughout the cider production process. Relying entirely on solar power and keeping water usage to a minimum, it is a sustainable journey with zero waste that begins in the soil and ends with the cider. – Press release, Loxtonia Cider