Jun 05 2024

The Sweetest Moment for Spanish Cider: Awards and International Recognition

Zapiain won the award for the best natural cider, while El Gaitero took the prize for the best ice cider

Cider in Spain is undergoing a revolution. While it used to be common to find natural ciders meant to be poured without gastronomic pretensions and sparkling ciders for toasting, in recent years the styles have diversified.

This has led to Spanish ciders being increasingly appreciated outside the country. The numerous awards they are winning also support this evolution. One such competition was the recent Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition (GLINTCAP), held in the US state of Michigan and considered the world’s largest cider competition.


In the category of best natural cider, the Basque Zapiain won first prize with its Zapiain Euskal Sagardoa PDO Premium, which is made from local apples. It is considered a premium cider distinguished by its golden cap. Another Zapiain cider was recognized in second place. Joanes de Zapiain, a premium single orchard cider with Euskal Sagardoa designation of origin, is made only with local apple varieties grown in an orchard in Tolosa. Both ciders do not need to be poured from a height but serve as table ciders, similar to white wines.


The third place among natural ciders went to Sidra sobre La Madre from Sidrería Trabanco (Asturias), made like in ancient times. A limited cider production which involves not transferring the product and blending cider from different barrels. It needs to be poured from a height with the necessary tenderness and care to clearly reveal its qualities.

The Rise of Spanish Ice Ciders

On the other hand, Spanish ciders also triumphed in the ice cider category. The first place went to 1898 by El Gaitero (Asturias). It is made by freezing apples and subsequent pressing (cryoextraction) to extract a must highly concentrated in sugars that, after a slow fermentation at 12 ºC, turns into a rich, golden, and unctuous nectar that is perfect for dessert time or even sobremesa.


The second place went to Bizi-Goxo, again a product from Zapiain. It is made from Errezile or Errezil Sagarra, a Basque late-ripening apple, acidic and rich in sugars. This variety can last all winter, losing water and wrinkling in a natural concentration process without rotting. Despite being considered a dessert cider, the sweet-sharp balance makes this product a versatile drink, and it works perfectly as an aperitif.


About The Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition

The Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition (GLINTCAP), now in its 18th year, is the world’s largest cider competition focused on raising the caliber of cider as a category through an emphasis on providing clear and helpful feedback to entrants from some of the most experienced palates in the industry, in addition to coveted medals and trophies. Held annually in Grand Rapids, GLINTCAP receives and judges over 1,400 commercial and non-commercial entries from across the world.