True cider tastes nothing like freshly-pressed apple juice, or what Americans call "cider." The same is true for wine: fermentation, the natural progression of sugars into alcohol, results in flavor changes and a different mouth feel. Wine drinkers, of course, know this; they anticipate a sophisticated, dry and full-bodied drink, but why don't Americans know this about true cider?
Maybe it is because cider starts out so well compared to wine, we don't want to see the sweet appley taste go. Emerson noted this distinction while visiting an Italian winery; a sweet and hard cider lover, he was repulsed by the taste of freshly pressed grape juice. But also to blame is the production of "hard cider" in America, which is widely available in beer stores and manipulated to remind the drinker of fresh sweet cider. Though it is marketed as a natural drink made from apples, it is far from natural as set by the standard of true cider or the wine industry. If artificial carbonation, back-sweetening with sugar or concentrate, and use of "table fruit" were the staples in the wine industry we would be drinking Seagram's wine spritzers instead of a "Merlot" and "Pinot Noir". But such is the state of the "hard cider" industry in which true cider is trying to distinguish itself.