In the central New South Wales town of Orange is the Small Acres Cyder House. Open to the public on most weekends, serving up food matched to their ciders. Small Acres is a story about people doing what they want in life and making something they want to drink. Today I’m reviewing the Small Acres Pomme Apple Cider, the most main stream of the award-winning range.
You may have noticed the use of the alternate or traditional spelling of cyder in the company’s name. Sometimes it’s used as a marketing gimmick, other times it is used as a signal to denote quality or traditional methods, like here. This claim of quality can be backed up by a trophy cabinet full of awards. The Small Acres Pomme Apple Cider is strangely missing the y, perhaps for wider appeal. None the less the Pomme has added to Small Acres list of accolades winning bronze at the Australian Fruit Wine Show in 2012 in the Contemporary Ciders sweet category.
Recently I met James Kendell of Small Acres at the Taste of Orange event in Sydney. We got chatting about the Pomme Cider and Cider in General
Real Cider Reviews. You mentioned your wife was English and she struggled to find anything other than Strongbow. How did this lead you into cider making?
James My background has always been in the beverage industry, first in the UK working for Bass Brewers, then here in Australia in the wine industry, it seemed a logical progression to enter the cider industry. Besides, I have a POM for a wife and the ciders on offer at the time in Australia didn’t make the grade, so we left corporate world, planted an orchard and started making our own ciders.
RCR I’d imagine Orange would have a pretty good climate for growing apples. Does Small Acres grow their own apple? What are you using in the Pomme?
James Orange is a great region for growing cool climate fruit, definitely good for apples and pears, as well as grapes, cherries, plums and peaches. Cool nights, warm ripening days and red basalt soil, what more could you ask for. I believe Orange is the second largest apple growing region in Australia, (but no Oranges grown here). The Orchard at Small Acres Cyder is planted with Cider Variety apples. We have 20 different English and French cider varieties, the classics like Kingston Black, Dabinett, Yarlington Mill and Stoke Red, and others.
RCR It seems like Small Acres was born out of a lack availability of Real Cider or Cyder. Since this is Real Cider Reviews, do you think the market can tell the difference between Ciders made with 100% apple juice and traditional techniques and the sugary cordial calling itself cider? Do you think more needs to be done to help quality products stand out from the rest?
James I think the everyday punter has a challenge to know if the product they purchase from the bottle shop is made from 100% apples, or from sugared up, watered down, flavoured cordial calling itself cider. Unfortunately label integrity in the cider category could do with some improving. Cider Australia is currently working on this very dilemma and hopefully labels in the future will be more informative, better policed and even state the percentage of real fresh apples that have gone into the product. When this comes about it will only serve to better inform the customer so that they can then make an informed decision. For now I would encourage the purchaser to get to know the producer, ask questions of him and get real facts about what goes into the product. “Made from 100% juice” for example can mean that the product is made from imported concentrate. My advice would be to think local and support those cider producers that are supporting Australian apple and pear growers. Shop at bottle shops where the staff know how the product is made, or even better, have actually visited the producer and seen how the product is made. Or buy from Farmers Markets where the cider maker is actually the one selling the product to you.
Fairly similar to the Jazz Apple Cider in that it is sweet and fresh apple with that fresh cut hay smell.
The first mouthful of the Small Acres Pomme Apple Cider quite bubble acidic, this is a real palate cleanser. Saying that there are hints of good quality chocolate and something that reminds me of an intense Suav Blanc. A great balance has been achieved here between sharpness and sweetness.
As you drink more of the bottle it seems sweeter. The sweetness and acidity come in waves: acid, sweetness then a tart acid finish. There is just the smallest hit of funkiness to let you know that this is a proper cider and not just fizzy sugar water.
Final Thoughts on Small Acres Pomme Apple Cider
Today I learnt that “Made from 100% juice” can mean it was juice, once, but then it was concentrated and the water has been added back in at the time of production. Personally I’d rather save my money and wait for something worth my time and dollars. I’ll wait for something like the Pomme. Just like James and his wife Gail did. They went as far as to wait for their own orchard to grow so they didn’t have to drink rubbish cider. Lucky I have a few bottles of Small Acres Pomme Apple Cider in the fridge at the moment so I only had to wait for the pizza to cook. By the way it’s a great match for fiery pepperoni pizza.
|Product||Small Acres Pomme Apple Cider|
|Country of Origin||Australia|
|Region||Orange, New South Wales|