Pagan Apple Cider from The Huon Valley, a traditional apple growing region of Tasmania. Pagan Cider source the apples from Lucaston Park Orchards. These guys have been growing fruit in Tasmania for 4 generations. What Pagan cider don’t do to their cider is the interesting bit. The Cider isn’t pasteurised, as this dulls the flavour. There is no sugar added because this is an Australian “Real Cider” and that is (morally) not allowed. It does not have gluten or egg white. Odd things to put in a cider but they can be used as a clarifier, but this is a proper cider; its just full to the brim with Tassie apple juice.
A cider, by wine makers, Napoleone Apple Cider is a family operation that grows, presses and ferments the fruit themselves. This gives them total control over the end product, which has earnt them a silver medal in the 2013 Cider Australia Awards for medium ciders (specific gravity between 1005 and 1012).
The Napoleone family immigrated from Italy in the 1940’s settling in the Yarra Valley. They set about planting apples for the eating market. Today they have around 250 hectares of apple trees. In the late 1980 vines were planted and was later turned to wine sold under the Punt Road label.
Rocland Estate’s Sitting Ducks Peary is my bold introducktion into the Australian Perry scene. It’s a showcase for Adelaide Hills finest pears.
After the great cider boom (which is still booming) pears wanting in on the alcoholic action. On the back of cider branding came Pear Cider. Now I challenge anyone to give me a good definition of what a pear cider is. A cider is made from apples and maybe a little yeast and preservatives is you real must. Unless of course your from Sweden and then anything goes, but that’s a rant for another day. A Perry is a cider made from a special type of pears call Perry Pears. These have wonderful names like Arlingham Squash, Moorcroft, Blakeney Red, Winnal’s Longdon and Judge Amphlett. Pears are hard to grow. The fermentation is prone to infections. Perry can be hard to master but some say though that a good perry is better than a fine champagne. Now a Pear Cider, what is that? My best guess is: it’s a marketing idea to through another “flavour” out there and see if it works. Pears, once fermented are sweeter than fermented apples because of a sugar, sorbitol, can not be converted to alcohol. This might be an attempt to appeal to the alcopop crowd.
My opion is a Cider is made from apples, a Perry is made from perry pears and a Pear Cider is cheating at best and at worst a chemical filled fruit wine alcopop.If it only contains pear and apple juice what is the ratio?
Since starting this blog I’ve been amazed at how many different Aussie ciders are out there. Do a search on Twitter for cider makers and you will be amazed at how many you will find. Quite a few of the Australian cider are at the on the sweeter end of the spectrum. Sitting Duck Apple Cider stands out from the crowd being the driest Aussie cider I’ve tasted. Free from concentrate and only using local Adelaide Hills apples, It’s easy to see why its won awards at the Perth and Sydney Royal Shows.
Over a couple emails Nick Penprase, Sales Manager at Rocland Estate (Sitting Duck’s parent company) told me about Sitting Duck Cider.
Until today I thought that terrior could only come from the soil type, the annual rainfall, the things that make your orchard unique. Today my perception of Terrior changed, I realised it was more ethereal than what flavours the sunlight hours and soil provide. The extra element is the regionality and Young Henry’s Cloud Cider could be any Newtown if it tried
On what feels like Sydney’s wettest day in 2014, I find myself in a industrial unit, in the back streets of Newtown, where inside is just as wet. They guys were hard at work cleaning out the fermentation tanks ready for the next batch. I sat down with Owen from Young Henry’s to talk about making cider in Sydney’s Inner West.
Fournier Doux is an bit of an elusive cider. The company’s website does little more than show images of the ciders they make including the Doux, a brut and a rosé. The bottle does tell us that the apples used in the cider are grown in their own orchards. That to me, is a massive part of “real cider”. I’m not saying superb real ciders can’t be made from brought in apples but they loose something in the terrior. It’s this soil to bottle mentality coupled with the traditional Normandy taste has seen them awarded a PGI by the European union.
PGI or Protected geographical indication Means that a product is typical of a region. The techniques used are traditional and unique to the culture of that region. The term Doux is a French term to describe the fact it is a sweet cider below 3% alcohol.
There are some interesting things happening on the South Australian Cider scene at the moment. The brothers at The Barossa Valley Cider Co. with their Squashed Apple Cider are a great example of this, going from strength to strength in the market.
As Somerset is to the Glastonbury Festival, King Arthur and the Exmoor National Park, but we’re talking cider here so its more like The Wurzels. The Charmer By Orchard Pig is as they say is “Rooted in Somerset”, part of the West Country, the spiritual home of cider as far as most people are concerned. Back in the 18th century, local farm hands were paid in part with around 4 pints of cider for a day’s work, more if they earned it. This meant most farms had a small orchard to make their cider. Out of this the West Country cider tradition was born. Today a few farmhouse style cider houses are still making cider. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to stop by one of these you will know the unique smell of yeast eating the apple juice sugars turning the juice into cider, as well as splashes of last years batch soaking into the woodwork going a bit vinegary. Its a good place to be, so its happy smell for me.