This is Willie Smith’s Whisky Aged Cider. I often talk about a sense of place with a cider. Apples reflect the soil they’re rooted in. Vintages reflect the season. Wild yeasts native to a cider house sneak in with a signature flourish. A simple glass of cider can be a lesson in everything from meteorology to geography and even history.
Two Metre Tall is probably the most diverse producer that I have reviewed. Not only do they produce top notch cider but beef and beers as well. The 600ha small farm is in a pretty unique position in the Derwent Valley, low rain fall but access to the Derwent River. The apple are grown in the Huon Valley . But one of the most interesting things about this cider is the example that it provides to other Cider makers and the Australian government in regards to what should be on a label.
Frank’s Summer Apple Cider is as straight forward as cider gets. “We don’t muck around.” That’s how Frank grew apples. Now his grandaughter has taken over the “Woodside” orchard. Some of the trees are over 80 years old which is a pretty rare thing on the Australian cider scene, but the Tasmanian Huon Valley provides the perfect conditions for growing apples as we’ve seen in the Willies Smiths and Pagan Ciders reviews.
I’ve been looking forward to reviewing Willie Smiths Organic Apple Cider. To understand this real cider you need to understand its heritage. Back in 1888 Willie Smith planted an apple orchard. Today these apples are hand-picked to make a cloudy French farmhouse style cider.
Willie Smiths orchard is nestled down in Tasmania’s Huon Valley. Where the air is said to be some of the purest air in the world and some of the freshest rain comes direct from the south pole. All this makes for great conditions growing apples. Willie Smiths are doing their best to maintain this environment by becoming fully organic certified. They claim this can improve the nutritional value of the cider. This is the truer to form, to Willie Smiths it is the traditional way. They don’t need anything artificial, in the soil or the cider. They care about their farm, their drinkers, and Tasmania. I love the fact that they’re not letting a multi-nation agribusiness prescribe their newest “Ultra Root Booster” or “Caterpillar Killer 1000” for a short-term gain. Knowing that long-term they will harm the ecosystem of the orchard long-term. Willie Smiths knows that the Huon Valley is a fundamental part of their cider. It is an asset worth preserving .
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.