Last night saw the awards ceremony for the Australia’s best ciders at the 2015 Cider Australia Awards. Last year, somewhat controversially, the top gong went to the British cider maker Thatchers with their Somerset Gold. This year the top award stayed local. Willie Smith’s 18 Varieties limited edition taking out the Best in Show award. Results After the break.
The guys down at Willie Smith’s have a new cider. Willie Smith’s Bone Dry Cider, is, as the name suggests, it’s a dry cider. While their first cider I reviewed was based on the French farmhouse style, the Bone dry is based on a traditional Herefordshire style. The big difference between the Herefordshire and this Tassie cloudy is the apples used. Here we have eating apple and not the traditional cider varieties. Sam Reid, the head cider maker at Willie Smith’s told me, the Bone Dry is a favourite among the local farmers when served at The Apple Shed. It’s earned itself the nickname “The Knee Bender” as its easy drink and quite strong.
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 .