By Andy Young
For the second year in a row Willie Smith’s Organic Cider has taken out the top prize at the Australian Cider Awards.
The Best in Show Prize was awarded to the Willie Smith’s French Blend Limited Release Cider, which co-owner Sam Reid said validates the huge investment the puts into developing its ciders.
“Our French Blend Limited Release Cider, to be formally launched at The Australian Cider Festival in Melbourne, reflects the maturing market for cider in Australia with people ready to explore more complex varieties of craft cider and ciders made with cider apples”, said Reid.
The French Blend apple cider is a blend of 14 individual French Bittersweet cider apple varieties and Reid added that the full-bodied medium sweet, French farmhouse style reflects reflects the growing maturity of Australia’s cider market.
“The Cider market is still very embryonic and is where wine was back in the 80’s. Back then people tended to drink sweeter, less complex styles, often made from table grapes. We’re passionate about introducing people to the wonderfully complex styles of cider that can be made from fruit grown specifically to make cider,” he said.
The Australian Cider Award judges awarded the product a gold medal for its interesting, complex and layered flavour with good tannins and a full body – exactly what they were looking for in a medium sweet, traditional cider.
Four other gold medals were awarded to LOBO Cider and Jachmann Apple Co from South Australia, Small Acres Cyder from New South Wales and Daylesford Cider from Victoria.
Chief Steward Nyall Condon said it was amazing to see over 200 entries in the competition, and the judging panel was equally impressed with the high calibre of ciders on show.
“Appreciation of cider in Australia is shifting in the direction we were hoping with more complex, drier styles being produced,” Condon said.
“Our show is going from strength to strength and Cider Australia is proud to be leading the way in cider judging, encouraging quality and product innovation and educating producers and consumers about this fine beverage.”